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Course Outline

Every USCG–approved PFD has a label that contains important information. While boating, you may encounter PFDs with either old or new labels.

  • The older, legacy labels have a type number (Types I–V).
    • The type number indicates what kind of activity is appropriate for the PFD.
    • PFDs with these labels may still be used in the country where they are approved as long as they are in good condition.
  • The new labels have a performance level icon that contains a number, typically ranging from 50 to 150.
    • A lower number means the PFD is intended for near-shore activities in calm waters. This type of PFD offers greater mobility and comfort.
    • A higher number means the PFD is intended for offshore activities. This type of PFD offers greater flotation, turning, and stability.
    • PFDs with these labels are approved for use in both the U.S. and Canada.
  • Regardless of the label, there should be a USCG approval number. This means that the PFD is safe and meets legal requirements.
New life jacket/PFD label with user weight, chest size, and USCG approved called out
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