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This article applies to selling in: United States

Personal flotation devices (PFDs)

If you list products on our store, you must comply with all federal, state, local laws, and our policies applicable to those products and product listings, including this policy.

Personal flotation devices (PFDs) covered by this policy

A personal flotation device (PFD) is a piece of equipment designed to help a person remain afloat in water. PFDs are a large category of items that includes life vests, boating vests, ring buoys, horseshoe buoys, and throwable cushions. The listing of all United States Coast Guard off shore, near shore, flotation or buoyancy aid, and recreational throwable personal flotation devices on the Amazon website must meet specified standards.

Off-shore 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, inflatable, 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, inflatable, and hybrid PFDs. While less bulky, these PFDs will also turn most unconscious wearers face-up in the water in the case of an emergency.

Flotation aid or buoyancy aids: These are intended for general boating or specialized water activities (water skiing, hunting, fishing, kayaking, and so on) in calm, inland waters where a fast rescue is likely. These PFDs can be inherently buoyant, inflatable, or hybrid-type 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. These devices are activity-specific. Personal flotation aids, such as flotation coats, are garments that provide both warmth and flotation assistance to the wearer.

Buoyant throwable personal flotation devices: This specific category of PFDs is 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) or can be inflatable, 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 thrown to the user and then held until they are rescued.

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

Recreational horseshoe buoy: A throwable, U-shaped PFD that is 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.

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

Examples of personal flotation devices

Off-shore life jacket

Near-shore buoyant vests

Flotation aid or buoyancy aid (flotation vest)

Flotation aid or buoyancy aid (flotation coat)

Recreational ring buoy

Recreational horseshoe buoy

Throwable buoyant cushion

Our policy for personal flotation devices (PFDs)

Amazon requires that PFDs have been tested and meet the specific regulation or standard requirements listed below for all PFDs you list:

Product Regulation or Standard requirements
Off-shore life jackets USCG Approval Certificate OR SOLAS, 46CFR 160.055, ANSI/UL 1177, 1180
Near-shore buoyant vests USCG Approval Certificate OR ANSI/UL 1123, 1517 or 1180
Buoyant cushions USCG Approval Certificate OR ANSI/UL 1175
Recreational ring buoys and recreational horseshoe buoys USCG Approval Certificate OR ANSI/UL 1123
Flotation aid or buoyancy aid USCG Approval Certificate OR ANSI/UL 1123, 1517, 1180, 12402-5

Required information

We may request this information from you at any time so we recommend that you have it easily accessible:

  • Your company name (if applicable) and seller ID
  • Your contact information: email address and phone number
  • A list of all PFDs you list
  • Product images for all PFDs you list. Images must include all relevant:
    • Safety information
    • Compliance markings
    • Product hazard warnings
  • Any product instructions, or manuals for all PFDs products you list, or both
  • USCG Approval number, if applicable

Some labs provide special Amazon rates for testing. To find more information about these providers, visit Service Provider Network.

How to submit information?

If you are contacted by us for compliance documents, submit the information listed above to

Note: Test reports must contain images of the tested products including packaging, compliance markings, warning labels and, age grading, if applicable. The product images on the test reports must show that the product is the same when compared to the product images on the detail page.

Policy violations

If you do not provide the required information by the applicable deadline, we may:

  • Remove the relevant product listings
  • Suspend your ability to add new products, listing privileges, or both
  • Withhold any payments due to you
  • Pursue legal action

We reserve the right to take any further actions that may be necessary in our sole discretion.

Additional resources

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