Where is the Best Place to Put PFDs While You Are Out on Your Boat?

PFDs are important to marine users just as helmets are to cyclists.

Marine accidents are so unseen therefore the proximity of PFDs in a boat is critical.

First-time boat users always ask us, “Where is the best place to put your PFDs while you are out on your boat”?

Our article today gives a thorough overview of PFDs and explains the best place to put them while in the boat. 

Let’s get started:

What is a PFD As Used By Boaters?

A personal floatation device is a safety gear worn by boaters to prevent them from drowning in case of an emergency.

A PFD is designed in such a way that it keeps you afloat with your head safe from water whether you are conscious or unconscious.

Its rear part shields you from ranging winds and cold water making you buoyant.

The safety equipment varies in size to accommodate different body types and weights.

They also vary depending on the intended purpose and the security level expected.

The enhanced PFDs are mostly used by recreational and veteran boaters.

Why Are PFDs Necessary During a Boat Trip?

Drowning is a tragic accident that takes less than 60 seconds. PFDs will prevent you from drowning when the unfortunate accident knocks.

Statistics indicate that 10 US citizens drown every day and 2 of the victims are children.

Various factors could lead to an emergency while on a boat trip. These include external factors such as the mechanical breakdown of the boat or even harsh weather conditions like storms.

Because of such factors, safety can never be overlooked.

Even if you wish to have a free relaxed ride, make sure you can access a safety device when necessary.

There are different types of PFDs. The choice of each PFD varies depending on various factors such as the intensity of the wind, the temperature of the water, and the speed the boat moves.

It is upon the boat operator to advise his passengers on the most suitable PFD depending on the prevailing condition.

Where is The Best Place to Put PFDs While You Are Out on Your Boat?

Personal floatation devices are best placed at a conveniently accessible and visible spot, preferably at the top deck where the passengers sit.

The ultimate goal is to locate and grab them easily in case of an emergency.

Keeping PFDs accessible means that the devices are not wrapped in plastic bags or locked inside a hard-to-break box or compartment.

They should be put in an open box and put strategically so that the passengers can see them.

Also, ensure no clothes or coverings are obstructing the said box.

However, it is safest when boaters put on their safety gear before boarding the boat and keeping them on up to the end of the return trip.

The boat operator must be quick to inform his passengers where to find these life-saving devices.

Qualities Of a Good PFD Every Boater Should Consider/What To Look Out For on a PFD Before You Board a Boat

A good personal floatation device has the following qualities:

  •  It is bright enough to be spotted from a distance.
  • It is the right size for each passenger depending on their age, weight, and chest measurements.
  •  It is free from tears, holes, and rips.
  •  It is compatible with the water you intend to ride on.
  • One that can withstand harsh environmental conditions.
  •  It has the Coast Guard’s Approval label meaning it has the following parts:
  • A sturdy, rust-free zipper
  • Head or collar support
  • A safety strap
  • The grab strap
  • A strong buckle

How To Correctly Wear a Boating PFD

Follow these steps to properly fit in the PFDs:

  1. Spread the safety gear inside out
  2. Rotate it to see the neck opening
  3. Use your arms to extend the opening
  4. Raise your hands above the head to fit in the attire on the upper body
  5. Zip it up and ensure a snug fit.

What Boaters Should Do To Maintain A PFD in Good Condition

The following practices will make your PFDs last longer while still in good condition:

  •   In case a PFD was used in salty water, you must wash it with fresh water immediately after use.
  •  Never use harsh detergents to clean a PFD. Use mild soap instead.
  •   Use the drip-dry method to dry it.
  •  Keep it away from direct sunlight.
  •  Constantly check out for holes, tears, and rips.
  •  Ensure the zippers, straps, and seams are in good condition.
  •  Always store the safety devices in a well-ventilated room.

Important Things Every Boat User Should Know About PFDs

The following are the safety tips to observe while using PFDs:

  •  Every boat should have enough PFDs for all its clients. All the passengers onboard should have a fitting PFD depending on their chest measurements, age, and weight.
  • It is safest when the passengers wear personal floatation devices before boarding the boat because it becomes hard to fit in when an emergency arises.
  •   It is also advisable to maintain the safety gear till the boat returns to the shore after the trip.
  •   The boat should have enough safety devices such that every passenger gets theirs.
  •  Children and pet animals too should wear a PFD while boarding a boat. Statistics show that kids drown faster compared to adults.
  •   Inflatable personal Floatation devices are unsafe and hence highly discouraged, especially for risky water sports such as jet skiing and wakeboarding.
  •  A foam PFD is most recommended for such sports.
  • 16 feet long or bigger vessels must have a Type IV PFD. Good examples are sim rings or buoyant cushions.
  • Unlike the usual PFDs, these PFDs are not worn. Rather they are thrown in the water to pull passengers towards the boat in case of an emergency.
  • However, these Type IV PFDs must be in good working condition without holes, tears, or rips.

What Alternative Should a Boater Use in Case They Do Not Have A PFD?

There’s an advanced version of a PFD called a life jacket. People confuse the names that are used interchangeably.

The two safety devices serve the same purpose of keeping marine users afloat in case of an emergency.

However, there are some major differences between the two:

  • A life jacket is more buoyant compared to a PFD.
  • A life jacket can turn an unconscious person from facing down to face up while a PFD can only keep a conscious person afloat under some water.
  • PFDs are mostly used by veteran swimmers for recreational sports while life jackets are recommended for kids and novice swimmers.
  • PFDs come in multiple colors while life jackets are strictly orange, red, or yellow in color.

Final Thoughts

A PFD is a must-have safety device for all boat users. Children and animals too should wear the PFDs when boarding a boat.

The PFDs should be strategically placed in the boat for the passengers to access with ease, preferably at the top deck in case of an emergency.

It is most effective if worn before setting out for the boat trip.

Always ensure that the PFD fits you perfectly and that it is in good working condition.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *