The use of life jackets
The life jacket is designed to keep the user’s body afloat, and keep their mouth and nostrils free from water to prevent drowning. This is especially important when you accidentally fall into the water and fall unconscious.
This object is not designed to keep you warm. If you happen to be in an accident in cold water such as sea, river, lake … please wear suitable protective / warm clothing.
Various types of life jackets
There are many different types of life jackets, each one suitable for a particular situation. No matter which one you use, it must comply with the national standard or European standard.
US Standard – USCG approved
Type I: Offshore life jackets
Best used for all water bodies; Large oceans, rough seas or remote waters, where salvage may take place more slowly due to geographical characteristics. Although Type I is usually bulky in size, the inflatable type is relatively compact, foldable and easy to carry.
Type I is capable of keeping the user afloat for the longest time, the bright colors reflect in insufficient lighting and can help to flip the user upside down when they are in a state of unconsciousness. Type I foam life jackets can be uncomfortable to wear while rowing.
Type I foam life jackets provide 33 pounds (100 Newtons) of buoyancy, while Type I inflatable life jackets provide 33 pounds (150 Newton) buoyancy. There are currently no USCG approved Class I inflatable life jackets
Type II: Near shore life jackets
This type of life jacket is suitable for use in inland water, calm water, where there is a quick rescue.
The Type II shirt will help the wearer who is in a state to unconsciously switch to a face-up position on the water. Type II foam is ‘bulky’ and generally uncomfortable only for the purpose of keeping boats safe on rivers and lakes, but less ‘bulky’ than Type I foam.
Type II foam life jackets provide 15.5 pounds (70 Newton) float, while Type II inflatable life jackets provide 33 pounds (150 Newton) float. Class II foam life jackets are generally inexpensive types loaded on board to ensure USCG compliance. The inflatable Type II offers greater buoyancy and comfort and is preferred to wear all the time.
Type III: Life jackets / floating aids
These life jackets are suitable for most sailors when there is a quick chance to rescue them. They provide the most freedom of movement and comfort for a sober person. Type III foam is designed so that the wearer can put themselves upside down, but they may have to tilt their head back to avoid being faced with the water.
The inflatable type III usually floats the human head. Type III foam life jackets provide 15.5 pounds (70 Newton) float, while inflatable Type III life jackets provide 22 pounds (100 Newton) float.
Type III foam life jackets are comfortable and popular for those who wear them all the time. Type III inflatable buoys offer higher buoyancy and are even more comfortable and are preferred to wear at all times.
Type IV: Throwing device
The cushion or ring float is designed to throw to someone in trouble and provides redundancy for the PFD. They are not for people who cannot swim, in raw water or who are unconscious. USCG does not require these in canoes, canoes or kayaks.
Devices with throw tags are not worn as above, usually only held by someone in the water. Type IV ring float provides 16.5 pounds (75 Newton) buoyancy and throwable boat cushion provides 18 pounds (82 Newton) buoyancy.
Type V: Specialized equipment
These are specialized PFDs for specific activities. In order to be accepted by the USCG, they must be used for the activity specified on the label. Categories include boating, kayaking, water skiing, windsurfing, hybrid jackets and deck suits.
For boating, these typically include harness-on inflatable ones, or foam hooded for basket rowing. Type V provides 15.5 – 22 pounds (70 – 100 Newton) floats, while inflatable V provides 22 – 34 pounds (100 – 155 Newton) floats.
These ones will usually be labeled ‘Type V with Type II performance’ or ‘Type V with Type III performance’. The label will also state ‘Special use’ that life jackets are designed for.
International standard – ISO
ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies and has established and recognized standards for life jackets. If a life jacket complies with their standards, it will have the ‘ISO’ mark on the jacket and type of float.
European Standards (EN) – CE
CE standards are defined by European Standards (EN) and recognized by the European Union and the European Free Trade Association. CE compliance recognized by 34 European member states.