Water Safety Experts to Outdoor Industry: Stop calling them PFDs

Friday, 06 December 2013

A collective group of water safety experts from Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand and the United Kingdom are calling on the outdoor industry to drop the term "PFD" in favour "lifejackets" when it comes to water safety education.

It's part of a list of guiding principles related to lifejacket promotion that were recently developed by several water safety organizations including Australian Recreational Boating Safety Committee, Royal National Lifeboat Institution (UK) and the Canadian Safe Boating Council. Here is the full list of the principles.

I think it's a really interesting idea and something I support for sure. Ask anybody on the street what that dapper guy above is wearing and after staring at his moustache, they will tell you it's a lifejacket.

Why would we want to confuse people by using the technical term PFD? Here is the thing; a PFD is just the name of a lifejacket that happens to be classified a specific way due to its design. Nobody cares and neither should we.

So here my challenge to you fellow canoe/sup/kayak instructor. Drop the term PFD from your lexicon and just call them lifejackets. You students will be happy and they won’t laugh at you when you accidently refer to them as a PDF.

Photo credit: cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by Andreas Nilsson

More info: lifejacketwear.com

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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