Many children learning to swim have used arm supports or lifejacket at some time. With so many products on the market how do you know what to choose? Well to start it helps to have an understanding of the differences between swim assists vs personal flotation devices or PFDs. Just because they help you float does not mean they are the same, especially if you plan to use them while boating.

Swim assists do help you float but they will not keep you in an upright floating position. While they can easily be mistaken for lifejackets you should only use these as a swim training. Most have a warning label that reads “Swimming-Aid vest; use only under competent supervision; not to be used in boating.”

A Cost Guard approved PFD goes through testing that can take years to approved. One requirement is for the equipment to assist a wearer, who may be either conscious or unconscious, to keep afloat. Once approved the Coast Guard will assign the PFD a number beginning with 160 and a type such as I, II, III or V. Some manufactures produce both swim assist and PFDs so understanding the difference is important.

If you plan on boating or spending time in something other than a swimming pool, make sure to do your research to ensure you a purchasing the correct safety device. While you’re at it, make sure your boat is properly protected. Contact us today to review your boat owners insurance policy – 419-522-9892