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Life Jackets
& Personal Flotation Devices

Read the NEW "Harmonized" PFD guidelines here (pdf)

Type I PFD
Off-Shore Life Jacket
Best for open, rough or remote water, where rescue may be slow coming.
Two sizes fit most children and adults.
• Floats you the best.
• Turns most unconscious wearers face-up in water.
• Highly visible color.
• Bulky, uncomfortable.
Near-Shore Buoyant Vest
Good for calm, inland water, or where there is a good chance of fast rescue.
Infant, child, youth, and adult.
• Less bulky.
• Turns some unconscious wearers face-up.
• More comfortable than Type I PFD.
• Not for long hours in rough water.
• Will not turn some unconscious wearers face-up.
Flotation Aid Vest Type III PFD
Flotation Aid Jacket Type III PFD
& Worksuits
Flotation Aid
Good for calm, inland water, or where there is a good chance of fast rescue.
Many sizes from child - small through adult.
• Generally the most comfortable type.
• Designed for activity marked on the device.
• Available in many styles vests.
• May have to tilt head back to avoid face-down.
• Wearer's face may be covered by waves.
• Not for extended survival in rough water.
Throwable Device
For calm, inland water with heavy boat traffic, where help is always nearby.
Rings, Horseshoe Buoys and Cushions.
• Can be thrown to someone.
• Good back-up to wearable PFDs.
• Some can be used as a seat cushion.
• Not for unconscious persons.
• Not for nonswimmers or children.
• Not for many hours in rough water.
Type V PFD
Type II - as noted on label
Inflatable Collar Vest Type V PFD

Type III - as noted on label
Inflatable Collar Vest Type V PFD

Type III - as noted on label
Inflation Pouch Type V PFD

Special Use Devices
Only for special uses or conditions. Equal to either Type I, II, or III performance as noted on the label.
Varieties include:
Boardsailing vests, deck suits, work vest, hybrid PFDs, & others.
• Made for specific activities.
• Least bulky of all types.
• High flotation when inflated.
• Good for continuous wear.
• May not adequately float some wearers unless partially inflated.
• Requires active use and care of inflation chamber.
• Required to be worn to be counted as a regulation PFD.
Defender carries a complete line of USCG Approved Life Jackets and PFD's from Mustang Survival, Revere, Stearns, Spinlock, Crewsaver, Kent, Full Throttle, Onyx, and more.

Note: All recreational boats must carry one wearable PFD (Type I, II, III or Type V PFD) for each person aboard. A Type V PFD provides performance of either a Type I, II, or III PFD (as marked on its label) and must be used according to the label requirements. Any boat 16ft and longer (except canoes and kayaks) must also carry one throwable PFD (Type IV PFD).  For more info: