Life jackets are a safety item that should be worn by anyone who is on a small boat or any form of personal watercraft. In fact life jackets must be worn by law by people in small boats and personal water craft in many countries of the world. Even if you consider yourself a strong swimmer it is highly recommended that you wear a life jacket while on the water. Even the strongest swimmer is in imminent danger of drowning in the water.
There are numerous types and styles of lifejackets available on the market today, many of which have been developed to suit specialist uses. Life jackets have a rating system PDF1, PDF2 or PDF3. PDF 1 rated lifejackets are the lifejackets that you would wear whilst in open water onboard a small boat.
These life jackets must be brightly colored and have a floatation collar that will support your head and keep it out of the water if you are unconscious in the water. PDF 2 and 3 rated life jackets are designed to be used by people riding personal water craft or water skiing. PDF 2 and 3 life jackets or vests do not have a floatation collar as it is believed they could harm the rider or skiers neck in the event of a high speed fall into the water.
PDF 2 and 3 rated life jackets are designed to be used close to shore where help will be readily available and are technically considered floatation devices not life jackets. The difference between a PDF 2 and 3 rated life jacket or vest is that a PDF2 must be brightly colored so that the person is highly visible in the water.
PDF3 life jackets do not have to be manufactured in high visibility colours. You should check with your local authorities on the local regulations regarding which life jacket rating is required for various water sports and activities. Life jackets can be purchased from your local boating or water sports store or over the internet.
Make sure that you purchase a lifejacket with a PDF rating; these jackets have met the stringent safety standards required to obtain the rating and will keep you or your loved ones safe. Please also remember the most important point a life jacket is only a safety device if you are wearing it!