Difference Between Life Jacket and PFD

Life Jacket vs PFD

Most people who know swimming never bother to wear a life jacket or a personal floating device when they are out boating or indulging in an adventure water sport. This can be the difference between life and death in some instances as people have found out. Many people confuse between a life jacket and a PFD because of the similarities between the two. There are people who even use the terms life jackets and PFD’s interchangeably. Despite similarities in looks, there are differences between a life jacket and a PFD that will be talked about in this article.


PFD is an acronym that stands for personal floating device. Many people remain confused between types of personal floating devices, but the most important thing is to remember to wear one when boating as unexpected immersion can lead to a serious accident that can even be life threatening. Even experienced swimmers have succumbed to the shock of immersion at times. A PFD, as the name suggests, is a floating device that is designed to keep a person’s head above water in the case of a mishap.

Life Jacket

Life jacket is a device that is designed to keep even an unconscious person’s head out of water to keep him floating and allowing him to breathe. For all people who do not know how to swim, it is necessary to wear a life jacket as this jacket saves people from immersion, should there be a mishap while boating. Life jackets keep the face of an individual up at all times, thus increasing his chances of survival in the case of unexpected immersion.

Life Jacket vs PFD (Personal Floating Device)

• A life jacket is bulkier than a PFD.

• A PFD is less buoyant than a life jacket.

• Confident swimmers can make do with a PFD.

• Those who do not know swimming or are weak swimmers must wear a life jacket when going for boating.

• A life jacket can keep the face of an individual out of water even when he is unconscious while it is not possible with a PFD that works when the person is conscious.

• Active water sports require PFD as participants know swimming.

• Life jacket is a type of PFD.