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Course Outline

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

  • The older legacy labels have a type number (Types I to V).
    • The type number indicates the conditions and the intended use for which the PFD is designed.
    • PFDs with these labels may still be used in the country where they are approved as long as they are in serviceable 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. PFDs designed for near-shore use offer greater mobility and comfort. However, they will not turn most unconscious persons face up.
    • A higher number means the PFD is intended for offshore activities. PFDs designed for offshore use offer greater flotation, turning ability, and stability.
    • PFDs with these labels are approved for use in both the U.S. and Canada.
New life jacket/PFD label with user weight, chest size, and USCG approved called out
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