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This article applies to selling in: United States

Selling personal flotation devices (PFDs) in the US

Important: If you sell products on Amazon, you must comply with all federal, state, and local laws and Amazon policies applicable to those products and product listings.

On this page, you will find:

  • What is a personal flotation device (PFD)?
  • Examples of PFDs
  • What is Amazon’s policy on selling PFDs in the United States?
  • What information do I need to provide to Amazon when requested?
  • What will happen if I do not follow Amazon’s policy on selling PFDs?
  • How do I request product removal from Amazon fulfillment centers?
  • Additional resources

What is a personal flotation device (PFD)?

A PFD is a piece of equipment designed to assist a person with remaining afloat in water. PFDs are a large category of items, which include life vests, boating vests, ring buoys, horseshoe buoys, and throwable cushions. The listing of all United States Coast Guard (USCG) Type I, II, III and IV personal flotation devices (PFDs) on the Amazon website must meet specified standards.

Life jacket: A life jacket is a sleeveless PFD and is best for all waters, open ocean, rough seas, or remote waterways where rescue may be slow to arrive. Commercial vessels and vessels carrying passengers must carry these live-saving devices. Life jackets may be Inherently Buoyant Type I PFDs, Inflatable Type I PFDs, or Hybrid Type PFDs. These are robust PFDs and are bright in color, but will also turn most unconscious wearers face-up in the water.

Near-shore buoyant vests: Near-shore buoyant vests are less bulky than life jackets and are suitable to be worn for general boating and water activities in calm, inland waters where a fast rescue is likely. These vests are Inherently Buoyant Type II PFDs, Inflatable Type II PFDs, and Hybrid Type II PFDs. While less bulky, these PFDs may not turn over unconscious wearers in the case of an emergency.

Flotation coats:Personal flotation aids, such as flotation coats, are garments providing both warmth and flotation assistance to the wearer. These are intended for general boating or specialized water activities (water skiing, hunting, fishing, kayaking, etc.) in calm, inland waters where a fast rescue is likely. These PFDs are Buoyant Type III PFDs, Inflatable Type III PFDs, and Hybrid Type III PFDs. These PFDs are not for use where a risk of unconsciousness may exist, and some wearers may have to tilt their heads back in order to stay buoyant.

Buoyant throwable personal flotation devices: This specific category of PFDs intended to be thrown to a conscious person in the water. A PFD marked as Type IV, or Type V with Type IV performance, is considered a throwable PFD. Unless specifically marked otherwise, a wearable PFD is not a throwable PDF. Buoyant throwable PFDs are made of a buoyant material (fibrous glass or plastic foam), and are often white, or brightly colored. These items may or may not be used with a lanyard, a "man-overboard" pole, locator light, or smoke signal. Buoyant throwable PFDs are intended to be held by the user until they are rescued.

Ring buoy: A throwable, ring-shaped, PFD used to keep a person afloat in water.

Horseshoe buoy: A throwable, U-shaped, PFD used to keep a person afloat in water.

Buoyant cushion: A throwable, square-shaped, PFD that is used to keep a person afloat in water.

Examples of PFDs:

USCG Type I Life Jacket

USCG Type II Buoyant Vest

USCG Type III Flotation Coat

USCG Type IV Ring Buoy

USCG Type IV Horseshoe Buoy

USCG Type IV Buoyant Cushion

What is Amazon’s policy on selling PFDs in the United States?

If you are selling PFDs, you may be asked to provide documents to confirm the safety and compliance of your products. Amazon requires documentation that indicates testing compliance with standards or regulations for each product you are applying to sell. USCG approval, which is incorporated into the UL standards below, is a requirement to sell PFDs on Amazon. Amazon may require these documents at any time so we recommend you have them easily accessible.

PFDs must meet the standard and regulation requirements listed below:

Product Regulation/Standard Requirements
Life jackets ANSI/UL 12402
Buoyant vests ANSI/UL 1177, 1517 or 1180
Buoyant cushions ANSI/UL 1175
Ring buoys and horseshoe buoys ANSI/UL 1123
Flotation coats UL 1123

What information do I need to provide to Amazon when requested?

Amazon’s policies require that PFDs sold through the Amazon store meet required safety and compliance standards. If you are contacted by Amazon, please submit the following information to

  1. Company name
  2. Seller ID
  3. Email address
  4. Phone number
  5. A list of ASINs you are applying to sell
  6. Product images for all ASINs you are applying to sell, which must include all relevant
    • Safety information
    • Compliance marking
    • Product hazard warnings
  7. Product instructions and/or manuals for all ASINs you are applying to sell
  8. Test reports from an ILAC ISO 17025 accredited laboratory confirming each product was tested to applicable requirements listed above

Some labs provide special Amazon rates for testing. A list of these Compliance Solutions providers is available here.

Note: Test reports must contain images of the tested products including packaging and warning labels. The images on the test reports must confirm the product(s) is (are) the same as the images provided on the detail page. You certify that all materials you submit are true, authentic, and accurate. Amazon may remove your selling privileges for failing to meet these safety requirements.

What will happen if I do not follow Amazon’s policy on selling PFDs?

If you do not provide the required information, Amazon may:

  • Cancel your listing
  • Suspend your listing privileges
  • Suppress your ASIN(s)
  • Withhold your funds
  • Pursue civil or criminal legal action

Amazon reserves the right to take any further actions that are necessary and to make judgements in its sole discretion about whether or not a listing is appropriate.

How do I request removal of my products from Amazon fulfillment centers?

To request a removal order, please go to the Remove Inventory Overview page.

Additional resources

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