South Australia Logo Government of SA - Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure Logo Government of South Australia Website Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure Home Page Government of South Australia Website

PFD or life jacket - what's the difference?

30 November 2010

Personal Flotation Devices (PFD) are identified in Australian and international standards as Type 1, 2 or 3 – only Type 1 is a lifejacket, Type 2 and 3 are buoyancy vests. They are rated according to the amount of flotation they provide to the wearer and on the standard to which they’re made.

PFD or life jacket

 

 







 

 

 

 

 

type 1















PFD Type 1

  •     has sufficient flotation to support body and head
  •     is designed to keep you afloat and your head out of water
  •     is called a ‘lifejacket’ in the Australian Standards
  •     provides greater flotation than other types of PFD
  •     is not suitable for higher-speed activities such as water skiing, rowing and riding a personal watercraft, because the neckpiece can increase the risk of injury at high-speed.
type 2













PFD Type 2

  •     is a ‘buoyancy vest’ not lifejacket
  •     has less flotation than a PFD 1 with flotation panels front and back only
  •     provides more freedom of movement than a PFD Type 1, but will not maintain your head above water
  •     is most suited to higher-speed activities such as water skiing, rowing and riding a personal watercraft.
type 3














PFD Type 3

  •     is similar to PFD 2, but doesn’t meet the Australian Standards Association colour standards
  •     is designed for high-speed water sports such as water skiing, kite surfing, aquaplaning, operating personal water craft and sail-boarding.