Sunday, September 24, 2023

SailGP News & Updates

Racing series for SailGP and their F50 foiling catamaran happens almost via monthly events. Watch live on Youtube or at website. Amazing to watch, support your team, gain a fun new sport to watch, and/or learn about sailboat racing/regattas. Visit

Team Emirates Great Britian has been killing it, as they have won the last two racing series in Saint-Tropez France and just this Sept 23-24 in Taranto Italy. Team Australia and USA were in the final with GBR, but none were able to finish the last race due to very light winds. Team USA is still struggling to climb the overall leader board, currently at 6th place out of 10 teams. Team USA this recent series squeaked out a 3rd place finish.

Next racing series takes place in Andalucia-Cadiz Spain Oct 14-15.

Final Day (Day 2) Racing Highlights...

What is SailGP?


Monday, July 10, 2023

PWC Explosion

We teach in our FunToSAIL sailing classes that boats, particularly powerboats can explode if one does not turn on the blower for 4 minutes minimum. A blower on a powerboat is a fan system designed to suck out fumes that accumulate in the bilge, enclosed areas, etc. There is the potential for a fire and/or explosion if the blower is not turned on for 4 minutes or more. Some boaters think it these explosions only happens large boats with lots of fuel. As noted in the case below that is not true. read on...

KOOTENAI COUNTY, ID. — A man was injured after a watercraft exploded on Lake Coeur d'Alene on Thursday, July 6.

The Kootenai County Sheriff's Office says law enforcement responded to Blackrock Marina in Rockford Bay for reports of a personal watercraft explosion.

KCSO says the preliminary investigation indicates that the operator of the watercraft was fueling it, and before pressing on the gas to accelerate, the watercraft exploded, throwing him into the water.

His daughter, who was on another watercraft, got into the water to help him before emergency personnel arrived.

The man was taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

"The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind operators of PWC’s to ventilate the engine compartment by removing the seat for a minimum of 4 minutes, prior to starting. This allows fumes to dissipate from the hull of the watercraft, and prevents combustion."

Saturday, July 1, 2023

4th of July

 Have an amazing

4th of July!

Hope you enjoy story of the Star Spangled Banner as most have never heard it, 
and two musical renditions of the Star Spangled Banner, 
which will reminds us all why this nation is so amazing.
(scroll down)!

Rock out to this amazing rock n roll version of the Star Spangle Banner.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

R2AK 2023


Team Bella Bella and Beyond (Stuart Sugden) and Team Sporting Chance (Scott Macdonald) just finished the race at 10:09am. They could have made it to the finish line late last night but chose instead to camp one more time. These 2 paddlers have been paddling together since day 3 of the race, they did not know each other before the race. I like the fact in the finishing video they called them the Final Winners as anyone that finishes this race is a winner, actually anyone that makes it to Victoria and beyond is a winner.

It has been incredible to watch these racers via the tracker and the few videos that came out. Doing this has certainly made me more excited to do the race next year as Team . I will start a new post thread showing my friend and I preparation for this race. So stay tuned.

Also, I will add to this R2AK post thread with videos and others news about the racers when the R2AK officials do so.

UPDATE 6-27-23

Team Toybox finished the race at 11:pm on 6-26-23 (last night while most of us were asleep). 2 solo paddlers remain and barring any incidents will arrive today. Let's cheer them on by going to the R2AK Facebook page.

UPDATE 6-26-23

All remaining boats in the race are now in Alaskan waters. Sea Smoke will finish today with the other 3 finishing likely tomorrow. The 3 remain boats are now clustered together.

UPDATE 6-25-23

I am back and a lot has happened in the R2AK since the last post. All but 4 boats remain. Team Sea Smoke aboard an solo 18' sea kayak (no sail) is just a few miles from the finish and the other three boats are not far from Alaskan waters.

Something I did not note previously as noted on the R2AK Facebook page "Ken Deem, aka Wave Forager, becomes the first solo rower finisher of Race To Alaska - (rowboat) rowing 22 hours straight his final day. AND he took home both of the Side Bets: The Oaracle Blister Prize for human-power teams and the Duckworks Under 20’ for small boats. Even worse, he seems like a genuinely nice person." He finished in 11th place, super impressive.

