There are different types of life jackets which are approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. Since life jackets are required by the Coast Guard for each person onboard, your boat insurance company will expect you to comply with the USCG regulations.

There are many different styles and types of life vests. Remember when purchasing life jackets - the lower the number the better the life vest. Always check the tag to make sure it is a Coast Guard approved personal flotation device.

Type I Life Jacket

TYPE I – This may be the best life jacket, it floats the best, the longest, is designed to be able to turn most anyone who is unconscious upright and to stay that way for a long time. It is made to be used in open waters and oceans; and is available for most ages. Considered the off shore life preserver.

Type II Life Jacket

TYPE II – This life jacket is considered the most comfortable, comes in an array of sizes, is less expensive than the TYPE I and is referred to as the classic personal flotation device used mostly for calm waters where help is not as far and the chance of rescue is quick. It does not always turn an unconscious person face up. It is available for all ages.

Type III Life Jacket

TYPE III – This jacket is the more stylish used in calm waters for sports and different boating activities, again where a fast rescue can be expected, because this jacket will normally not turn an unconscious person face up.

Throwable Cushion PFD

TYPE IV – This device is to be thrown to a conscious person who is not wearing a life jacket and who can hold on to it until rescued. It is normally used in an inland area where there will be boats and people around for the fast recovery.

Type V Life Jacket

TYPE V – These personal flotation devices are work vests, deck suits and hybrids for special activities like whitewater rafting. Some types of this PFD will contain internal buoyance and become inflatable which provides additional flotation abilities.


Remember the lower the number the better the life jacket will perform; when purchasing life vests be sure to check for the CG number on the tag. For children’s life jackets the weight of the child is the considering factor, a life jacket that does not fit well will be like having no life jacket on at all.

Inflatable Life Jackets

Inflatable Life Jackets - These life vests are intended for adult swimmers only. They require maintenance and attention. They have wearable styles only and known for the good performance in the water. These devices are either manual or will automatically fill up when immersed in water.



These types of life jackets will work and keep those that wear them as safe as possible. Again, they cannot work if they are not worn.

Boat insurance protects you against loss. Being prepared minimizes your chance of loss. Be prepared and keep your life jackets in good condition. Always make sure you have the appropriate number for every person onboard.