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Child with a Windsurf Rig

Regulation Floatation

SAFER: Regulation Floatation

Life jackets need to be worn like a seatbelt. Your life is more important than your tan line.

Life jackets must be

  • The appropriate size for the intended user

  • Appropriate for the intended activity

  • In good and serviceable condition

  • Coast Guard approved to meet carriage requirements

Life jacket advantages

  • Help you float

  • Some are designed to keep your head above water

  • Make you more visible (attach a whistle and emergency light)

  • Help keep you warm (a body loses heat 25 - 40 X faster in cold water than in air)



  1.  Use only Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices. (PFD’s)

    • Anything that can be inflated with air is not adequate.

  2.  Make sure life vests fit properly.

  3.  Always wear life vests when boating and when fishing or playing near rivers, lakes and the ocean.

    • Simply having them in the boat is not sufficient.

  4.  Have a list of pool rules and make sure that everyone knows them.

  5.  Make sure that caregivers and others know about the layers of protection.

If you have any questions or additional information that you think could be helpful to this page or drowning prevention in general, please do not hesitate to contact the SWIM ON Foundation.

Life Jacket Guide

What age must wear PFD?

Under age 7

Vessel length:

All lengths

When PFD must be worn?

At all times while aboard any watercraft.

Exceptions when PFD does not need to be worn:

When in the cabin area of a houseboat or cruiser.

Approved PFD Styles:

Type I, II, III or V PFD.

View different life jackets for different activities:


The Stats

  • Of the 78% of people who drowned in boating accidents, 84% of them were not wearing life jackets.

  • ​One-half of recreational boating fatalities happen on calm water. 

  • 9 out of 10 drownings happen on inland waters and a few hundred feet from shore.

  • 8 out of every 10 boaters who drowned were in boats less than 21 feet in length.


  • The Coast Guard estimates that 80% of boating fatalities could have been prevented if boaters wore their life jackets. 

Life Jacket Loaner Map

Life Vest Diagram
Life Vest Awareness

SWIM ON Foundation is a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization. EIN: 83-4306115 

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