PFD Ratings

PFD Type Description:


Inflatable PFDs can be seen as the new generation of Life Vests. It must be worn to qualify as a PFD. These devices come in automatic or manual inflating models. Manual models are inflated by pulling a tab. They can also be blown up with an included tube if for some reason the tab doesn’t operate properly. Automatic models are inflated via a C02 cartridge. Inflation is generally triggered by a dissolving bobbin when it is immersed in water. They can also be activated manually by pulling the tab. Inflatables are less bulky than the more common and long time standard foam filled buoyant PFDs because they are only inflated when an individual is in the water. A version with integrated sailing harness is also available.

Inflatable PFDs require minor maintenance after activation to keep them ready for inflation when needed, and it is recommended to keep a spare C02 cylinder (and bobbin for automatic models) to re-arm your inflatable after use.

There are Five Types of PFDs
Type I PFDs, These are designed for offshore and are the most buoyant PFDs and suitable for all water conditions as well, including rough or isolated water where rescue may be delayed. Although bulky in comparison to Type II and III PFDs, the TypeI jackets will turn most unconscious individuals to the face-up position.

PFDs, are designed as near-shore buoyancy vests. These are for calm and open water where a rescue will occur quickly. They are not designed for long periods in rough water. These vests will turn some, but not all, unconscious wearers face-up in the water. Some inflatable Type II models will turn wearers to the face-up position as well as a Type I PFD. This vest is less bulky than a Type I and often the least expensive of the PFDs

The Best One is still the one you wear!! Be safe, Wear your PFD!!! Get yours now. It’s the Law   Type II

Type III

This Bomber Jacket and Coverall with buoyant foam provide hypothermia protection and classify as Type III PFDs. They are ideal for recreational sailing and (ice) fishing on lakes or near shore.

Type IV

Type V

PFDs are also referred to as special use devices. These devices are to be worn for specific activities as described on the unit’s label. To be effective Type V PFDs must be used in accordance with the label’s specifications. Many must be worn at all times in order to qualify as a PFD. A Type V’s label will also list its performance as a Type I, II, or III PFD. A Type V PFD, like a full body survival suit or float coat, provides protection from PFDs, are throwable devices, and are used for calm conditions where rescue will happen quickly. Not designed to be worn, these PFDs are thrown to a conscious person who can hold onto it for flotation until rescued. A square buoyant cushion, a life ring, or a horseshoe buoy, are some Type IV examples. PFDs, are mainly used as flotation aids, and are designed for calm and open water where a rescue will likely occur quickly. These PFDs are designed to keep the wearer in a vertical position. It is the wearer’s responsibility to maneuver themselves into a face-up position, usually accomplished by tilting their head back. Type III inflatable models will keep unconscious wearers face-up as well as a Type II inherently buoyant vest. This PFD is not recommended for rough water conditions. These PFDs are the most comfortable to wear and popular for recreational boating and fishing.