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Commercial Shark Fishery Observer Program

Observer Training

Personal Flotation Devices
pfd practice
PFD classroom training © FLMNH
There must be at least one Coast Guard approved device of the proper size for each person on board the vessel. Unapproved immersion suits (also referred to as "exposure" or "survival" suits") carried on board prior to 1991, are acceptable as long as they are maintained and in good condition. A throwable flotation device (ring life buoy or throwable cushion) must be carried on board, as determined in the Federal Requirements for Commercial Fishing Industry Vessels.






pfd practice
PFDs used during observer training program, each labeled with the type © FLMNH


Descriptions of PFDs:

TYPE I: provides the most buoyancy. It is effective for all waters, especially open, rough, or remote waters where rescue may be delayed. It is designed to turn most unconscious wearers in the water to a face-up position. The TYPE I comes in two sizes: Adult size provides at least 22 pounds of buoyancy, the child size, 11 pounds, minimum.

TYPE II: is intended for calm, inland water or where there is a good chance of quick rescue. This type will turn some unconscious wearers to a face-up position. The turning action is not as pronounced nor as effective as a TYPE I. An adult size provides at least 15.5 pounds buoyancy, a medium child size provides 11 pounds. Infant and small child sizes each provide at least 7 pounds buoyancy.

TYPE III: is good for calm, inland water, or where there is a good chance of quick rescue. It is designed so that wearers can put themselves in a face-up position in the water. The wearer may have to tilt their head back to avoid turning face down. TYPE III has the same minimum buoyancy as a TYPE II PFD. Float coats, fishing vests, and vests designed for various water sports are examples.

TYPE IV: is intended for calm, inland water with heavy boat traffic, where help is always present. It is designed to be thrown to a person in the water and grasped and held by the user until rescued. It is not designed to be worn. Type IV devices include buoyant cushions, ring buoys, and horseshoe buoys.
pfd practice
PFD pool session © FLMNH