Personal Flotation Device

Similar Terms: PFD,PFDs

A safety vest or jacket capable of keeping an individual afloat.


In July 2010, the National Marine Safety Committee introduced the new Australian Standard, AS 4758 into recreational boat safety equipment. The new standard introduces the identification of PFDs by 'levels' as opposed to the old standard regulations of Types 1, 2 & 3.

PFDs made to AS 4758 now display these new levels:

  • Level 150: a new level of PFD and suitable for offshore use
  • Level 100: similiar to PFD Type 1 and the minimum requirement for offshore use
  • Level 50: similiar to PFD Type 2
  • Level 50S (Special Purpose): similiar to PFD Type 3
Level 150

Level 100

(Former PFD Type1)

Level 50

(Former PFD Type2)

Level 50S

(Former PFD Type3)


A Level 150 provides greater buoyancy support when a higher level of performance is needed.

  • Designed to keep you in a 'face up' floating position
  • Suitable for offshore and general boating in all water


A Level 100 and a PFD Type 1 are designed to keep you in a safe 'face up' floating position.

  • Mminimum requirement for offshore use.
  • They can be worn for general boating in all waters.

A Level 50 and a PFD Type 2 have less buoyancy than a PFD Type 1 or Level 100 and will not rotate you to a 'face up' floating position.

Normally used for sailing, waterskiing, kayaking, canoeing, wind surfing and on Personal Watercraft


Level 50S and PFD Type 3's have similiar buoyancy characteristics to the PFD Type 2 but are manufactured in a wider Range of colours and do not have buoyant shoulder straps.

Favoured by water skiers, >Wake boarders, kayakers and canoeists.

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