Life Jacket Type Code Labels Removed


For years, the U.S. Coast Guard has required life jackets to adhere by a type code system — Type I, II, III, IV and V — meant to differentiate life jackets and their specific uses. Recently, in an effort to become more consumer-friendly, USCG dropped the labeling system, which went into effect on October 22.

“The boating safety community believes this move by the Coast Guard will help lead the way towards more comfortable and innovative life jacket designs, help boaters stay on the right side of the law, lower costs, and save lives,” says Chris Edmonton, BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety president and chairman of the National Safe Boating Council.

Edmonton says that removal of the coding system will create less confusion and simplify life jacket requirements for boaters.

Older life jackets marked with the Type I-IV labels will remain legal, and manufacturers will continue to use Type I-V coding until newer labels are designed and approved and new standards are adopted. Removal of type coding is the first step towards designing new labels and developing new, “harmonized” life jacket standards, according to BoatUS. 

A complete list of life jacket types and descriptions is available at

South Shore JUN17