Best Kayak Fishing PFDs 2021 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

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1. Onyx Kayak 2. Salvs 3. NRS Chinook

Kayaking is a great outdoor activity that can be enjoyed with family and friends or even individually. And kayak fishing is another one such activity that you can enjoy. It can be fun and entertaining, yes, but one shouldn’t forget that safety can play an equally important role when you’re out there in the wild waters. And, what would be a better option than to wear a personal floating device (PFD) when you’re out fishing?

For beginner’s knowledge, PFDs are your personal floating devices that provide an extra layer of protection by wearing over your fishing vest. And, with such a wide range to choose from, it can actually be confusing to find the best kayak fishing PFD for yourself. There are many factors like the size, budget, buoyancies, weight and performance options to consider while selecting a PFD. How do you know that this PFD is just the one for you? It is always wise that you choose a PFD which fits your body while also being affordable for you to ensure that you have a good fishing trip.


Remember, a good PFD will save your life in an emergency and also provide you with comfort and support when you are out kayaking or kayak fishing. A good PFD will not only be your safety gear but will also double up as a fishing vest that offers just the right mix of safety and angler-friendly features which can only enhance your fishing expeditions. For your convenience, a few pointers have been listed below about the different types of PFDs and the best kayak fishing PFDs that may help to narrow down your search:

Types of Kayak Fishing PFDs

PFDs are usually available in various sizes and weights along with many other features which are angler friendly making them a must-have for any fisherman. But you should also be able to differentiate between the types of PFDs that can be found in the market.

Most of them are only meant for light recreational activities like boating and may not be able to handle the more aggressive action required for other outdoor activities, as it doesn’t give you much freedom of movement which you may need to paddle a kayak, go for kayak fishing or to even cast a rod. Hence, it is imperative that you be able to tell apart between the different types, some of which have been presented below:

  • Type I PFDs – These are the ones which are present on commercial vessels and are meant for extremely rough conditions where help may be slow to arrive. They offer you the best flotation possible, but are also very bulky and uncomfortable and not really meant for the general public.
  • Type II PFDs – These are available to the general public, but are only meant for near-shore boating where immediate rescue is possible. Like the type I PFD, these too offer you fairly good flotation, but are also quite bulky and may not be a good option for kayak fishing.
  • Type III PFDs – The ideal option for activities where chances of rescue are immediate and they provide you with large holes for your arms to keep the bulk of the flotation away, allowing you with the freedom of movement for casting and paddling.
  • Type IV PFDs – This is a classic example of life-preserving rings and acts more like a backup for the other PFDs. They aren’t generally required for kayaks.
  • Type V PFDs – Usually intended to be used as special life jackets designed only for certain specific activities. It would be wise to only use them for the activities for which they have been manufactured. If you wish to use it for kayak paddling or kayak fishing, make sure that it has been designed for that before using them without understanding their purposes.

Once you have zeroed in on the specific type that is required for your specific uses, you still have to decide the PFD or life jacket that you wish to purchase and which will be the correct choice for you. Seeing as how many options are available in the market, we have reviewed and researched a few to help you further.

Factors To Look For Before Purchasing the Best PDFs for Kayak Fishing

Now that you are confident about the various types of PFDs out there, certain factors must be kept in mind to make sure you choose the right one. It is important you do your research thoroughly before setting out to buy one to prevent any future inconvenience. PFDs should not only ensure your safety but should also be comfortable and fit just right. Factors to look forward to while buying one have been listed below:

1) Adjustment Belts

Adjustment belts are an important part of any fishing vest. Not only do they play a part in making sure that your fishing vest fits you perfectly, but they can also be customized according to your requirements and comfort. You can also strap your child’s jacket so that it can fit their small bodies.

It is vital to make sure that you have strapped in your adjustable belt perfectly because loose free flying jackets can be dangerous and do more harm than good. It will also not provide proper assistance if the jacket is not strapped in properly.