Team Solveig aboard their double rowboat with small sail that I have been following closely finished on 6-23-23, in 23th place. The other 3 boats Team Bella Bella & Beyond aboard a solo surf ski kayak and Team Sporting Chance aboard a solo sea kayak are in opens waters so no sleep tonight as it seems they are dedicated to finishing. They are sticking together, looking to finish together. Toybox aboard their Hobie Mirage Tandem Island/18' sail yak with pedal system is the furthest away from the finish but close to the other boats soon to enter Alaskan waters, also in open waters.

Out of the 29 boats that made it to Victoria CAN it looks like 18 will finish, I say looks like because in particular the 3 boats still have to make it to Alaskan waters, and anything can happen. I am rooting for them to have a safe remaining voyage into Ketchikan.

Sadly, the only Paddle Board in the race, Peter Allen from Vancouver CAN, Team Sup N Irish chose to exit the race a day after leaving Bella Bella CAN. Very impressive attempt.

The event officials have not posted much on their YouTube channel as so far almost all videos are on their Facebook page. When all the boats have finished and they have posted more videos we will post them here, so stay tuned.

UPDATE 6-18-23

Sorry to say we will not be able to do an update after today on the R2AK until this Sunday (6/25). Currently all the boats are progressing toward Alaska at a nice pace All except Lillians Vacation has made it to the Bella Bella check point. Team Toybox seemed to not be moving at all over the last 2 days but found out their tracker was not working, but now is. 2 sailboats remain to enter Alaskan waters, the rest of the boats behind these 2 sailboats are row/paddle only with a few including small sails.

Watch all the teams progress via the tracker and/or visit Race to Alaska ( website or visit their Facebook page . Again we will write an update this Sunday.

UPDATE 6-18-23

Just a quick update Solveig has moved up to 15th place out of 20 boats left in the race (who have finished or not) and Team Toybox aboard their Hobie Tandem Island seems to not be moving and is lagging way behind, and team Unsalted Nuts is now entering Alaskan waters. Team Wave Forager is still in first place in the muscle only watercraft category. So far no videos are being posted on YouTube, it's all being done live on Facebook at

UPDATE 6-18-23

6 More boats finished the race, with team Budgie Smugglers taking the much-

coveted Stake Knives (2nd place). Boats that have finished and are still in the race total 20 out of 29 boats. 2 boats currently are nearing Alaskan waters. Team Wave Forager, a solo kayaker just left the one check point of Bella Bella Canada. Impressive how well he is doing and in front of 2 sailboats. He is in first place of the muscle only powered craft.
Team Solveig from Boise Idaho is in 18th place and team Toybox 19th place aboard their Hobie Mirage Tandem Island. They are both now working their way to Bella Bella, likely getting their tomorrow (6/19/23). Team Lillian's Adventure (20th place, last place) a female rower who got a late start is impressively working who way north, is way behind but is steady working her way to Alaska.

Team Dogsmile members are now by home in Idaho, but their boat is still in Canada waiting to be transported and then fixed in Idaho. It was great that they are all arrived safe and sound. No word if they will try again next year.

See video and racing updates at Race 2 Alaska Facebook page at this link

And to all the men who have children from their loins or adopted, Happy Father's Day!

UPDATE 6-12-23

Just a quick update... All the boats in the race are now all moving north. The storm has finally passed. Team Budgie Smugglers is now in open waters nearing Alaska with a large lead over the 3rd place boat. Teams Toybox (Hobie Tandem Island) and Solveig (two-person rowboat with small sail) are finally on the move after a 2 day lay over waiting for the storm to pass. Check out the live tracker at this link...

UPDATE 6-12-23
I am saddened to report that Team Dogsmile had structural issues with their boat as they neared Alaska. They had to turn back to Bella Bella CAN. Sounds like they will not be re-entering the race. They were in 2nd place. I will give an update as soon as I get word how things are going for them.
Team We Break for Whales has won with a finish this morning in Ketchikan AK around 7:am, took them 5 days, 18 hours, 59 minutes. They had no break downs and actually baked to make some cookies, while others ate all kinds of condensed food. Seemed they had a pretty enjoyable journey but like all the teams they had to deal with very strong currents, strong wind, etc. Fabulous job Team We Break for Whales. See Team We Break for Whales finish video on Facebook at this link

Many of the teams have been anchored or on shore in various locations waiting out a storm with 40-50 knot winds. Snow was predicated, yes in June. The human only powered teams are still less than halfway to Alaska, most have been parked for 2 days. Team Budgie Smugglers from British Columbia, CAN aboard a Shaw 34 catamaran is now in 2nd place. There are 24 teams still in the race. The sole Idaho team from Boise is in 2nd to last place. More updates coming soon.

