Type I PFD – These vests are geared for rough or remote waters where rescue may take awhile. They provide the most buoyancy, are excellent for flotation, and will turn most unconscious persons face up in the water.
Type II PFD – These vests are good for calm waters when quick rescue is likely. A Type II may not turn some unconscious wearers face up in the water.
Type III PFD – These vests or full-sleeved jackets are good for calm waters when quick rescue is likely. They are not recommended for rough waters since they will not turn most unconscious persons face up. To be acceptable, inflatable Type III devices must be worn.
Type IV PFD – These cushions and ring buoys are designed to be thrown tosomeone in trouble. Since a Type IV is not designed to be worn, it is neither for rough waters nor for persons who are unable to hold onto it.
TYPE V: These vests, deck suits, hybrid PFDs, and others are designed for specific activities such as windsurfing, kayaking, or water-skiing. To be acceptable, Type V PFDs must be used in accordance with their label.