Choosing The Right Lifejacket
A lifejacket approved by the U.S. Coast Guard is your best protection against water emergencies. But knowing which type of jacket to buy can be confusing since choosing the right one depends on how well you swim, what you're doing and the water conditions.
The Coast Guard has categorized five types of
personal floatation devices according to their use. Here are the three most popular
Buoyant Vest (Type II)
You probably remember this jacket as the bright orange one you wore as a child. It is designed for near-shore use, such as recreational canoeing or sailing, in inland waters where a rescue would likely occur quickly. It may help turn an unconscious person in the water from a face-down position to a vertical or slightly tipped-back position.
Special Purpose Device (Type III)
These "float coats" are very common on lakes for activities such as water skiing, sailing or fishing in calm, inland waters. When using for water skiing, the jacket should fit snugly with at least three straps across the chest. These vests may help keep an unconscious person in a vertical or slightly tipped-back position.
Throwing Device (Type IV)
This type is a throwable device, such as a buoyant cushion or a ring buoy. It is not worn, but can be tossed to a victim in an emergency. It does not take the place of a life jacket, but should be kept handy as a rescue device on all boats 16 feet or larger.
How To Properly Use Your Flotation Device
How To Care For Your Floatation Device
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