2) Coast-Guard Approved

Statistics and numbers may not always be dependable when you are purchasing your fishing vests. Even if you are impressed with a product’s features, you should always ensure that it is Coast-Guard approved. There may be many faulty life jackets, which can prove to be fatal in emergency situations and so it is advisable that you do your research.

Coast-Guard approved fishing vests, are not only safe, but they have successfully completed many tests to ensure that they are comfortable and the ultimate devices of safety in dire situations. If you are responsible for the safety of your loved ones as well, it would be an intelligent choice to go for approved life jackets.

3) Universal Size and Fit

You should ensure that the fishing life jacket that you are opting for should have a universal size and fit. It should be able to fit the various body shapes, sizes and physiques as snug as a glove and not cause any discomfort. If you are unsure about the size that you require, a universal size and fit is always a good option.

Before purchasing your PFD, it would be better if you consult a size chart. There are various sizes for every body shape and size. Life jackets from 28-32 inches are small; 32-36 inches are medium and 40-44 inches are large. Always check the size chart of every PFD before deciding to buy one.

4) User Age and Gender

The type of life jacket that you wish to purchase is also largely dependent upon the user’s age and gender. Even though small children do not usually go for kayak fishing, it will be wise to have a well fitting and secure life jacket handy for them as well.

Children usually weigh around 25-50 lbs and adults can weigh up to 100 lbs and above, that is why it is wise to shop according to the weight category. Fishing life vests are designed with different weight capacities and buoyancy to support the wearer.

5) Colors and Design

Though not be important as the other factors, it is still a relevant one. The previous bulky models with the monotonous orange color, have now been replaced with an uber cool range of colors. They are available in many color options and even camouflage prints are available which can help you blend with the environment.

It is all a matter of personal choice and so you can shop for any color that you see fit as you choose your PFDs for your next fishing trip.

6) Comfort

The PFD or fishing life jacket that you choose should be of comfortable fabric and the best should be breathable, allowing the perspiration to pass through. If you do not do your research, you might end up with a faulty product which may cause you discomfort and can be a problem for you when you are fishing.

Comfort should always be the top priority for any PFD that you purchase. Even in emergencies, if the life jacket you have on is not comfortable, it may not be able to provide you with proper assistance and may end up causing you harm.

7) Storage

Having multiple pockets is one of the main features of modern day life jackets. So it would be unwise if you missed out on this. Multiple pockets not only provide you with ample storage for all your fishing essentials but they also keep your utilities dry when you are fishing. They have been designed so as to hold small tackle boxes, reels and other such stuff to prevent distraction while fishing.

The current markets have a lot of choices which provide you with good storage. So you can have a wide variety of choices and opt for one which meets your requirements.

8) Durability

The materials used in the manufacturing of the PFDs play an important role in its safety and durability. Durable materials like nylon and neoprene provide you with comfort and are durable at the same time. They also keep water out and allow ventilation.

While your PFDs should be lightweight, they should also be sturdy enough to prevent wear and tear to ensure that the product can last you a long time. Durable PFDs are also very efficient during times of distress and can be of great service to you. They will keep you safe in strong waters and prevent any such problems, so you can fish or perform your activities in peace.

Top 16 Best Kayak Fishing PFDs 2021

1. Onyx Kayak Fishing Life Jacket

Onyx Kayak Fishing Life JacketThe ONYX kayak fishing life jacket is a good quality product at a great price. Designed with four different pocket designs, it holds in all your essential gears required for fishing so you can keep fishing at a stretch. It also features a set of fleece-lined zippered pockets which keeps your utilities dry. The flip out pockets provide you with ample storage space to keep your tackle box and fishing reels close to you while you are fishing. A lash tab holds your knife, whistle, and can also be used to keep your fishing tippet, sunscreen, sunglasses, etc.

