Personal Flotation Devices (PFD's) are designed to keep the wearer afloat for extended periods of time. PFD's (also commonly called Life Jackets), are part of the regulated safety equipment checklist, and something that every sailor, kayaker, fisher, or boater needs to think about. Here at Boating & RV, we are happy to walk you through what you need for your activities, whether you are lake fishing, or sailing around the world.
PFD & Life Jacket Types
In Australia, PFD's and Life Jackets are rated on their buoyancy via the Newton system. The most common PFD's fall under 50N, 100N or 150N. These buoyancy levels are suitable for different activities, as per state legislation. When picking your PFD, ensure that you are picking the right life jacket for the right conditions. You can find out which level is required by visiting your state or countries maritime policing body.
PFDs can come in a foam or inflatable design. Foam PFD's are bulkier, but have the benefit of being 'active' as soon as the wearer is in the water. This is especially useful for those in dinghy sailing, jetski-ing, or open boats, where the wearer may find themselves in the water unexpectedly. Inflatable life jackets can be quite lightweight, and low profile, but require the life jacket to be inflated before it offers any buoyancy. Inflation can be triggered via a manual or automatic (with a water sensor) switch, but both require that the PFD be properly maintained and armed with a CO² canister. Maintaining and servicing must be done on a yearly basis, and most manufacturers support the owners self-servicing their jackets, with the manufacturers checklist.
Fitting a PFD & Life Jacket
Manufacturers will have a recommended weight range for their life jackets. When selecting a life jacket, you should ensure that the size and fit suits you and your activities. The life jacket should be able to be done up, with zippers fastened securely and buckles tightened to ensure that the wearer cannot slip out. Boating & RV stores have a wide selection of life jackets available to try. We can also order life jackets from the industries biggest providers, such as Crewsaver, Burke, Axis, & Zhik - Just let us know! We even carry a range to suit your pets!