How Much Buoyancy Do You Need?

Most adults only need an extra 7 to 12 pounds of buoyancy to keep their heads above water. Designed to keep you floating until help comes, a PFD can give that 'extra lift'. Because a lifejacket is a personal flotation device, getting the right one for you is important.

How much 'extra lift' you need in water is determined by body weight and fat, lung size, clothing and water conditions (rough or calm). In general, the more physically fit you are, the more 'lift' you need.

Read your lifejacket's label to be sure it is made for your weight and size. In the event of an emergency - DO NOT PANIC! Relax, put your head back and let your lifejacket help you come out on top.

More bouyancy means more lift

Type PFDs (Adult) Minimum Adult Inherent Buoyancy Minimum Inflatable Buoyancy
Type I 22 pounds 34 pounds
Type II 15.5 pounds 34 pounds
Type III 15.5 pounds 22.5 pounds
Type IV 16.5 pounds --
Type V 18 pounds --
Type I Hybrid 15.5 pounds (deflated) 32 pounds (fully inflated)
Type II & III Hybrid 10 pounds (deflated) 22 pounds (fully inflated)
Type V Hybrid 7.5 pounds (deflated) 22 pounds (fully inflated)
Type V Special-Use 15.5 to 22 pounds 22.5 to 34 pounds