We are talking about safety again!
Yeah, yeah, it may be boring to talk about, but we care about YOU and want everyone to enjoy the waterways safely so they can chat about their adventures later over a bonfire and s’mores, giggles and more!
Today we are going to focus on life vests [technically known as PFDs – Personal Flotation Device]. These things will save your LIFE – We always recommend wearing it! It’s like wearing a seatbelt in a car or a helmet on a bike!
Buoyancy is the force required to keep a person’s head and chin afloat above water. In general, adults need an extra 7 to 12 pounds of buoyancy to stay afloat [we recommend getting a child specific PFD for your little ones]. How much buoyancy you may require in the water varies depending on body weight and fat, lung size, clothing and water conditions (rough or calm).
Each PFD sold for recreational use is required to include a guide entitled “Think Safe – Choose the Right PFD”. These pamphlets are tailored to the kind of PFD to which they are attached.
Not all PFDs are created equal. There are different classes for varying purposes. Check below for a quick break-down of the different classes!
Class I – Big and Buoyant
These “off shore life jackets” are bigger and bulkier than other PFDs, but they will keep someone floating face up for the longest period of time. They are designed for safety in deep, open waters before rescue teams can arrive.
Class II – The Industry Standard
The most common type of PFD. These are the standard life jackets that can be bought in many stores and are designed for use near shore on calm waters.
Class III – Floatation Aid
These PFDs are designed for boating and paddling activities. They offer buoyancy without sacrificing too much comfort and ease of movement. Recommended for use in calm waters.
Class IV – Throwable Devices
Cushions and buoys can be used as a backup PFD. They are useful to provide assistance to someone already swimming.
Class V – Specialty Devices
These are used primarily in occupational settings. Some incorporate buoyancy into deck suits or hybrid vests. Their designated use varies.
It’s not just about owning the right PFD, it’s also about wearing it properly! Always make sure that you follow the fitting instructions with your PFD, including fastening buckles, straps, and zippers. If you’re not wearing your PFD, it won’t do you any good.
PFDs can obtain natural wear and tear, so make sure you follow maintenance instructions, inspect it regularly, and test your PFD in a controlled setting.
Have any other questions? Check out our FAQ page or feel free to contact us!
Stay safe on the water!