Georgia Boater Education Course


CHAPTER 2: Boating Equipment


Like any piece of important equipment, your PFD needs to be kept in good condition for it to do its job.

Before heading out on the water, make sure to give your PFD a once over, checking for rips and tears, and that all straps and hardware are working properly.



Not only is it important for your safety, but a PFD in poor condition will not meet U.S. Coast Guard standards and could land you a hefty fine if you’re stopped by law enforcement.

So check your PFDs and replace them immediately if you see any rips, tears or other damage.

You can keep your PFD in good condition by following some easy maintenance tips.

  • Never use your PFD for anything other than what it was intended. That means, don’t use it as a cushion or a boat fender.
  • If you need to clean your PFD, hand wash it using a mild soap and running water. Never machine wash, dry clean or use strong detergents,
  • Always air-dry your PFD by leaving it in a well-ventilated space out of direct sunlight. Never dry your PFD by putting it close to a direct heat source.

Proper care of your PFD

Finally, test the buoyancy of your PFD on a regular basis. The easiest way to do this is simply to put it on and wade into shallow water. Then bend your knees and float on your back. If the PFD supports you easily in the water, you’re good to go.