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WorldSafety and SurvivalPFDs

Personal Floatation Devices

Picture of an PFD


A personal flotation device (also referred to as PFD, lifejacket, life preserver, Mae West, life vest, life saver, cork jacket, life belt, flotation suit) is a device designed to assist a wearer, either conscious or unconscious, to keep afloat with his or her mouth and nose (airway) of his or her head's face above the water surface when in or on water.

"Life savers" are also referred to as "lifebuoys", "ring buoys", "life preservers" or "life rings" and are NOT wearable and not only provide flotation but also serve to mark the location of a person who is overboard in the water. The circular device is equipped with a "becket line" or ~1.5 cm diameter cord affixed at several (generally 4) points around the device's perimeter for the user to hold on to. The larger sizes of these devices are designed with sufficient flotation to buoy up MORE THAN ONE victim in the water.

"Lifesling" is the trade name of another water survival device which combines personal lifesaving function with an overboard recovery function. It's main features consist of a buoyant loop that a person can slip over his or head (or swim into) and under his or her armpits, connected to an integral floating lifeline that can be trailed from a boat to effect recovery of a person in the water back towards the boat from which he or she may have fallen from. The device is also used to rescue people in the water by trailing it behind the rescuing vessel, which is maneuvered so that the line encircles the person, who then secures him or herself to the buoyant collar. One model of Lifesling has received USCG approval as a type of PFD.




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