The vest fabric is breathable and also allows you free movement without being a hassle and is also attached with six adjustment straps, which can be adjusted according to your requirements. There is also ample drainage to keep the jacket dry and the mesh allows perspiration through without stifling you. Available in many sizes and fits with the universal fit of 30″-52” chest.

According to customer reviews, it is one of the best kayak fishing PFDs available and that too at an affordable rate of under $150. It has been described as a USCG approved life preserver and is great for kayak fishing and other such recreational activities. There are larger sizes available for the big guys with unrestricted range of motion as well, so no one has to miss out on their fishing fun. You can definitely give this one a go!


2. Salvs Automatic/Manual Inflatable Life Jacket for Adults

Salvs AutomaticManual Inflatable Life Jacket for AdultsSALVS offers both automatic and manual inflatable life jackets for adults within a budget and can be used for many activities including kayak, kayak fishing, sailing, etc. This vest has been manufactured with quick-dry nylon and a comfortable fit which allows you maximum movement without causing any interference. It can be repacked and reused multiple times by reinstalling a new CO2 kit after every use and has extra thin nylon which will not feel constricting on your body.

It comes in various sizes, including extra large, and is available for both males and females. It also has a buoyancy rating of up to 350 lbs. The soft neoprene material neckline offers you comfort for an all-day wearing experience while keeping you cool in warm weather. It also features a set of adjustable straps, which you can adjust according to your needs and has reflectors on the airbag for greater visibility in darkness. Neoprene allows perspiration through and keeps the water out while fishing and the material itself is also wear and tear resistant and durable. Inflation can occur within a matter of seconds when you manually pull the cord or it can automatically inflate when immersed in water.

Customers have provided rave reviews about the product citing the quality and the fact that it is a great vest for under $100 and easily fits within a budget. The package also includes a whistle, reflection bands, cylinder, oral tube, SALVS inflation devices and a water sensitive automatic inflatable bobbin. SALVS makers have also provided the product with a lifetime warranty and it is sure to leave you a satisfied customer.


3. NRS Chinook Fishing PFD

NRS Chinook Fishing PFDThe NRS Chinook fishing PFD has been designed keeping anglers in mind, to provide them with a great product which enhances their fishing experience without causing any problems. With multiple pockets for your tackle, reel and fishing gear, this fishing vest is quite efficient at making you more effective on the water.

The vest features a wide range of components like 200 deniers urethane-coated ripstop nylon and mesh lower back for comfort and cooling, along with a Type III – medium profile, 16.5 lbs design flotation. Attached with 7 various sized pockets, zippered front entry and 8 adjustment strap points for the vest, safety and efficiency go hand-in-hand without compromising on the comfort factor. As if that is not enough, it also has a coil tool retractor, rod holder loops with multiple attached D-rings to keep your gear in place when you are catching a big one in the water!

With so many features available at such an affordable price, it is no wonder that consumers opt for it when they go kayak fishing or sailing. The back features have also been praised for its efficiency and utility. However, it does not provide you with reflective material and so it may not be of much help if you wish to go out fishing in the dark. But, overall it is a good product that you can certainly look up.


4. Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Paddle Sports Life Vest

Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Paddle Sports Life VestOnyx presents you a vest that conforms to fit your body like a glove with its mesh in-sculpted and flexible design and stays in place when you are on your kayak. The series has been created to provide you with the utmost freedom of mobility and flexibility during your fishing ventures.

Consisting of soft, lightweight flotation foam and solas grade reflective material, it is a step ahead of its competitors and is a good product at an affordable price. It comes with a whistle for safety and 200 denier nylon ripstop and nylon oxford which provides your body with proper ventilation and does not stifle you in the heat. The makers have included bubble foam on the inner back for extra added comfort and a drying loop on the back with expandable zippered pockets with mesh drainage. It certainly is one of the top life inflation jackets.

The vest may present a problem if you do not purchase it according to the kayak seat and may seem to fall short, causing a problem. It would be wise to read through what would best suit your kayak and you and shop accordingly. This product has been appreciated for the wide range of sizes that are available for both men and women. The life jacket buoyancy also provides a proper flotation device that is comfortable and light.


