PFDs or personal flotation devices are tools that can save everyone’s life on the boat. You can’t sail on a boat without PFDs, and as always safety is always number one. So many deaths could be prevented by just simply having PFDs ready on the boat.
Besides knowing the importance of PFDs, there’s something else that you should learn, knowing where to store your PFDs while sailing on your boat. Obviously, your PFDs would be useless if they’re not easily accessible during an emergency.
In this article, we’re going to learn more about PFDs, why they’re necessary, and where is the best place to store them on your boat.
What are PFDs?
So a PFD or personal flotation device is a piece of safety equipment that helps the person wearing it to stay afloat in the water. While wearing a PFD, a person can stay afloat even when they’re unconscious.
PFDs come in various sizes, based on the weight and size of the person wearing them. They also come with various features that you can choose from. The more features PFDs have the more secure they are. For example, some PFDs are more suited for water sports while others come with extra thermal protection for cold waters.
PFDs and life jackets
Many people are still confused about the difference between PFDs and life jackets. Well, they’re both the same thing. Both PFDs and life jackets are meant to protect people from drowning while in the water.
It’s not often for people to use the two names interchangeably. But, it’s important to know some key differences between PFDs and life jackets.
A life jacket is designed to make sure the person wearing it remains face-up in the water. When the person is facing down, the life jacket will try to turn them face up, allowing them to breathe. Lifejackets also have more buoyancy than PFDs, you can see the buoyancy material in front of the jacket.
Lifejackets only come in orange, red, or yellow color and complete with a whistle attached. The person wearing can use the whistle to let rescuers know their position.
On the other hand, a PFD is designed to keep a conscious person afloat under calm conditions and weather. PFDs have their buoyancy materials on the back of the jacket, which makes moving around more difficult and awkward, but less bulky than life jackets.
PFDs come in many colors and complete with reflective material that bounces light. Always choose PFDs with bright colors so people can see your position easily. Another important thing, PFDs are designed for recreational boating and more suitable for people who are confident with their swimming abilities. Fishing, rowing, sailing, canoeing, surfing, snorkeling, and other similar activities can be accompanied by PFDs.
Where to store your PFDs
Before we continue, you must remember that boating rules and regulations are updated regularly. Always keep yourself updated on the latest safety rules and regulations, especially about the use of PFDs.
You should always store your PFDs anywhere visible. The boat’s top deck is the best place to store your PFDs as this is the place where people are seated. Store your PFDs in an open box in a corner where it’s safe and secured. Everyone should be able to find them easily, so ensure that your PFDs aren’t covered or obstructed with anything.
Your PFDs should be reachable by anyone on the boat anytime during an emergency. Everyone should be able to put them on during an emergency within seconds. This should be your primary objective when deciding where to store the PFDs.
PFDs for children
Children are the biggest victim of boat accidents, which is a shame since PFDs can help children survive really well. It doesn’t matter how old your kid is, you should always prepare a PDF just for them.
To get the best PFDs for children consider the following:
- A label stating that the PFD is coast guard approved
- Grab strap ready
- A head or collar support
- Strong buckle complete with safety trap
- Proper size for the child’s size and weight
- Sturdy and rust-resistant zipper
After getting the best PFD you can find for your kid, now it’s time to teach them a few basic skills. First, teach them how to wear the PDF as quickly as possible. Second, teach them not to know during an emergency. Third, if your kid is under 9 kg, a PFD might not be the best solution here. So you must supervise them at all times.
Testing your PFDs and stay safe
Testing your PFDs can be done in shallow waters or swimming pools. Make sure the water is at least chest-deep. Bend your knees and float on your back, this is the recommended way of using PFDs. Find out whether your PFD can keep your chin out of the water or not. Now try to rely entirely on your PFD and breath normally.
If everything’s good, that means your PFD is ready to go. Store your PFDs where they are easily accessible. Now, you can go relax and have fun on your boat without worry.