Life Jackets Vs PFD: What Is The Difference And What To Choose?

Very often people who decide to buy a life jacket for fishing, rafting, and other travels, confuse it with PFDs counterparts. These models are quite different from each other.

Differences PFD vs lifejacket

 PFDs are usually designed to support up to 9kg – they make it easier to stay in the water, but you will need to swim or float on the surface yourself. The life-saving counterparts, on the other hand, hold the casualty even if they lose consciousness, and they necessarily have a collar that lifts the head above the surface of the water.  PFD versions do not have such an option.

life jackets vs pfd
life jackets vs pfd

When PFD and when a lifesaving model is needed

 PFDs vests with less buoyancy do not hinder the person to move actively and swim fast. Therefore, for example, when rafting, if the kayak turns over, they are more relevant.

In this case, young children and those who do not know how to swim will be suitable only for life jackets as they can wait until they are pulled aboard by their sportier companions.

Also, PFDs vests are not suitable:

  • in cold water (a wetsuit is more relevant there);
  • in a storm;
  • in strong winds;
  • far from the shore;
  • at the risk of total drowning of the ship, etc.

In extreme conditions, life-saving analogs are more relevant. Depending on the model, they can increase the survival time up to several hours, especially if they have great buoyancy.

How to choose a lifejacket

pfd vs lifejacket
pfd vs lifejacket

Choosing a lifejacket model, you should pay attention to its buoyancy in the first place. And also on the fact that it must have a strong, good collar, which will certainly keep your head above water. Preferable options with crotch straps, tightly fixing the vest on the body. And it’s not a bad idea to have a whistle.

When selecting a safety vest, it is advisable to check that nothing interferes with movement in the water: crotch straps, for example, in this case, are superfluous, but pockets can be useful.

And in both cases, it is necessary to take into account the height and weight of the person on whom the thing will be worn.

It is important to remember that not all lifeguard models can protect in difficult weather conditions, as well as in heavy clothing.

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