Recent Coast Guard inspections have uncovered more than 100 unwearable PFDs that are defective as a result of fused materials.

When donning the type of PFD shown below, you would typically grab the sides of the vest to pull it apart. Then the waistband strap moves freely through a slit opening (see photos 1 and 2).

The user is then able to place the PFD over the head, passing the strap around the body, clipping the end onto the securing D-ring, and tightening the strap.

Inspectors have found the securing strap secured at its bitter end and also fused to the side of the PFD by what appeared to be the shell coating or color-matching material (see photos 3 and 4). As a result, the halves of the PFD do not separate. Therefore, it cannot be worn.


Based on the number of problematic PFDs discovered so far, the Coast Guard is recommending that owners and operators inspect their PFDs and evaluate each one of this type. The Coast Guard would like owners and operators to report the status of ALL PFDs of this type (regardless of condition) to the Coast Guard Office of Design and Engineering Standards via email to [email protected]. Please include the name of manufacturer, design number, lot numbers, and quantity of PFDs impacted. Also indicate if the coating had been touched up at any time, and the total number of similar but unaffected PFDs onboard.

The Coast Guard is deliberately not indicating the manufacturer’s name until they can determine additional details and the scope of the potential problem. This alert is provided for informational purposes only and does not relieve any domestic or international safety, operational, or material requirements. Developed by USCG Sector New York Inspections Department and distributed by the Office of Investigations and Analysis. Questions may be sent to [email protected].

This article was originally published on and is republished here with permission.