Chapter 2: Boating Safety

Checking your PFD Label

All U.S. Coast Guard approved flotation devices come equipped with labels indicating their intended use, the size of the person the PFD is suited for, and directions detailing the proper way to put on and wear the device.

These labels indicate the "Type" of the device and ensure that it was evaluated to meet the standards of buoyancy and construction upheld by the U.S. Coast Guard.

If there is no such label attached to a flotation device, then it is not approved and should not be used.

One is legally required to adhere to the intended use and guidelines outlined on these labels. Failing to do so can result in legal penalties, injuries, or even fatalities.

Remember, the U.S. Coast Guard requires that one has a Personal Flotation Device for everyone on board and it must be the right size for its intended user. The U.S. Coast Guard also requires you carry at least one Type IV Throwable Device if a boat is longer than 16 feet (above a Class A vessel).

It is best to always wear a PFD while out on the water, but at the very least they must be readily accessible in case of an emergency. It cannot be stressed how vital this rule is for meeting federal regulations and staying as safe as possible on the water.

PFD Label

Finally, flotation devices must be in good condition to be approved. So, it is best to exercise caution. If a device is too ragged or torn, then it is time to get a new one. These rules are extremely important, so be sure to adhere to them.