What type of Lifejacket should be used in Flood Rescue work?


A U.S.C.G. approved Type V Swiftwater type with a minimum of 22 lbs. buoyancy is what we use for flood rescue work.

The PFD (personal Flotation Devices) types are going to change soon so refer back to the USCG recommendations to stay current.

We use Force6 Swiftwater types for our water rescue work. The issue is the type of flood rescue, is it standing water or moving water with currents and what is the MPH flow and what are the surrounding hazards.

Rescue Source sells these PFD’s. Their construction is good, buoyancy rating is good and we have enjoyed using their products for years and appreciate that they care about their end user.

The Recue Ops model has 2 colors offered on a black field, yellow and red highlights.

Force 6 Lifejacket


The PFD needs to be properly fitted, and sized with all the straps tied back. This ensures that they are not an entrapment or catch point.

It also depends upon how much gear is tagged onto the mole points for rigging.

Honestly all the floods we have worked we have the lifejackets for our Coxswains and Crew members but they have to be destroyed after the deployment due to contaminants in the water and absorption.

Flushing with a bleach solution degrades the construction material and buoyancy factors.

Also, when we work with survivors for transport we run out of lifejackets, when transporting we don’t always get them back. It is very difficult to have a proper size for every person’s body type we would need a trailer just for that!

Most of the survivors are not wearing PFD’s during evacuations and that can be worrisome if there are currents and depending upon the type of vessel being used.

I hope this helps you gain some wisdom regarding evidence-based real world and training experience using a lifejacket in flood rescue work!

Posted: July 17, 2019

Content Creator of Rescue Water Craft and Personal Water Craft boating international education standards: Shawn Alladio is the world’s foremost authority and leading subject matter expert. She cares most about her community and the culture surrounding the safety of event service providers and Rescue Water Craft operators, working hard and dedicated towards protecting their reputation, distributing safety information and continuing to train these amazing individuals to the highest standards of care.


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Use at your own risk. Please take a qualified Rescue Water Craft training course and maintain proper records and respect all the PWC, RWC, PPE, and gear OEM manufacturer warning labels and cautions.

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