Posted by: Dan Sprague | January 20, 2012

Type III (#3) life Jackets

diferent types of flotation for boats

The Coast Guard rate vests from 1 to 5

The U.S. Coast Guard rates life jackets by how well they provide flotation. Type 1 is the best and type V (#5) inflatable.  Type one provide the best flotation but they are also the bulkiest and the most uncomfortable. Type III (#3) life-jackets are what is called specialized jackets and are very popular because they are comfortable and more stylish. They are frequently used for water sports, like rafting, skiing and kayaking.

I have an excessive number of life jackets and flotation cushions on my boat.  Everyone on my boat gets a flotation cushion to sit on and if they do not swim I have them wear a life jacket. I have enough type 1 and 2 jackets for everyone, and I also have four type III (#3) jackets. I got the type 3 jackets because they looked nice…they are somewhat stylish (a lot better than a type 1 or 2), they are comfortable and can be worn continuously while on the water. These jackets are not for extended survival in the water. As I said, I bought them because they looked nice and what I saw on the label was: Coast Guard rated.

I had to work on the side of my boat in the water and for safety I put on a jacket so I did not have to work to stay up while I unplugged a through hull scupper drain. I was not impressed with how well the jacket worked. It did keep me afloat, but I have to say the cheap, ugly, type 2 jackets were much, much,much better. But I was stylish while I was in the water. *-)

A stylish life jacket that costs more may not be a good dollar value. If you are going offshore you really need a type 1 jacket.  Type 2 jackets are near shore buoyant vests, and the type 3 vests are what are called specialized jackets.

The other two types are type IV (#4) and these are throw-able devices and type V (#5) which include inflatable vests.

Like most people I thought if it cost more and it looked nice it was better. Most sales people do not know what the difference is and safety equipment helps increase there sale. I just want people to know that a Type III vest may not be the best vest for what they need a life vest for.



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