Type I: Off-Shore Life Jacket

This jacket is best for open, rough, or remote water, where rescue may be slow coming. It floats you the best and turns most unconscious wearers face up in water.

Inflatable PFDs: These have two chambers, indicate when CO2 cylinder is empty, and inflate automatically when submerged.

Type II: Near-Shore Buoyant Vest

This jacket is good for calm, inland water, or where there is a good chance of fast rescue. It turns some unconscious wearers face-up in water.

Inflatable PFDs: These jackets inflate automatically when submerged, and are suitable for many rough water uses.

Type III: Flotation Aid

This jacket is generally the most comfortable type for continuous wear, and it's good for calm, inland water, or where there is a good chance of fast rescue. It is available in many styles, including vests and flotation jackets.

Inflatable PFDs: These jackets will keep unconscious wearers face up after inflation.

Type IV: Throwable Device

This device is for calm, inland water with some heavy boat traffic, where help is always nearby. Some can be used as a flotation cushion. This device can be thrown to someone.

Type V: Special Use Devices

These devices are only for special uses or conditions. They are made for specific activities; see PFD label for limits of use. Varieties include deck suits, pullover vests, work vests, some hybrid PFDs, and others. Some Type V PFDs are approved only when worn.

180.10-5: Requirements for Vessels in Ocean or Coastwise Service

180.10-5 (a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, vessels in ocean service shall carry sufficient lifefloats for all persons on board, and vessels in coastwise service shall carry sufficient lifefloats or buoyant apparatus for all persons on board.

180.10-5 (a) (1) Vessels whose routes are restricted to 20 miles from a harbor of safe refuge shall carry lifefloats or buoyant apparatus for not less than 50 percent of all persons on board.

180.10-5 (a) (2) For vessels operation not more than one mile from land, the Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection, may permit operation with reduced amounts of lifefloats or buoyant apparatus when in his opinion it is safe to do so. In permitting such reduction the Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection, shall consider the vessel, its scope of operation and the hazards of the route.

180.10-5 (b) After July 1, 1968, all lifefloats and buoyant apparatus shall be international orange in color.

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