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.