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PFDs (Personal Floatation Devices)

A PFD (Personal Floatation Device) is a mandatory requirement when kayaking in most waters around Australia - there are some states where the legislation does not mandate it but we recommend you always paddle with a PFD. The PFD you choose to wear can be a type 1, 2 or 3.

Studies show that wearing a PFD can increase your chances of survival greatly. The PFD alone is not going to save your life. A great understanding of weather interpretation, wearing the correct clothing, a good understanding of the basic essential strokes, self and assisted rescues is the key to enjoying water sports safely.

  • Always wear your life jacket
  • Let someone know before you go
  • Be aware of your own limitations / capabilities and those of your paddle buddy and the limitations of your kayak. Practise getting back on /in you craft.
  • Always check the weather forecast (from the BOM) and know how to interpret it for the on-water conditions of the area you are paddling
  • Carry your phone in a waterproof case (Aquapac)
  • Undertake training with a qualified instructor

Level 100+ (formerly PFD Type 1) - This is a recognised ‘life jacket’. A PFD type 1 will provide a high level of buoyancy and keeps the wearer in a safe floating position through the use of buoyancy behind the head. They are made in high visibility colours with reflective patches. 

Level 50 (PFD Type 2) - This is a buoyancy vest–not a life jacket. It will provide less buoyancy than a PFD type 1 but is sufficient to keep your head above water. Like a PFD type 1 they are manufactured in high visibility colours such as yellow and red. 

Level 50S (PFD Type 3) - This is a buoyancy garment – not a life jacket. They have similar buoyancy to a PFD type 2 but are manufactured in a wide variety of colours and are shaped or equipped for particular activities. 

We recommend a PFD Type 2 for the best combination of comfort, visibility and buoyancy on the water.

Additional safety equipment we recommended to attach to your PFD:

Check out our Blog and view our YouTube video for more information:


We are sometimes asked to compare PFD's for size & lightness. Here is a list so far - these are more intended for short paddles, recreational or ski paddling or packrafting rather than touring when you want to carry more safety gear in your PFD.

  Weight g Length cm Width cm
Vaikobi VXP (M) 630 39 40
Vaikobi V3 (M) 660 46 37
Palm Equipment Meander (ML) 545 41 36
Palm Equipment Hydro (ML) 850 40 38
Sea to Summit Fishing (multifit) 880 43 42