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BoatUS clarifies life-jacket type code changes

After issuing a press release praising the Coast Guard’s decision to do away with the type code labels required on all U.S.-sold personal flotation devices, the recreational boater advocacy agency BoatUS is offering a clarification and some additional information about the change.

In its initial release on Tuesday, BoatUS discussed the Coast Guard’s decision to drop the current life jacket type code scheme, which has been used for years to label and differentiate the types of life jackets and their specific use.

“Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) supports this move,” BoatUS said in the new statement released Thursday. “We would like to provide some clarification and additional information to our original release.”

BoatUS then noted several key aspects of the transition:

• Type coding is being removed as a Coast Guard requirement as of Oct. 22. However, manufacturers will continue to use Type I-V coding until newer labels are designed and approved and new standards are adopted.

• Removing type coding is simply the first step in a multiyear process, which includes designing new labels and developing new ‘harmonized’ standards. Once that is accomplished, manufacturers will be able to get jackets approved under the new standards. It’s at that point that we’ll see life jackets without the current type coding on their labels.

• Our friends in the life-jacket manufacturing community further advise that 2017 is likely the earliest that they could potentially see any new life jacket standards on production lines.

• Current life jackets that have Type I-V coding on their labels will be legal to sell and wear for the useful life of the jacket.

Click here for the original release.