PFDs: USCG approved, or not?

-- Last Updated: Aug-12-16 1:12 PM EST --

I've noticed that the k-1 and surf ski world uses a few PFD models that do not meet USCG approval (although at least one meets the flotation standard). I've been considering one of these for the relative lack of coverage, for warm days.

Thoughts on whether your PFD needs to be USCG approved? (yes, I know if the USCG catches me they won't like it). Does anyone here use one of those non-approved models?

One of mine isnt
But it is approved by the Canadian Coast Guard

I use it in the US

You may or not know if your label is so faded as to be illegible it’s not approved by USCG either

Bet there are a number of those!

ha! I’ve got one
…that I’m looking to replace. Just not for that reason!

Federal law is interesting

Says nothing about USCG approval unless dealing with a child.

Michigan DNR needs to update its information as the USCG dropped the PFD types and now uses only “wearable” and “throwable.”,1607,7-153-10365_10884-37313–,00.html

Mine are USCG approved. Have never seen any nonapproved PFDs for sale. While the temps up here have been quite warm, it’s always cooler on the water and I’ve had no overheating problems wearing my Astral. Also always wear a long sleeved UPF 50+ rash guard.

We Use Them Exclusively
For they are far superior to any pfd that some Washington bureaucrat thinks appropriate.

We own and use the following: Mocke, Ocean Paddler and Vaikobi PFDs that are heavily used in international competition in both inland waters and heavy seas

Paddling is a popular world wide activity and the above PFDs are certified for use in their country of origin.

I’d recommend sticking to PFDs that have been tested, proven and worn by the top racers in very challenging weather and water conditions. This paddler from Maine did and is thankful that she wore her Australian Ocean Paddler PFD during the Na Pali Race on Kauai, where she was stranded miles off shore for four (4) hours, after she lost her surfski:


– Last Updated: Aug-12-16 9:02 PM EST –

Ah' waar a non-USCG, but Canadian approved high flootation vest. Keep dat thaar under yer hat...

Read a little closer
It says “WEARABLE” which if you click on you will find is defined as, “Wearable PFD means a PFD that is intended to be worn or otherwise attached to the body. A PFD marked as Type I, Type II, Type III, or Type V with Type (I, II or III) performance is considered a wearable PFD.” Those classifications are determined BY the CG.

If the pfd you are wearing is not LABELED as such, then it is not a CG approved pfd.

However, if you look further into the regulations you will find the EXEMPTIONS

These include “(b) Racing shells, rowing sculls, racing canoes, and racing kayaks are exempted from the requirements for carriage of any PFD required under § 175.15.” THIS is the answer to the OP’s question.

Racing is exempt from CG regs

“(b) Racing shells, rowing sculls, racing canoes, and racing kayaks are exempted from the requirements for carriage of any PFD required under § 175.15.”

I’ve Got A Few…
…that would not because they’ve been “Modified.” Since most PFD’s are made for kayakers most fit me like a bra, unlike the old SEDA’s Extrasports, etc. So my last few I’ve cut the shoulders and sewn in webbing to lengthen it. Fits me better and it won’t strangle me if I swim.

I should mention
I’m not planning on using one in a “race kayak”, just interested in the more minimal coverage. Was looking at the Vaikobi over the weekend.