2015 New York Safe Boating - 15
These usually take the shape of a boat cushion, ring buoy, or
horseshoe device. These devices must be readily accessible
during boat operation.
Make sure that every passenger has a PFD that fits. An adult
PFD is not appropriate for most children, and a child's PFD is
not appropriate for most adults. Children's PFDs are rated by
weight of the wearer, and are safe only for children weighing
90 pounds or less. Children who weigh more than 90
pounds should wear an appropriately sized adult PFD. Adult
PFDs are rated by chest size.
Special Use or Hybrid Device (Type V PFD)
A special use device that is designed for a specific activity.
A work vest, an inflatable PFD and
immersion suits are included in this
category. The PFD must be worn
and used only under the conditions
noted on the label. A Type V PFD
may be rated as a Type I, II or III if
they have the required minimum
bouyancy. If the label says "for commercial use only" then the PFD is not
intended to be used on a pleasure
When shopping for any PFD always look for and read the
US Coast Guard label. This label, along with the provided
informational brochure, will tell you everything you need to
know about the device you are about to buy: the type, size,
amount of buoyancy, intended use and its proper care.
Read the PFD label carefully. Some PFDs are not approved for
personal watercraft, water skiing and similar towed activities.
Look for a PFD that is marked for the intended use. For
example, if it is not labeled "water ski" or "PWC" find one
For a PFD to be considered "Approved", the PFD must be
readily available, the proper size for the person, properly
fastened if being worn, free of rips and tears and used in
activities not prohibited on the label.
A Hybrid Device is a Type V PFD that uses inflation in addition
to the some type of buoyant flotation material found in traditional PFDs. To be acceptable for use on recreational craft,
the hybrid Type V PFD must be worn.
While the US Coast Guard is now approving inflatable PFDs
for use on recreational boats, please keep in mind that while
they are comfortable and lightweight, they are not suitable
for non-swimmers, waterskiers, youths under the age of 16
and riders of personal watercraft.
THE BEST PFD IS THE PFD YOU WEAR!
Caring for PFDs
Inflatable PFDs must have a full cylinder and all status indicators on the inflator must be green or the device does NOT
satisfy the requirement to carry PFDs. If you are using a Type
V (inflatable) PFD, you must wear it at all times in order to
meet the PFD requirements.
A PFD that is in poor condition will not work properly. PFDs
will last many years given reasonable care. Follow a few
simple steps to preserve the useful life of your PFDs.
Store PFDs properly. If you store your PFDs in your boat in
the summer months, don't leave them where they're exposed
to direct sunlight. Exposure to the sun may cause the shell
fabric to weaken, which might cause it to tear when worn.
Keep PFDs out of direct sunlight when they're not in use.
Remove the PFDs from the boat during the winter and store
them in a dry, well-ventilated place. Never store PFDs near oil
or grease since these substances can cause deterioration of the
materials, impair buoyancy and reduce performance.
IT IS MUCH EASIER TO ALWAYS WEAR A PFD
THAN TO PUT ONE ON IN THE WATER WHILE
General Information About PFD
To be in compliance with the law-and as a matter of
basic safety-you must keep your PFD in good condition
and readily (easily)
your PFDs every time
you go boating to
ensure that they are
free of rot, tears, and
sure all the straps are
stow your PFDs in
closed plastic bags, or
locked in your boat's
Keep them near at
hand so that you can reach them quickly in an emergency,
and make sure all your passengers know where they are
Use, don't abuse. Use your PFD for its intended purpose.
Exposing it to excessive friction or force may damage it or
render it useless. Your PFD is your primary piece of lifesaving
equipment; treat it as such and it may someday save your
life. Never use your PFD as a boat fender; doing so may cause
tears or ruptures. Don't sit on your PFD. Many Type I and II
PFDs consist of several "kapok" bags sewn into the device.
Each bag must be airtight or else water may seep into the bag
causing the kapok to lose buoyancy. Sitting on kapok devices
may rupture them.
Test regularly. A damaged PFD may not have sufficient
buoyancy to keep a person afloat. Check your PFDs often to
make sure they are in good condition. Inspect PFDs carefully
to make sure all the straps are securely attached and all the
buckles and zippers work. A PFD will not work properly unless
you are properly strapped into it. Look carefully for tears in the
fabric; buoyant material may fall out of a tear and a torn device
may become water-logged. Discard torn or ripped devices.