5. Eyson Slim Inflatable PFD

Eyson Slim Inflatable PFDThe stylish Eyson Slim PFD is an inflatable vest available for adults and is to be inflated manually for its usage. Available in a wide choice of colors and multiple sizes for any body shape and size, this vest conforms to your body and gives you the perfect fit. The package itself includes a whistle, 2 reflection bands, 1 cylinder, 1 oral tube and 1 Eyson inflation device and adjustable straps for your back which offers you support and makes you more efficient while fishing.

Eyson’s heavy-duty nylon fabric is soft and lightweight, while its mesh material allows ventilation while keeping the water out. The vest itself inflates within seconds when you manually pull the cord for emergency situations and provides you proper flotation. It is CE certificated and has SOLAS approved 3M reflectors, providing you with visibility for when you are out fishing in the dark. The product saves you money as it can be reused and repacked and is also washable and quite easy to dry.

According to its user reviews, it is a good product at an excellent price and does not constrict your movement and is quite comfortable when floating too. The quality is good and it manages to do what is required of it. It is also easy to manoeuvre your fishing poles with the vest on and makes for a great PFD.


6. Amairne-made Boat Buoyancy Life Jacket Camouflage – D22

Amairne-made Boat Buoyancy Life Jacket Camouflage - D22The armaine-made adult life jacket is another good product that you can opt for if you are into its camouflage print which blends you into your surrounding without being overtly flashy. It has been specially designed for buoyancy aid in sailing, kayak fishing and other such outdoor activities. Materials used in its manufacture include detachable EPE foam plastics, 600D MAX waterproof Terylene Oxford with a crotch-strap for the upper material to prevent the jacket from simply being pulled up or off.

It is waterproof with proper ventilation and adjustable straps for the front and back, with zippered pockets as well to keep your outdoor essentials dry and to provide you with the support you require while fishing without any inconvenience. However, the jacket would be better used if you weigh less than 240 lbs as it may not be a good fit if you are heavier, but is otherwise available in all universal sizes and can be a good product for under $100.

It has been reviewed to be a comfortable product and is easy to paddle in. Customers have mentioned that you may have to rig up the straps if you really want them to stay in place, but overall it is a good product for a great price. With the number of pockets it provides and the product being so lightweight, you should definitely give it a try!


7. Amairne-made Boat Buoyancy Life Jacket Vest – D11 Red

Amairne-made Boat Buoyancy Life Jacket Vest - D11 RedIf camouflage isn’t your thing and you would rather have a more colorful life jacket, then Amairne has provided a solution for that too with its other color ranges including red. The vest has been built with detachable EPE foam plastics with the upper material having 600D MAX waterproof Terylene Oxford and is well-ventilated and waterproof. It is durable, lightweight and wear and tear resistant with multiple pockets and adjustable straps that can help provide you with the support you need while fishing. Attached with a zippered front and a crotch-strap to prevent it from being pulled off, it is a custom fit for your body and does not restrict your body movement and allows you ample space to fish or go sailing or paddling freely. It is advised to purchase this vest if you are not heavier than 240 lbs, as the fit may not be as good and may cause you problems.

The vest itself is a good product within a budget and provides universal sizes and is comfortable for most outdoor activities. Consumers have commented on its comfortable and lightweight fit, which is exactly what they found with this life vest. The pockets provide you ample space to store your tackle box, reels and other gear, so you do not have to keep shifting to look for them and can fish or perform any activity without any hindrance.


8. Eyson Slim Inflatable PFD – Olive

Eyson Slim Inflatable PFD - OliveEyson brings you another great adult inflatable life jacket in olive color and a wide range of other colors which you can choose according to your preference. The olive vest can blend with your surroundings and comes with a lot of features that make it a top choice. It can be inflated automatically when immersed in water and can also be manually inflated within a matter of seconds by pulling the cord.

