understanding PFD flotation guide

measurement wise i fit into a xs-s PFD. weight wise i was told i should be in a larger PFD. I still have to cinch in the straps on the size i have. If i get to big it will lift up over my head. a bit confusing. Not safe if it it rides up. The size i have still floats me. So am i ok then?


Essentially ALL Type III PFDs have the same amount of flotation - the minimum required by CG regs. 15.5 pounds.

Most paddling oriented PFDs are Type III.

Type V are “Rescue” vests.

There are the occasional “high flotation” Type III PFDs.


if it floats you
and stays on during rescues, and doesn’t float off during roll sessions, then you have achieved pfd nirvana.

Straps which are too long can be cut and the free ends singed w a lighter (if that was a concern, and it can be, if they get in the way).

Now if the straps are cinched all the way and it’s still too loose,that’s a diff prob entirely.

There are few true “XS” sized pfds out there. Kokatat brought the Aries out last season for example.

Most of them get lumped into XS/SM. Imo getting the chest sizes (min to max) is far more useful than size.

Thanks …But another question
does anyone know what UK flotation standards are?

50 Newtons


ask them (link)

They’ll have technical specs.

As you know the UK (as well as Canada, Australia, etc) will have different standards of required floatation. In the U.S. the USCG tests life vests to ensure that the ones sold here meet the standards for type.