It’s well known that every boat on the water should have one personal floating device (aka, PFD or left jacket) per person, but, did you also know that boats over 16 feet must have a throwable life saving device, like a ring or a floating cushion, aboard? I sure didn’t until I started writing this post.
There are a few different types of PFDs on the market – inflatable life jackets which inflate manually when you pull a cord and the traditional more bulky PFDs. John and I prefer the inflatable life jackets as they’re more comfortable to wear, lighter, and cooler. They’re also easier to store as they fold up to the size of a small pillow.
But, any life jacket which is worn is a good life jacket. The key is to keep PDFs handy and wear them when required, like when jet skiing or water skiing.
Children under the age of 13 must have a life jacket on when a boat is underway unless the child is in a contained space (like the cabin) or below deck. You can, and will, be stopped by Coast Guard police if they spot you trying to skirt this rule.
Here’s a few types of life jackets that are all 4 or more stars out of 5 on Amazon.com:
Inflatable life jackets:
Onyx M-24 Manual Inflatable Life Jacket, RedMustang Survival MIT Automatic Inflatable Personal Flotation Device, Yellow/BlackMTI Adventurewear Helios Inflatable PFD Life Jacket (Gray/Gray, Universal)Kent Type II Adult Life Jackets with Clear Storage Bag, 4 Each (Orange)Revere Comfortmax Inflatable Belt Pack Manual Type III Personal Flotation Device (Red, 30-52-Inch)
Traditional style PFDs:
O’Neill Superlite USCG Vest (Pac/Nvy/Col, Large)ONYX General Purpose Boating vest, Universal Adult, 3XL, Over 90#, 40-60-Inches Chest, Blue/BlackX20 Universal Adult Life Jacket Vest – Blue & BlackStearns Child’s Classic Boating Vest, BlueStearns Infant Classic Boating Vest, RedStearns Child’s and Youth Boating Vests (Red, 50 – 90-Pound)
Throwable life saving devices: