I have recently taken up boating in addition to being a pilot, and that experience has given me a better understanding of marine life jackets, also called "personal floatation devices (PFDs)". For boats there are four different types of life jackets, Type I, II, III, and IV, with Type I being the best.

On my boat I typically wear an offshore inflatable life jacket which qualifies as a Type II and as backup I usually have a Type I sitting or hanging in the cabin where it can be easily reached. These are big, strong, bulky things. By comparison the "life jackets" I see stewardesses wear when they do the monotonous lecture at the beginning of the flight seem to be extremely small and flimsy. How do these things compare to marine life jackets?

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Marine inflatable on the left, airline inflatable on the right.


1 Answer 1


Source - Been a pilot for years. Sailboat liveaboard for 1 year.

Aviation life jackets are reliable, but the overall intent is for a rescue operation to occur within hours. One piece of advice is to stay away from debris.

Marine life jackets are designed to provide flotation for a longer amount of time. They are also more durable due to the material in which they are constructed from. Marine life jackets are also designed for multiple uses.


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