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PFD type codes could change

The Coast Guard issued on Wednesday a notice of proposed rulemaking to remove references to type codes in its regulations on the carriage and labeling of Coast Guard-approved PFDs.

PFD type codes are unique to Coast Guard approval and are not well understood by the general public, according to the agency. The current PFD type code classification system is planned to be redesigned to focus on performance criteria rather than construction standards.

A new easy-to-understand label concept is intended to help both professional mariners and recreational boaters select the best device for their intended uses and routes.

Removal of the current PFD type codes from carriage and labeling requirements would assist future incorporation by reference of new industry consensus standards for PFD labeling that will more effectively convey safety information without the use of type codes, and is a step toward harmonization of Coast Guard regulations with PFD requirements in Canada and other countries.

The notice of proposed rulemaking and related materials can be reviewed at, Docket No. USCG-2013-0263.