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Personal Flotation Devices

Personal Flotation Devices

An MBC requirement for ALL Sailing and Kayak Activities is a Properly Fitting Personal Flotation Device (also called PFD or “Life Jacket”).  For a life jacket to work properly, it needs to be on your body and it should fit right. 

Proper Fit

•    A properly fitting PFD is snug around the torso.  The PFD must not “ride up” to the chin or ears when lifted by the shoulder-straps. 
•    A properly fitting life jacket is more comfortable and functions better. 
•    Life jackets that are too small or too large can ride up when you are in the water and fall off!

Tips for Choosing a Child's Life Jacket

When selecting a life jacket for a child, bear in mind the following guidelines:

•    At home, be sure to measure the child's chest (underneath the arms).  Many manufacturers include a chest size.  Be sure the chest measurement is accommodated by the life jacket when making a purchase.
•    A Type III PFD designed for sailing or kayaking is preferred because it allows the sailor more freedom of motion while in the boat.
•    While at the store, have the child try on the life jacket and make sure it fits snugly. To determine fit, lift the shoulders of the life jacket to make sure it does not slip over the chin or ears. The life jacket is too big if there are more than three inches between the child's shoulders and the device.
•    Choose brightly colored life jackets. Children are more likely to wear devices that are attractive to them.  Bright colors are also more readily visible on the water.
•    Crotch straps are an important feature on life jackets for younger children.  For the child's protection, be sure the crotch straps are used at all times.
•    A parent or other adult should assist the child in testing their life jacket in the water. Adjust the life jacket so that its optimum performance is achieved. Let the child indicate when the device needs to be tightened or loosened.

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