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St. Clair County Dive Team. Water Safety. PFD Requirements. All vessels must be equipped with PFD for each person onboard: USCG requires all vessels have at least one Type I, II, or III USCG-approved PFD, wearable and of proper size

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PFD Requirements

  • All vessels must be equipped with PFD for each person onboard:

    • USCG requires all vessels have at least one Type I, II, or III USCG-approved PFD, wearable and of proper size

    • Vessels less than 16 feet (or canoe or kayak) may choose to have either a wearable or throwable PFD

  • Vessels 16 ft. or longer must also have onboard, one Type IV USCG-approved PFD that is readily accessible

Chapter 4 - The Legal Requirements of Boating

Page 29


Type I and II PFD

Type I: Offshore Life Jackets

  • For rough or remote waters where rescue may take awhile

  • Excellent for flotation -- will turn most unconscious persons face up in water

  • Type II: Near-Shore Vests

  • Good for calm waters and fast rescues

  • May lack capacity to turn unconscious wearers face up

Page 29


Type III: Flotation Aids

Good for calm waters and fast rescues

Will not turn a person face up

Some designed to inflate when you enter water(only count if you have them on)

Type IV: Throwable Devices

Cushions or ring buoys designed to be thrown to someone in trouble

Not for long hours in rough waters, non-swimmers or the unconscious

Type III and IV PFD

Chapter 4 - The Legal Requirements of Boating

Page 29


PFD Requirements (cont)

  • Children under 6 years of age required to wear USCG-approved Type I or II PFD when riding on open deck of any vessel

  • Each person riding on or being towed behind a PWC must wear a USCG-approved Type I, II, or III PFD.

    • Persons under 12 years of age must wear Type I or II PFD.

    • Inflatable PFDs not allowed on PWC

  • All PFDs must be in good and serviceable condition and must be readily accessible

Chapter 4 - The Legal Requirements of Boating

Page 29



Someone is drowning!

What do you do?



Reach, Throw, Row and Tow

  • Reach for the Victim

    • Fish Pole

    • Tree Branch

    • Towel

    • Jacket


Reach, Throw, Row and Tow

  • Reach for the Victim

  • Throw something to the victim

    • Lifejacket or PFD

    • Inner Tube

    • Cooler

    • Rope


Reach, Throw, Row and Tow

  • Reach for the Victim

  • Throw something to the victim

  • Row-Use a boat or float


Reach, Throw, Row and Tow

  • Reach for the Victim

  • Throw something to the victim

  • Row-Use a boat or float

  • Tow- as a last resort, go in the water.

    • Only if you can swim and wear a PFD



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