Lash Tabs...Newbie question

I just ordered a simple NRS Vista PFD to replace the bulky non-kayaking PFD I had been using. I notice that nearly all paddling PFDs have a lash tab on them (some have one on the back too). What exactly are these for? Thanks for your patient-with-the-rookie responses.

Many uses are possible, Grasshopper.
The rear tabs are usually for attachment of an emergency strobe light for sea kayakers.

Front tabs are often used by whitewater boaters to attach a rescue knife. As to whether or not to wear your sheath knife on your chest, well, that is a touchy topic amongst boaters and a can generate much acrimony in a discussion thread.


How about a whistle? How do you attach things to a lash tab?

I don’t use the tab
I use a length of accessory cord that goes around the base of the shoulder strap and is sized to let the whistle hang out of the way, but will slide up to mouth level.


I keep
a knife on one and my watch on another

strobe light (only brought out for special occasions) goes on my shoulder strap where it would be out of the water if I were in the drink