The Coast Guard is dropping its Type I-V labeling system. This move is expected to lead to new life jacket designs and lessen confusion among recreational boaters. The plan is to drop the current life jacket type code scheme that has been used for years to label and differentiate the types of life jackets and their specific use.
These new standards will eventually simplify life jacket requirements for recreational boaters. The decision eliminates the Type I, II, III, IV or V label on a new life jacket label after Oct. 22. This coding tended to confuse boaters, limited choice and increase the cost of life jackets.
Boaters must still abide by the current standards when using older life jackets marked with the Type I-V labeling because they will remain legal for use.
More details are available at BoatUS.org/design.
~ Forespar Point of View Team