UPDATE 6-12-23

It's now the 6th day of the Race 2 Alaska and a lot has happened. Some teams have dropped out but others preserver on. This is a race of endurance on the body and mind, and boat. 

During the race there seemed to be 3 clusters of boats, a lead group, a mid-stretched out group, and a rear group primarily made up of human/muscle powered watercrafts. This seems to be the pattern throughout the race and continues today. The race started with 40 boats and is now down to 25, with sadly a few more I expect to drop out. I am following all the boats in the race but as noted on 6-6-23, I am particularly interested in the Idaho teams and the one team using a Hobie Tandem Island. Team Dogsmile from Idaho has been in first place then down to 6th place and is now at 2nd place. Team Solveig from Idaho has pretty much stayed in 20th place through much of the race.

The key of any endurance race is to stay consistent, just push on through whatever challenge comes your way. All the remaining teams have been examples of this. Some boats have had to stop for repairs, some with single or few crew members have had to stop to rest due to fatigue, and so on. The big challenge through most of the race have been dealing with vary strong currents.

With Dogsmile, when they were in 6th place I thought just stay on task as some boats may drop out in front of you or simply sail into no wind areas, etc. One team in 2nd place dropped out due to breakage, and several others anchored for a while to get much needed rest resulting in team Dogsmile moving up to 3rd place. Now that they are in more open water, they passed a monohull that had an advantage in the narrows, they could sail closer to the wind and tack quicker, but thpse advantage is gone and now Dogsmile can stretch their legs and hit higher speeds.

Team We Brake For Whales aboard a 40 foot custom built Lyman Morse monohull has been in the lead pack for the whole race and once they hit the narrows it was obvious, they had the advantage over the other boats with great overall performance and speed. They are the longest boat in the race and with length typically comes higher speeds. Not only do they have the performance, but all reports indicate they are very comfortable, with a note that they baked cookies versus the other teams living off of freeze-dried food. The more comfortable you are, the more enjoyable the trip, the more one's mind can handle the length of the trip/mental fatigue.

My prediction for the rest of the race is that team We Brake For Whales is going to win as they have an insurmountable lead and team Dogsmile will get those much-covenanted 2nd place prize, steak knives, as they have a pretty good lead over the boats behind them. Both of these teams have left the required and only check point at Bella Bella Canada. Two other teams have made it there around 7:am this morning. The human powered boats of Solveig (22nd) and Toybox (19th) are several DAYS away.

You can follow this race at and on Facebook at

UPDATE 6-6-23

The Race 2 Alaska (R2AK) 2023 started on June 5th at 5:00am. The first leg of this approximate 750-mile race starts from Port Townsend WA to Victoria BC (on Vancouver Island) is called the proving grounds, this approximate 35 miles San Juan Straits crossing is key to being in the race. If one does not finish this crossing in the allotted time, then one cannot continue on for the rest of the race ending in Ketchikan Alaska (the second leg... there on only two legs).

There are 40 teams in this year's race, well kind of as two did not start the race and one did not make it across the straights to Victoria. 32 teams made it to Victoria and the real good news is that team Dogsmile finished first aboard their fast F27 trimaran. I am particularly interested in the Idaho teams because I am from Idaho, there are two teams from Idaho. Our home Inland NW team of Dogsmile from Coeur d'Alene Idaho is doing amazing. They have a good chance of winning it. Team Solveig from Boise Idaho aboard a custom Faering rowboat with small sail was the 23rd boat to make it to Victoria. I am also interested in team Toybox Express (from Hamilton, Ontario, CA USA) because they are doing the trip aboard a Hobie Mirage Tandem Island, a boat I use a lot and one I have thought of doing the race on. It was great to see all these teams make it to Victoria.

