Fit is paramount when selecting a PFD. Consider these other features next:
- Bright colors, especially orange and red, make you more visible in the water.
- Ventilated mesh panels on the back and sides make hot-weather boating more pleasant.
- Neoprene linings are more comfortable against skin, especially around the shoulders and neck.
- Lots of pockets are nice for lip balm, sunscreen, snacks, knife, survival kit, camera, sunglasses, etc.
- Inexpensive PFDs use eco-unfriendly PVC for buoyancy. Look instead for models with Gaia foam or other nontoxic alternatives.
- Some PFDs use kapok, a buoyant, waterresistant natural fiber that can be composted when the PFD is retired.
(Photograph by iStock.)