| Wednesday, July 16, 2014 |
must have enough U.S. Coast Guard-approved lifejackets, or personal floatation
devices (PFDs), for all its passengers. 46 CFR 28.110 reads: “[E]ach vessel
must be equipped with at least one immersion suit, exposure suit, or wearable
personal flotation device of the proper size for each individual on board.”
Make sure your vessel is equipped with a lifejacket for each person aboard, and
consider the type of lifejackets you stock on the vessel.
The Importance of
Stocking PFDs on Your Vessel
Coast Guard-approved flotation devices aboard your vessel will keep you in compliance
with the law and may help you avoid negligence-related legal issues, should
someone ever drown or suffer near-drowning related injuries while on your boat.
primary reason you need sufficient, high-quality PFDs on your vessel is simply
because they save lives. However, you and your passengers actually need to wear
them in order for them to work. After a vessel crashes or capsizes or a
passenger goes overboard, it may be too late to locate and put on your PFDs.
The following statistics from the USCG
illustrate the importance of wearing PFDs:
- The most frequent
failure resulting in drowning is not having a PFD available when needed.
- Since Type III PFDs
were introduced, more people started wearing devices while on the water, reducing the total number of
drownings. Approximately 40,000 people are alive today because of the
introduction of type III PFDs.
- More than 400
people drowned in 2006 because they weren’t wearing a PFD.
Types of Commercial PFDs
PFDs vary by
their model, purpose, size and buoyancy, so it’s important to select the
correct devices for your vessel and passengers.
There are two types of PFDs that are
suitable for commercial vessels:
- Type I PFDs – Also referred to as offshore
lifejackets, Type I PFDs are best in any type of areas, including the
ocean, rough waters and remote areas. They provide the most buoyancy
(higher lift) and are most suitable for areas where rescue may take a
significant amount of time.
- Type V PFDs – This type of PFD is a category
of devices for special uses, some of which are commercial or industrial in
nature, such as commercial work vests, commercial whitewater vests,
man-overboard rescue devices (e.g., ring buoys), and law enforcement
Types of Recreational
vessels may be stocked with Type I or certain Type V PFDs, such as hybrid inflatable
PFDs, canoe/kayak vests or boardsailing vests. In addition, there are two other types of U.S. Coast
Guard-approved lifejackets that may be suitable for recreational uses:
- Type II PFDs – Type II PFDs, which may be
inflatable, buoyant foam or a hybrid model, are good for general boating
activities on calm, inland waters where fast rescue is likely.
- Type III PFDs – This type of PFD is more
comfortable and slightly less buoyant than other types, designed to
accommodate active boating activities, such as water skiing, fishing, canoeing
and kayaking. Like Type IIs, they are only suitable in relatively safe
areas where there is a good chance for a quick rescue, should something go
Helpful Info for Vessel
You can learn more about which types of PFDs are suitable
for your vessel either by reading the USCG Think
Safe pamphlet that’s provided with each PFD sold, or by downloading a free
copy of How
to Choose the Right Life Jacket Brochure, available on the USCG’s
Boating Safety Resource Center website.
Find more informative articles of interest to vessel owners
on the Marine Education