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Life Jackets

Life Jackets & PFDs How-To's

Types of PFDs (Life Jackets)

Types of PFDs (Life Jackets)

This Boat-Ed safety course video introduces safe towing habits for the operator of a boat if towing a water skier or wakeboarder. Also includes safety tips for the skier being towed. ... read more

Video Transcript

There are several types to choose from, where you’re boating and what you’re doing determines which one you choose. For instance, this is a type I PFD it’s an offshore or seagoing vest. It will keep your head up when you’re unconscious even in rough water. Type II vest are designed for calmer inland water like lakes however they may not turn you face up if you’re unconscious.

PFDs are mandatory for people being towed by a boat. PFDs are also mandatory for anyone operating a personal watercraft. You’ll see a lot of them wearing one of these type III vests.

Type III vests are also preferred by fishermen because they allow freedom of movement but be aware that a type III will not turn you face up in the water. Some people say they don’t wear their PFDs because they’re too hot or too bulky but that’s not an excuse anymore with this inflatable Type III PFD.

You put it on just like any other life vest but it doesn’t inflate until you pull this cord. Because you do have to pull the cord this type of PFD is not a good choice for activities where there’s even a small chance of being knocked unconscious – activities like riding a personal watercraft or wakeboarding.

However there are versions of this vest that will inflate automatically if you fall into the water. Just remember that children should not use inflatable PFDs. The US Coast Guard has approved this vest only for people 16 and older.

This is a type IV throwable PFD. If you’re operating a boat 16 feet or longer you must have one of these on board. Type V PFDs are special used devices designed for specific activities. One type V use for recreational boaters is this belt style inflatable PFD. For those of you worried about unwanted tan lines this PFD is a great option. This PFD is US Coast Guard-approved only for people 16 and older.

PFDs come in children’s sizes and it’s important to keep PFDs on all children at all times. Be sure to select the PFD that’s designed to keep their head above water. Make sure the life jacket fits your child properly each time it’s put on. After fastening the life jacket lift the child by the shoulders of the jacket. The child’s chin and ears should not flip through the PFD.

To encourage your children to wear their PFD put their name on it and make sure you always wear your own. After all, you never know when you might end up in the water.

Courtesy of
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Float Plan

Float Plans, And Why They Are Necessary

A float plan is a written statement that explains the details of a prospective voyage. Every captain should give copies of the statement to a family member, ... read more neighbor, and a marina operator on shore. The statement must include any and all details explaining the schedule of the voyage as well as the names of any other crew members, additional equipment, and the type of vessel used. Float Plans are important in the case of an accident or emergency; those who have access to the written plan will be able to provide useful information to authorities or rescue societies.

This does not only apply to boaters who own larger, expensive vessels. If you are planning a boating excursion, you must be prepared for the worst. Here is a list of boater types who should always prepare a float plan:

• Rafters • Kayakers • Jet Skiers • Canoeists • Power Boaters • Sport Fishermen • Water Skiers • Rowers • Sail Boaters • Cruisers • Hunters/Fishermen The owner/captain of the boat takes on the responsibility of filling out a Float Plan. However, this task is not left exclusively to the captain. Anyone boarding the boat that has extensive knowledge of boating safety should include those plans in the Float Plan document. In order to ensure that everything is accounted for in your future Float Plans, the United States Coast Guard has standard guidelines that you may take a look at online. Feel free to refer to this layout on

Be safe and exercise caution and responsibility when going on voyages for any length or period. Having a Float Plan available to your family, friends, and acquaintances may save your life, as well as the lives of those you may have with you on board.

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Life Jacket USCG Requirements (Video)

Learn from Keith the Boating Guy on the requirements for wearing a life jacket while boating. This is brought to you by Discover Boating. ... read more

Video Transcript

Hi, this is Keith the Boating Guy. Another common question I get is "What's up with life jackets?" What's required to have a life jacket on a boat?

Let me start by talking about federal regulations. They require that all recreational boats must carry one wearable life jacket for each person on board. You should adhear to you State laws regarding life jacket usage and requirement. From State to State sometimes the laws change. In States that have no children's laws for wearing life jackets, the U.S. Coast guard requires all children age 13 and under wear a life jacket while on the deck of the boat while it is underway. Remember to check with your State to see what the laws are in your State where you boat. Now if you take your boat and trailer from State to State, make sure you check between States while you travel around.

Now to meet Federal guidelines life jackets must be approved by the Coast Guard, in good servicable condition, readily accessable and the right size for the intended user.

Now's a good time to interject, how do you know if you have the right fitting life jacket for your child? Remember this, life jackets for children are based on weight, not age. So before you go shopping, make sure you know your child's weight. Also it is a very good idea to take you kid with you when you go shopping. There's lots of fun things out there that kids would like. For example, check this one out. Nice and bright. Kid picks it out. Much more likely to want to wear this. So remember, if they are 13 and under, they have to wear this when they are out in the boat with you.

Now, what if they are smaller than this one. This one is a 50 to 90 pound jacket. For smaller infants, they'll need to have a life jacket with a head rest on it. It also has a strap between the legs. This one is good for infants, up to 30 pounds.

