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PFD stands for Personal Floatation Device

U.S. Coast Guard Regulations require you to have U.S. Coast Guard approved PFDs on your recreational boat. How many and what kind of PFDs you need depends on the number of people onboard, the size of your boat and the kind of boating you will be doing.

PFD classifications

Personal floatation devices are classified by location of use. Choose the right PFD for the location and type of boating you plan to do.

  • Type I is for offshore operations. 
  • Type II is for boating near shore.
  • Type III is a buoyancy aide to be used where rescue situations may be imminent.
  • Type IV is to be thrown to an individual needing immediate assistance.
  • Type V is a specialty PFD for specific activities or consumer.

It's recommended that children always wear a Type II PFD or higher, even for onshore activities.