Additional USCG PFD Types

additional_uscg_pfd_types_type_ivIn the last post I gave an overview of the three primary life jacket types according to the US Coast Guard approval rating system.

While those vests are primarily wearable life jackets designed for normal, everyday use, there are two additional USCG PFD types you should also be aware of.

USCG PFD Types IV and V

Type IV: Throwable Device

The fourth USCG PFD type is not a life jacket or vest, but rather a throwable device. These types most commonly provide between 16.5 lbs and 18 lbs of buoyancy, depending on the design (seat cushions often provide more buoyancy than ring buoys and horseshoe buoys).

These devices are designed for calm, inland waters when a rescue is imminent. Most commonly, these PFDs are thrown from shore or a boat deck to individuals who have fallen into the water. The individual must then grab the flotation device in order to utilize it.


Type IV PFDs will not right a person in the water, nor are they intended for use with unconscious individuals.

Read more about Type IV PFDs.

Type V: Special Use PFD

Type V PFDs come in a variety of styles, each of which is designed for a special case scenario. Examples of Type V PFDs include:

  • Work vests
  • Deck suits
  • Hybrid vests
  • Inflatable belts

Generally, these vests are not recommended for every day use, unless the use is specifically tailored to match the design specifications and intended use of the vest in question.

Individual should always consult the owner’s or instruction manual before decided whether a Type V vest is appropriate for their purposes.

You can find more information on Type V vest types and uses here.

If you’re in the process of purchasingĀ a PFD, you may wish to read this article on choosing adult life jackets, or browse life jackets here.

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