Selecting A Safety Vest

A lifejacket is NOT the same as a personal flotation device (PFD). Both terms are used interchangeably but there are very important differences.


  • Designed to turn an unconscious person from face down to face up in the water, allowing them to breathe.
  • Lifejackets have more buoyancy than PFDs.
  • Must be red, yellow or orange, and must have a whistle attached. These features make it easier to be located in a rescue situation.
  • Best choice if you're unable to swim or a weak swimmer.


  • Designed to keep a conscious person afloat in calm conditions.
  • PFDs have less buoyancy. The floatation material is on the back of the device. This makes them less bulky and more comfortable allowing for greater movement than a lifejacket.
  • Designed for use in recreational boating and are a good choice for people who are confident in the water.