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A personal flotation device (PFD) is very important to have when participating in water sports. However, there are different types of PFD's available. Be sure that you have purchased the right one for your particular activity. Remember, each type of lifejacket is available in both adult and children's sizes.
Type I PFD- This is the heaviest and most buoyant kind of lifejacket available, preferred in emergency situations on the open water. Type I will be available when sailing on a ship, as they are designed to withstand tough waves and keep an unconscious swimmer facing up, out of the water until help arrives.
Type II PFD- These will fit around the neck and tied around the waste. A medium buoyancy, they are used off shore in situations when help is arriving quickly. They weigh slightly less than the Type I.
Type III PFD- These lifejackets are intended for calm waters and are the most common variety seen in stores. Type III lifejackets are light enough for water sport activities, such as skiing, and require the wearers to place themselves in an upright position.
Type IV PFD- This is a “throwable” personal flotation device and are not intended to be worn. A type IV PFD includes ring buoys, often used by boaters and lifeguards.