The vest has been built with waterproof polyester oxford neoprene which makes it lightweight and durable in the water and provides you with safety and comfort when you are out fishing. Reflectors on the airbag are provided to give you greater visibility in darkness. It has adjustable straps which you can adjust according to your needs and also quick release buckles which makes it easy to be taken on and off. The package includes a whistle, 2 reflection bands, 1 cylinder, 1 oral tube, 1 Eyson inflation devices and 1 water sensitive automatic inflatable bobbin for all-inclusive comfortable wear so that you can fish without shifting from your place.

Customers have appreciated the soft neoprene material which can be worn all day without any problems and is equally effective in emergency situations with its quick inflation. You can actually forget the fact that you are wearing a life vest because it is just so light and comfortable. The quality provided is nice and it can be repacked and reused multiple times, saving you a lot of money as well.


9. Slimerence Fly Fishing Vest Pack

Slimerence Fly Fishing Vest PackIf you are looking for an all-around product for boat sailing, kayaking, kayak fishing or other such activities, then this would exactly be the product for you. Slimerence brings a life jacket vest that is packed with features and is available in various sizes for both men and women. The vest itself has been built with nylon and EPE foam material which makes it comfortable and well-ventilated, not compromising on its durability and also being wear and tear resistant. With multiple pockets, zippered front and adjustable belt and straps, it has been designed to be the ideal companion when fishing and also to provide you with ample storage capacity to keep all your fishing gear essentials. Reflective night vision with the specially designed flashing belt can help you see better at night and has open sides placed conveniently to allow room for movement and flexibility to the wearer.

Aside from being waterproof, it is also lightweight and fits your body like a glove providing you with utmost comfort. Consumers have provided rave reviews about the usability of the product and how it is the perfect gift for someone who loves to go fishing or for outdoor water activities. They were happy with the pockets provided and its quick inflation technique making fishing an invaluable experience.


10. Stohlquist Waterware

Stohlquist Fisherman Personal Floatation DeviceOne of the top choices for the best kayak fishing PFD or life jacket available in the market right now! Stohlquist brings you the fishing vest that you have been searching for! The product has been built with nylon and has 500 denier Cordura shell and 200 denier oxford liner in the vest, which makes it lightweight and yet durable enough to prevent wear and tear.

With its neoprene padded shoulders and lower back waistband, it also has open sides which allow free flow of movement and ventilation, without compromising on your comfort. The vest can be used for a long time and can be hand washed and easily dried. Attached with multiple pockets to store your fishing gear and other minor utilities, it keeps them safe and dry and is truly an angler’s best friend.T he vest also features dual front-mounted tool pouch pockets with protective EVA stiffened outer shells to protect your valuables while you are busy fishing.

According to customer reviews, the vest is portable, comfortable and an important accessory while fishing. It also offers various sizes for any body shape or size and the design has been praised along with the multiple pockets, adjustable belts and straps it offers which you can adjust up or down according to your needs. It is overall a great product and if you are planning to go fishing with your buddies this weekend, then this should technically be your no.1 option!


11. Stearns Comfort Series Collared Angler Vest

Stearns Comfort Series Collared Angler VestAre you looking for an affordable fishing vest without having to compromise on style? Do you want something other than the plain fishing vests you find everywhere? No need to worry because Stearns has got you covered! With its PVC/PE flotation foam and stylish collared mesh neckline, it provides you with safety and ventilation, without you having to compromise on any aspects of your comfort. With a durable 200D nylon oxford shell,, a zippered front and adjustable belt and straps, it is a one-of-a-kind product. Attached with multiple pockets and great back support, it stores all your essentials while keeping you safe during an emergency and providing great buoyancy while floating. The mesh fabric also keeps the jacket breezy and cool in warm weathers and is sturdy enough to prevent wear and tear during its usage.

