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Fuente: Juan Díaz Vargas / Mundo Básico (Mexico)

Sunday 1 January 2017, by Imeru Alfonzo Hernandez

All the versions of this article: [English] [Español] [Português do Brasil]


This important flotation auxiliary garment, also called "life jacket" or "flotation vest" and defined by the Mexican Regulation and the US Coast Guard (USCG) as a Personal Flotation Device (DPF), which when placed through the arms and / or neck and fastened to the body by mechanical means allows anyone to keep afloat and face up, for a certain period.


The vests (DPF’s) are designed to provide a stable position facing up, to a person who is floating with the head tilted back.

Available in a variety of styles in different sizes so that they are well adjusted. They are designed to be used and complement any aquatic-sport, recreational, commercial or specialized work activities in a comfortable way.

There are in designs for calm waters, or where the chances of quick rescue are not good, which is why bright colors are used, which allow to be easily detected in the water.

Today, fabrics, ribbons and threads of synthetic fibers (nylon, polyester and polypropylene) repellent, waterproof and fire retardant (fire retardant); As floating material, artificial foams are used, and in hardware, nylon, acetal plastic, aluminum or stainless steel.

They can also have reflective tapes, high frequency whistles, lamps or strobes, and harness for rescue.


To explain the technical work performed by itself a vest (DPF), we show the following graphics.


The different devices are listed, as well as their characteristics.

Type I: To be used off-shore, open, turbulent or distant waters, where the rescue may take time to arrive, it must not be altered by the action of the hydrocarbons or their derivatives and be able to resist the exposure to fire and low temperatures. In Mexico certification is required, according to NOM-006-SCT4-2006 and the Maritime Safety Inspection Regulation.

It is used in international orange (Standard "SOLAS"), yellow or red (even in its fluorescent tones), its advantages are high flotation, leaving most users unconscious face up on the water. Its disadvantage is to be very bulky. Sizes in two sizes for children and adults.

Type II: Buoyant model or "yoke" to use on the coast, suitable for calm waters of land inside or where the chances of quick rescue are good. Like the Type-I, its manufacture is regulated by the same NOM-006-SCT4-2006.

Turns face up to some users in an unconscious state, on the water. Less bulky and more comfortable than Type-I. It should not be used for many hours in turbulent waters. Sizes, two sizes for children and adults.

Type-III: Appropriate clothing for calm groundwater inside or where the chances of quick rescue are very good. NOM-09-TUR-2002, indicates that its manufacture must be approved with the provisions of the United States Coast Guard (USCG).

It is usually the most comfortable type for continuous use, offers great freedom of movement for swimming, skiing on the water, sailing, fishing, banana rides, boating and kayaking and many other activities. It is obtained in varied styles and individual sizes, so that they use it from small children to adults.

It is very possible that the user has to tilt the head back to avoid being face down on the water. It is not for a long duration in turbulent waters and it is very likely that the user’s face will be covered by the waves.

Type-IV: Element to throw (hoop or frame), suitable to be used in calm waters of land inside, which have an intense boat traffic and where the help is always close. Its manufacture is regulated by NOM.

It serves as auxiliary help to the other DPF’s. They are not for people with loss of knowledge, or for people who can not swim or children.

Type-V: Device for use in situations or special conditions, where high buoyancy is required. Regulates it for tourist activities NOM-09-TUR-2002.

It is manufactured for specific activities (descent of rivers - rafting), they are of great capacity of flotation, suitable for continuous use, increasing the possibilities of rescue.

All its elements must be those used in the manufacture of Type-I, there are in juvenile and adult sizes.

To know the Minimum Flotation Tables, do click here.

The information published is not specific to Venezuela, so the rules may vary, it is advisable if you want to acquire one of these devices, go to the respective authorities in the country for a recommendation according to ISO standards.