Welcome to Personal Flotation Device Manufacturers Association

Our Mission:

PFDMA is an industry association dedicated to increasing lifejacket wear in all appropriate activities: through education, product innovation, standards development, and enhancing communication between members and stakeholders.

Choose the Right PFD and Wear It

Most drownings occur way out at sea, right? Wrong! Nine out of 10 drownings occur in inland waters, most within a few feet of safety and involving boats less than 20 feet long. Most drowning victims had access to a Personal Flotation Device, but did not wear it. A wearable PFD can save your life – if you wear it!

Learn more by clicking here for our updated online brochure, "Facts About Life Jackets," or by ordering our "Be Smart, Be Safe" CD below.

Before you shove off, make sure everyone on board is wearing a PFD. To work best, lifejackets must be worn with all straps, zippers and ties fastened.

Did you know?

70% of all boating fatality accidents result from drowning.
Almost 90% of those who drown are not wearing a life jacket!

Life jacket, life vest, Personal Flotation Device (PFD) – whatever you call it, it only works if you wear it!

                                        Order your "Be Smart. Be Safe." CD

Be Smart. Be Safe. CD cover                            View the Facts About PFDs Pamphlet

How Many Lifejackets Do You Need?

The United States Coast Guard requires USCG-approved PFDs on all recreational boats. The number and type of lifejackets you’ll need depends on the number of passengers, the size and type of your boat, and your boating activities.

In addition to those set by the Coast Guard, individual states may have additional requirements for children and specific types of recreational activity. Please visit

YOU MUST HAVE one of the following wearable PFDs for each person on board:

  • Off-Shore Life Jacket (Type I PFD)
  • Near-Shore Buoyant Vest (Type II PFD)
  • Flotation Aid (Type III PFD)
  • Wearable Special Use Device (Type V PFD)

If your boat is 16 feet or longer (excluding canoes and kayaks), it must also have at least one of the following:

  • Throwable Flotation Device (Type IV PFD)
  • Throwable Special Use Decice (Type V PFD)

For example: If four people are on your 16-foot boat, you must have at least FIVE PFDs –  four wearable PFDs and one throwable PFD.


PFDMA’s Position on Mandatory Wear for Lifejackets:

The position of PFDMA on Mandatory Wear is neutrality, taking a stand neither for nor against Mandatory wear.  It is in the best interest of our organization to stay neutral.   We are in a no win situation if we take either side. One way we will be looked at as self-serving and the other as not caring about safety.

Formally adopted by the PFDMA Board of Directors and PFDMA membership June 28, 2011