Consumers were impressed with the product’s comfort and functionality, calling it one of their most prized accessories for fishing. The product is great and provides you with plenty of room for adjustment and is a favourite for activities like sailing and kayak fishing. It can even be worn if you’re a big guy and has been designed keeping safety and your comfort in mind. Do check it out for yourself!


12. Mustang Survival Accel 100 High-speed Pfd

Mustang Survival Accel 100 High-speed PfdAs the name suggests, the Mustang Survival has been built for high-speed! It is ideal for outdoor activities like kayak, kayak fishing, paddling, sailing and many more such activities. The product itself has been tried and tested by professional anglers, to bring to you the best there is in personal flotation devices and a whole new level of quality and comfort.

Built with nylon and featuring a fleece lined collar, it ensures that the jacket is well-ventilated while keeping the water out. Attached with multiple pockets, zippered front and an adjustable belt, it provides you with ample space to store all your fishing necessities and also has open holes for arms to ensure the free flow of movement and flexibility. The product is the highest speed-rated one in the market right now and has a reduced ride-up when you are sitting in your kayak. Tested for 100 MPH dynamic strength-tested construction to be the ultimate in safety.

Apart from being one of the top-rated products in the world of PFD, it is also a highly recommended one! It is the all-around fishing vest for any season and provides you with the support and safety you require when fishing. A great vest at an amazing price, it has been appreciated for its perfect fit and can prove to be the perfect companion to you and a trusted device for the safety of your loved ones. A professional grade life jacket, it is available for all sizes and for both men and women.


13. Absolute Outdoor Onyx A/M-24 Inflatable Life Jacket

Absolute Outdoor Onyx A M-24 Inflatable Life JacketAbsolute Outdoor Onyx A/M-24 is an inflatable life jacket that you can opt for if you love fishing and water-based activities. The product has been described as U.S Coast Guard Approved Type V life jacket with Type III performance, which simply means that it has been designed for specific activities and provides you with great flotation for chances of immediate rescue and consists of large holes for arms to keep the bulk of the flotation away.

The product is durable and lightweight so you can hardly feel its presence when fishing, but is a great saviour in times of distress. With full throttle Onyx CO2, the automatic flotation vest provides a vast range of movement with minimum bulk and its slender design with soft neoprene neckline keeps you cool in warm weather. It inflates with manual movement of T-cord or automatically upon immersion in water and prevents wear and tear during usage.

The product is a great vest available under $150 and will make a great present for anyone who loves fishing and sailing. It has received positive reviews regarding its comfort, quality and is one of the top Onyx life jackets. The vest does not restrict movement and also comes included with a CO2 canister to help you get started. A choice that you can opt for in the market if you want a good, durable product. However, this product is not sold in Catalina Island.


14. Amairne-made Boat Buoyancy Life Jacket Vest – D13 – Yellow

Amairne-made Boat Buoyancy Life Jacket Vest - D13 - YellowAmairne-made life jacket vest in yellow color is another product in the Amairne series and is just as safe and trustworthy as its other counterparts. The product is built with EPE foam material and detachable foam plastics with its upper material made of 600D MAX waterproof Terylene Oxford which makes it lightweight and durable. It is available in universal sizes and provides you with proper ventilation which allows the sweat through but keeps the water out.

With multiple pockets, zippered front and an adjustable belt, it is easy to adjust according to your requirements and provides you with enough storage space for your essentials and other utilities. It also comes with a crotch-strap which prevents the jacket from simply being pulled up or off and is recommended mostly for people under 240 lbs for a better fit to your body. Aside from all the features mentioned, the vest also provides you with great back support and can be ideal for any water-based activities.

Customers seem to be highly satisfied with the product and have recommended it as a life jacket that you can spend your money on without any worries. The straps are very adjustable and its lightweight nature makes it perfect for kayaking and fits you like a glove without riding up. It is a comfortable wear and can clearly be an option for the great outdoors!


