Rangers types PFDs

USCG Types of PFDs and Lifejackets

In General Information, Rules and Regs, Safety by BurnLeave a Comment

Today I want to discuss with you the different types of PFDs/Lifejackets. Click here to read about the differences between PFDs and Lifejacketst.

There are currently five (5) different types of PFD as classified by the United States Coast Guard (USCG). They are:

  • type I
  • type II
  • type III
  • type IV
  • type V

That is all you need to know, so thanks for reading. …..NOT!!!

Now we need to look at what those types mean and what the real differences are so you know what they mean when you go shopping for your next PFD.

Type I PFDs are considered “Off Shore” style and are required by commercial ships. These are meant for remote locations where rescue may take a while. If you have ever been on a cruise ship, these are the PFDs you have to wear if ever you had to abandon ship.

Type II PFDs are “Near Shore” use and good for general boating applications where a possible rescue would likely be swift.

Type III PFDs are “Flotation Aids” for general boating. They are very popular among paddlers due to the reduced size and bulk. These PFDs are best used in situations where a rescue would be coming quickly.

Type IV PFDs are “Throwable” and are not worn like a traditional PFD. These PFDs are meant to be thrown like a life ring. In fact, life rings like you see at the pool or on boats are Type IV.

Type V PFDs are “Special Use” for situations where types I-IV won’t work. These can include inflatable belt types, special vests, deck suits, etc.

These are the current types of PFDs as classified by the USCG. Click Here for more information on the types and uses of each USCG PFD. The USCG is currently working on revising the standard classifications and this article will become useless once the new standards are set. However, it is the Federal Government, so who knows when this will actually happen. This change was first reported in 2014 with hopes that the standards would be enacted by 2017. To date, there is no indication of a new classification system. As soon as it is available, we will let you know, so make sure to check back here for updates.

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