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Your Guide to Personal Flotation Devices


If you’re shopping for your very first personal flotation device, sometimes referred to as a life jacket or PFD, you may not realize just how many options there are available to you. Flotation devices come in a variety of different shapes, sizes, and levels of buoyancy, and it’s not a one type fits all kind of situation. To be sure you’re selecting the right PFD for your needs, you’ll definitely want to check out our helpful guide below!

Common Flotation Devices

Type I and II flotation devices are some of the most common, however, the two models are popular for very different reasons. Type II models are some of the easiest to move in, making them a favorite among strong swimmers or those frequenting calm waters. However, they aren’t nearly as buoyant as Type I or IV devices, and won’t be much help among strong ocean waves.

Type I flotation devices on the other hand are some of the most buoyant on the market, perfect for rough waters and choppy waves. They’re also one of the only flotation devices designed to support unconscious wearers, and can successfully flip over a user to keep them from drowning in a face-down position.

Situational Flotation Devices

Unlike the devices above, Type III and Type IV flotation devices are meant to be used in specific situations or conditions, and won’t need to be worn for every boating trip. Because Type III models come in the form of coats or jackets, they’re great for cold-weather boating, which requires a user to have an extra layer of insulation to keep warm. However, once immersed, these flotation devices offer no protection from the cold, and you’ll need to pull the wearer out of the water quickly.

Type IV devices aren’t worn – they’re thrown out to drowning passengers to help support them in the water as they’re pulled to safety. These flotation devices are typically required by the U.S. coast guard on vessels over 16 feet in length and are meant to be used in conjunction with other models on this list.

Now that you have a good understanding of the different types of PFDs on the market, we’re sure you’re eager to get your hands on one. If you’re located nearby in El Dorado Hills, Roseville, or Folsom, California, we encourage you to visit us here at Superior Boat Repair & Sales to grab yours! On top of our impressive inventory of PFDs, we also offer a variety of helpful boating accessories and equipment at our two convenient locations in Rancho Cordova and Homewood, California.

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