Wearing a fitted life jacket for specific body types is essential to having a good time on the water. Whether you are heading out for a sail for an hour or two or plan to enjoy leisure activities, the best way to ensure that you stay safe is to wear a life jacket.
Before talking about the different types of adult life jackets, let’s take a look at the things you need to consider when buying one:
- Use: What do you plan to do on your sail? A standard life jacket offers enough protection during a simple cruise. If you’re going water skiing, your vest must offer flexibility.
- Coast Guard-Approved: Any vest you buy must be approved by the US Coast Guard. There are five types, most of which are floatation aids.
- Fit: No life jacket offers a perfect fit. However, you can find a comfortable fit by following the size guidelines. If you want flexibility, look for a vest that has multiple straps.
- Storage: Some vests have extra pockets that allow you to stash important accessories.
There was a time when life jackets had a labeling system called types. Today, they are no longer classified under this system. You might find a jacket or two with the types system, which the US Coast Guard still approves. However, we recommend you buy the newer ones as they are better equipped to handle the changing weather.
Let’s take a look at these life jackets:
Type I – Inherently Buoyant
This flotation device suits every type of water condition. The jacket has a bulkier build, which makes it incredibly buoyant. However, it’s not lightweight.
Type I PFD turns an unconscious person face up automatically when they fall in the water.
- Inflatable Type I (Minimum Buoyancy): 33.7 lbs
- Foam Type I (Minimum Buoyancy): 22.5 lbs
Type II – Near-Shore Buoyant Vests
This flotation device is for people who are boating near the shore. Since the chance of rescue is high here, the jacket is lightweight and less bulky than Type I. Type II can be worn for long days on the water.
- Inflatable Type II (Minimum Buoyancy): 33.7 lbs
- Foam Type II (Minimum Buoyancy): 15.5 lbs
Type III – Flotation Aids
This buoyant inshore vest is for situations where a person is boating not too far from the share and can easily see it. It is suitable for calm water and is designed for recreational boating activities and swimming.
- Inflatable Type III (Minimum Buoyancy): 22.5 lbs
- Foam Type III (Minimum Buoyancy): 15.5 lbs
Type IV – Throwable Devices
Throwable devices function as life jackets. It allows people onboard to rescue those who have fallen into the water. It is commonly known as a life ring.
- Throwable Device Type IV (Minimum Buoyancy): 16.5 lbs
Type V – Special-Use Devices
This life jacket is for specific users. It helps prevent hypothermia and allows kayakers to self-rescue.
- Minimum Buoyancy: Based on specific PFD
Now that you know about the different types of life jackets make sure to choose the right one before going for a sale.