PFD Sizing

Find your proper size by reading the chest-size range on the PFDs inside label. Make sure it's U.S. Coast Guard approved for your size, weight and type of activity. If you do different types of boating, you should get the right PFD for each.

Children's PFDs are sized by suggested weight ranges. Know your child's weight before selecting a PFD or take your child to the store to try it on. It's very important to select a PFD your child can easily wear.

Fitting Tips

Try on several PFD models with different amounts of clothing, to gauge how the PFD will feel when worn during different seasons. Adjustable straps will help you alter the fit for the amount of clothing you'll wear.

A PFD should fit snugly. If it's too loose it won't provide proper floatation. To check fit, put on the PFD and tighten all straps and close zippers. Then raise your arms above your head and have someone lift the PFD at your shoulders. If it moves freely and almost comes off, or if the main zipper touches your nose, it's too big. The procedure is the same for fitting children's PFDs.

Choosing the Right Life Jacket for Kayaking

This episode of Paddling TV explains how to choose and fit a PFD so that it's comfortable to wear and paddle with.