Our range of Personal Flotation Devices and Life Jackets offer incredible fit, lightweight construction and all of the technical features you need. Check out or range of life jackets and PFDs today, to find your perfect buoyancy solution. If you are still unsure whether you need a life jacket or a PFD for your chosen activities, please contact our team today and we will be able to offer any help and advice you need.
Although they ultimately have the same purpose, to aid buoyancy and help preserve life when in water, PFDs and life jackets have a number of very important differences. It is important to be aware of these differences so you can make an informed, and correct decision, when deciding which will be right to protect you during your chosen activities.
WHAT IS A LIFE JACKET?
The most notable and important difference between a life jacket and a PFD is that, although they both aid in flotation by giving the wearer more buoyancy, a life jacket can effectively support an unconscious person. They are designed with sufficient flotation in the front and collar to turn the wearer face up in the water, even if they are unconscious or unable to help themselves.
Therefore, life jackets are recommended in situations when ending up in the water for an extended time is an undesirable, but potential possibility, for example in the event of an accident or emergency. Likewise, they should also be relied upon if the wearer is a non-swimmer or has limited abilities, and there is any possibility that they may enter water for any period of time.
The size and shape of life jackets, as they are primarily designed to save lives and not for comfort, mean they can hinder freedom of movement and would not be suitable for many water sport activities that require unrestricted movement. For this reason, those who regularly engage in such activities will often choose a PFD, due to their comparative comfort and lack of restriction.
WHAT IS A PERSONAL FLOTATION DEVICE (PFD)?
Unlike life jackets, PFDs are primarily designed to assist a conscious person by providing more buoyancy to help them stay afloat in water. A PDF is not guaranteed to turn an unconscious wearer face up in a body of water, as the buoyant areas of a PFD are relatively dispersed for a more comfortable fit.
As previously touched on, PFDs are far less cumbersome and designed to allow unrestricted movement while keeping the wearer safe, but don’t offer the same high degree of protection as a life jacket. PFDs are a crucial piece of it in the water rescue world but are also popular with water sport enthusiasts, who require a wide range of movement but want to remain protected with a buoyancy aid.
PFDs effectively offer a compromise, striking a balance between providing buoyancy whilst offering unrestricted movement and a higher level of comfort. They are the preferred choice in situations where the wearer might reasonably expect to end up in the water, but are able to help themselves by swimming to safety or staying afloat while waiting for assistance, not in an emergency situation or for a prolonged time in challenging conditions.