15. Astral – V – Eight Life Jacket PFD

Astral - V - Eight Life Jacket PFDA great product for under $150, the Astral – V – Eight makes for a good fishing vest that you can opt for yourself or your loved ones. Built in factories committed to sustainable business, they try to commit not only to the environment but also in making sure that the product lasts you a long time. It has been designed with PE and EVA foam inserts, with a buoyancy rating of 16 lbs and USCG Type III approval. It was made keeping athletes and comfort in mind. The vest can have multiple uses and is ideal for water-based activities like fishing, sailing, kayaking, etc. Attached with multiple zippered pockets and an adjustable belt, it stores most of your essentials and makes fishing convenient for you. The mesh provided at the back provides good ventilation and keeps you cool in warm weather and also provides good back support so you can perform your activities in peace without having to worry about the jacket riding up.

What the customers have loved most about this product is that it is durable and provides you with the support you seek when fishing, without any compromises on your comfort. Astral also chooses to put nature first and manufactures in a sustainable environment, so it does not pollute or endanger its surroundings. The vest itself is breathable and well constructed to provide a perfect custom fit for your body. It is also convenient for women and custom fits their bodies as well and is overall a top product.


16. Perception Kayak Hi-Fi Life Jacket

Perception Kayak Hi-Fi Life JacketThe Hi-Fi life jacket is just the high-back design that you have probably been looking for! If you are wondering why should you go for a high-back, then the answer is simple. If you have placed a backrest or a lawn chair your kayak, the high-back makes it simpler and easier to relax, as the other vests create problems when they overlap with the chairs, thus making it uncomfortable.

With a front zip design and two self-draining pockets, you can keep most of your fishing essentials with you and fish in peace without any worries. The vest is waterproof, durable and long lasting to prevent wear and tear during its usage. It also includes a mesh at the back which allows ventilation and an adjustable belt which can be adjusted accordingly. As if that is not enough, the vest also includes reflective piping and trim on the front, back and shoulders for improved visibility in the dark. It is U.S Coast Guard/UL Type III approved.

According to reviews provided by customers, the product is everything that a life jacket should be and ensures you hassle free fishing. The multiple pockets have especially been appreciated along with the custom fit that the life jacket provides. A customer favourite for sure!


The Differences Between A Life Jacket And A PFD

Though a life jacket and a PFD may seem similar in many ways, they have a number of differences between them. Most of the times, the terms are used interchangeably to describe each other or used in general. However, PFDs (Personal Floating Devices) and life jackets are NOT the same as has been explained below:

A life jacket is used to turn over an unconscious person lying face down on the water to face upwards, allowing him space to breathe. It is used only used in critical emergency situations when rescue may take some time and the person would remain afloat for some time till rescued.

On the other hand, PFDs are designed to keep a conscious person afloat in calm conditions. The chances of rescue are mostly immediate or early in these situations and are used for physical water-based activities.

Life jackets are designed to have more buoyancy than PFDs and most of the buoyant materials are attached to the front of the vest. This, however, tends to make the life jacket feel a bit bulky to the wearer and not allow much room for movement. The jackets have a better floating tendency when used in dire situations and will help you remain afloat in any situation until help arrives.

In comparison to life jackets, PFDs have lesser buoyancy. The flotation device is on the back of the vest which makes the PFDs less bulky and more comfortable in any situation. They usually have large open holes for arms to allow the bulk of the flotation through and makes it easier to float. It also allows more flexibility and room for body movements when floating.

Life jackets are only available in three colors – red, yellow and orange, which makes them stand out in the waters allowing the wearer to be quite easily spotted. It is also mandatory for them to come attached with a whistle, so when you are in trouble, you can always whistle for help. These features make them easy to be located in any situation.

PFD’s as mentioned above are available in a wide range of color choices. They can range from really colourful ones to camouflage ones as well if you want to blend in with your environment. People mostly opt for bright colors when purchasing PFDs which make them easier to be spotted in emergency situations. However, like life jackets, PFDs come in combination packages which include many items that can be of use to the angler, one of them being the whistle, which comes attached with the vest and can be used to whistle for help if you are in trouble.

