Friday, September 26, 2014

PFDs Just Got Simpler

For the last several years, the U.S. Coast Guard has been working to redesign the labeling for personal flotation devices to more effectively convey safety information. The current proposal removes type codes, aka Type I, II, III, IV and V, in regulations on the carriage and labeling of Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices.

PFD type codes are unique to Coast Guard approval and are not well understood by the public. Removing these type codes from the regulations would facilitate future incorporation by reference of new industry consensus standards for PFD labeling that will more effectively convey safety information and is a step toward harmonization of our regulations with PFD requirements in Canada and in other countries.

As of September 22, 2014, a final rule was issued to remove PFD Type codes in federal regulations. Under these amendments, the number and kind of PFDs required to be carried on a vessel will not change, but the terminology used to refer to approved PFDs will. This final rule is effective Oct. 22, 2014. 

What does this mean for the paddling community? 

Over time, the terminology of Type I, II, III, IV and V will no longer appear on lifejacket labels and in literature. Once the new standard wording or icons for lifejackets are finalized, instructors and clubs will then need to share this updated information with the public.

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