Now when you put your kid in a lift jacket, you want to make sure it is a nice snug fit. The best way to check this is to grab it by the shoulders right here, lift up on the child, and you want to make sure you don't pull the child's jacket up over the child's ears over their head. They actually stay in the jacket.

Once you get the right fitting one for the life jacket, it's something fun they want to wear, and you have a life jacket on the boat for every other person, you're ready to hit the water.

Also remember, it is a very, very good idea to wear your life jacket when you are out on the water.

We'll see you out their soon...

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importance of wearing a life jacket

Importance of Wearing a Life Jacket (Video)

Learn the importance of always wearing your life jacket while boating. Presented by Boating Magazine. ... read more

Video Transcript

My name is Greg Nelson. I’m the vice president of marketing Hyper Lite Wakeboards and before this I was a professional wakeboarder from back in the 90s. And as being part of that early generation it was our job to bring wakeboarding to the masses and show people what we thought what wakeboarding was and what it could be. A lot of us, we really thought we were invincible, we didn’t always wear our life jackets.

Back in 1999 I had my company Double Up Wakeboards and we were embarking on the second year of our wakeboard tour. It was called the Double Up experience. And Corey Kraut was one of my team riders at the time and if you ever knew Corey you knew why I had him with me on the road. His personality was infectious no matter what the situation was. If Corey was there you were having fun. It was a good time. Corey just lightened the mood with everybody. The team was in Texas, Corey being there with the RV on the boat doing demos. I got a call on Sunday, they said Corey was gone. And I was like “What do you mean?”. You know I have lived that moment; I have relived it many times since then. Corey was riding without a life jacket. You know he was kind of jumping towards the chase boat, caught a tow side edge and just went down really really hard.

You know when you watch it, you can see that the impact that he took was just horrendous. The motion of his body was probably carrying him down. Because the follow boat was right there, they were in the water on top of his spot within seconds. Nobody found him, nobody saw him, they were in, you know he was gone. It wasn’t until three days later I think where Corey’s body surfaced. I have watched that crash many tmes since. Had he had a life jacket on, we at least would’ve found him. We would have; they would’ve found him right away. And you know, who knows, Corey could have been with us today.

I don’t think Corey ever wanted to be like a martyr for life jackets safety or anything, but man I know he would rather be around today. And every one of his friends and family would love to have him with us today as well. So we’re your life jacket, be safe, don’t be telling this story some other way.
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Simple Safety Ideas while Boating

Boating is a recreational activity that is undertaken by people from all walks of life. Whether is a simple activity such as fishing or an adrenaline pumping one like white water rafting, it is important for boaters to ensure that they adhere to standard safety measures. Boating safety courses and classes are now available all over the country. ... read more These courses teach boaters basic safety measures they can take to prevent accidents. They also cover the aspect of dealing with accidents and preventing deaths. At the end of these courses, boaters are certified by their respective institutions having passed the set tests.

For those who cannot afford this class, online sites such as Blog and Boating Safety Resource Center have safety tips that you can easily read and familiarize yourself with before embarking on a boating trip. Some of these tips include:

Have a safety checklist

Before embarking on any boating trip, you should have a safety checklist on board. This checklist should have all the safety items you will require on your boat. Check each item on the boat as per the list and replace items that are worn out or missing.

Read the weather

You should be up-to-date with the weather conditions in your location. You should also learn how to observe the physical weather changes incase the radio forecasts are not accurate. Changing tides and clouds are good weather indicators.

Have an assistant

Among your crew, you should pick and assistant who will be able to steer the boat in the event you cannot. If you are with your family, include an extra navigator to help you out in controlling the boat.

Check the boat

The US Coast Guard offers free safety checks that you can take advantage of. As a boater, you should ensure your boat is properly functioning before you take it into the water. You would not like an incident where you get stranded in the middle of the sea or ocean with no one to offer you assistance. Radio and navigation gadgets should also be checked and certified to be in proper working condition.

Use life jackets

Life Jackets

Life vests are the most essential items on a boat. In the case of an accident, these vests will save you from drowning. Statistics show that a majority of victims of boat accidents who die do so because they were not wearing a life vest. It is important to make sure every occupant on a boat has their life jacket on and properly fastened.

Swimming classes

Swimming is another safety measure that boaters should be well aware of. It makes no sense going on a boating trip and being around water when you know you cannot swim. Swimming lessons start from the tender age of 4 so it should not be an excuse for anyone to lack this essential skill.
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About Life Jackets & PFDs

Putting Safety First With Jackets, PFD's and Vest

When it comes to Life-Jackets, we know our customers don't joke around. That's why we offer Coast Guard approved Life-Vests & PFDs for every need, whether it be wakeboarding, fishing, to inexpensive back-ups for your boating guests. Our mammoth selection offering a variety of types, sizes, styles, and top brands such as Kent, Mustang, Jet Pilot and Kwik Tek, we guarantee we've got something for you, the family, and even the dog! Looking for matching life-jackets for the entire family, check out our General Purpose Life Jackets & Vests. Many of the products in this category have variation sizes to match the different sizing needs of your family members. Concerned about your youngsters? Check out our Kids, Infants & Toddler PFD category where we offer a variety of life jackets that use a head flap designed to keep your child's head above the water line.