A life jacket is usually the best choice if you or your child are not good swimmers or are unable to swim. It will give you the best possible chances of survival when you are stuck in a critical condition and will keep you afloat till you are rescued. The vest will also remain sturdy against the water and ensure better-floating chances for you.

PFDs have been designed keeping recreational activities and sports in mind. They are ideal for water-based physical activities like sailing, kayaking, kayak fishing, boating etc. They can be a good choice for you only if you are confident in the water and will not drown, should such a situation arise. They have been built for speed and also for early rescues. If you are planning short trips or activities as such, a PFD would be a better option. And if you are going for longer trips or cruises, it is always wise to keep a life jacket handy for any situation.

Water Safety Measures

Water safety is a major concern for when you are in the water or performing any activity. Without proper measures, you may be endangering not only yourself but others as well. Drowning is one of the leading causes of death if precautions are not taken. Some of the reasons may include:

Not wearing a life jacket or personal flotation devices (PFDs). Many people actually take this matter quite casually and end up paying a heavy price for it. It is the leading cause of death in recreational boating. Therefore, it is necessary to always wear a life jacket or PFD when you are in the water, even if you are a strong swimmer. Prevention is always better than cure.

Consumption of alcoholic beverages before going into the water is also another factor that should be avoided. Since you will be performing physical activities or going into the water, it would be wise to remain sober and aware of your surroundings to prevent unnecessary situations. If you have consumed any alcohol or other hallucinogens, it is better you wait till you are sober before heading out to the water.

You should avoid going to the water alone. Even if you are going boating or fishing, it is wise that there should be a second person with you in case there is a danger. People who ventured out alone and are not trained professionals, usually end up hurting themselves or may even get into fatal situations if there is no one around to help them or call for help.

Before heading out into the water, you should always be prepared and calm. It is always wise that you should know how to swim or train yourself to be prepared for any situation. Swimming will always be a bonus for you and will only help you get out of a dangerous situation faster. Most fishermen and anglers should know how to swim in case they lose their PFD or need to swim to shore for help.

Be aware of weather conditions and temperature. Make sure that you have all the safety equipment, clothing and gear required in case you capsize or come across an emergency. Not preparing well before any fishing trip will surely cause problems.

Never try to exceed the weight capacity of your boat or kayak. Overburdening the boat or kayak may lead to problems in the water and you might even drown if weight rules and boat capacity are not respected.

Learn how to paddle properly before heading out into the water and also learn a few safety measures which will keep you safe in case of emergencies. Carrying a safety kit at all times is a must for beginners and professionals alike.

When you go paddling in new areas, it would be wise to understand and study the region. Always plan an escape route in case of emergencies and check with the locals about the weather conditions, temperature, water currents and waves.

Following all these safety tips will only ensure that you have a fun and safe fishing experience. After thorough reviewing and research, the best kayak fishing PFDs and life vests have been listed to help you narrow down your search. If you keep the given knowledge in mind, it would be easier to shop for the PFD that you are looking for and which will meet all your requirements.

It would be advised that you do not purchase a PFD without first looking into its features, functionality and safety. A good PFD should be comfortable yet durable, lightweight yet strong. Always purchase a PFD that is coast-guard approved if you value your safety.

These approved PFDs have been tested and reviewed by professionals to bring you the most trusted and safety devices to make sure that you enjoy your fishing trip without having to worry about drowning in case you capsize. Once you have all the required knowledge, it becomes easier for you to sort through the PFD you need. Kayak fishing is a fun activity when you are wearing your PFD and can fish without any issues. Once you go through all the tips, you are sorted for a great weekend!

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Donald Patt

Donald Platt, our founder, is a fishing enthusiast who has almost 10 years of experience in fly fishing. While Donald works hard to put up the most informative articles, he still keeps his Sundays free for a quick fishing trip.

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