The United States Coast Guard has issued a final rule that removes the requirement for labeling Personal Flotation Devices (PFD) with type designations. Until now, PFDs have been classified and labeled by type to indicate their intended use. The type designation (I, II, III, IV, and V) was required to be included by the manufacturer on the labeling.
Citing public confusion and difficulties in law enforcement, PFDs labeled with type designation will no longer be part of carriage requirements.
Note that the carriage requirements of mariners for quantity of PFD still remains. Additionally, PFDs that are labeled do not have to be replaced, so long as they are in serviceable condition.
Though the term “lifejacket” is used in many public outreach documents, the Coast Guard prefers to use the term PFD in regulatory and standards language because it appropriately captures both wearable devices (e.g., lifejackets, buoyancy aids) and throwable devices (e.g., ring buoys, buoyant cushions).
This rule applies to 33 CFR Parts 175 and 181 and 46 CFR Parts 160 and 169.
Read the entire rule here: boatingmag.com/files/pfdrule.pdf.