Watch for updates in this article and visit Race 2 Alaska site at to track daily the racers progress. Videos coming soon.

In the 2024 R2AK myself and a friend (team will be racing aboard our Malbec18 sportboat.

Click on pics to enlarge

Saturday, June 17, 2023

SailGP Racing Results


SailGP first race for Season 4 took place in Chicago Illinois USA, New Zealand won this series over its close rival Australia (overall winner for 3 seasons) who took 2nd place, followed by Canada (3rd) with skipper Phil Robinson (not Canadian). Phil is one of my favorite sailors. Team USA like always struggled to be consistent finishing 9th overall out of 10 boats. I hope at some point Team USA can figure out what they are doing wrong.

Next top is Saint-Tropez France on September 9-10, 2023. 


Day 1 and 2 Highlights... Watch the full days of racing on their youtube channel at

- - Make a comment - -

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Kootenai County Sheriff Marine Report 345

Busy Weekend for Marine Deputies Early in the Season

Kootenai County, Idaho – With nicer weather occurring in Kootenai County, marine deputies have seen an increase of boats on the water for this time of year.  In May of 2022, there were zero charges issued for operating under the influence (OUI) of alcohol/other intoxicants, and six for the month of June 2022.  Thus far in 2023, marine deputies have charged 13 individuals (6 in May, 7 in June) with OUI.   One of the charges included a serious injury from a boat propeller to a passenger of a vessel.  The passenger was struck multiple times with the propeller after he entered the water to urinate while the vessel was making way.  This incident occurred on Saturday, June 10th, and sent the patient to Kootenai Health for serious injuries.  

The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind the public that while not illegal to consume an alcoholic beverage while operating a vessel, the .08 Blood/Breath Alcohol Content is easier to reach than on the roadway.  Environmental factors such as dehydration, food intake, and heat exposure can alter the process of alcohol entering and exiting the body.  The Sheriff’s Office would like to encourage operators of vessels to refrain from alcohol consumption while they are boating.  In 2021, Kootenai County had three boating related fatalities occur, with alcohol being a major contributing factor in all three.  Kootenai County issued 53 OUI charges in the past two boating seasons and is on track to surpass that this year.  

In addition to alcohol negatively effecting the boating community, inexperience and negligence also contribute to water related disasters.  At no time while the vessel is making way through the water should occupants be riding on the bow (front) or stern (rear) outside of the seating areas.  These acts are occurring daily and are unsafe as well as discouraged from boat manufacturers.   Violations of safety laws such as negligent operation and improper personal floatation devices (life jackets) will likely result in a citation as death is a likely result of continued unsafe practices.

Any boating or boating law related questions can be sent to as well is information on safety classes offered free of charge by the Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Robert B. Norris

By: Sergeant Ryan Miller

Contact: Lt. Zachary Sifford

Office: 208-446-2245

PIO Cell: 208-758-1045

Visit this link for media releases...

Monday, June 12, 2023

Soggy Tandem Island

I have indicated to some of my customers that the hatches on the Hobie Mirage Tandem Island (TI) can leak. Here is a great example of that truth with a TI that is currently in the Race 2 Alaska (2023).

How do you fix this issue. For most trips you will be fine but if you are getting waves over your boat consistently that is when it becomes a problem. To fix it, one puts oil or vacylinee on the seals to make the water bead up and reapply ever so often. Tyten the forward hatch bungee. One can also put an extra seal on the forward bow cover/hatch. See the video below for these and other additional fixes. 

As we see in this video the boat is totally full of water. The sailors indicate the boat did not sink due to the outer hulls buoyancy and mostly that is true, but there is also positive flotation in the center hull that should never be removed.

Watch the progress of this TI in the Race 2 Alaska by visiting this site and also visiting

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Memorial Day

I thought it was only fitting I supply you with this article about honoring those that have fallen in war to keep us free. See Article Below!

And I personally would like to thank those who USA military family members have paid the ultimate sacrifice to keep us free, not just in this country but also for the world. There is no greater love than to give your life for another!

May we all remember their sacrifices today and forever. Let us visit their graves, support gold star families, and help lift where we stand, in our communities. Let us always stand, put our hands over our hearts, and take off our hats for the national anthem. And let us remember to defend the US Constitution at all costs via voting for those who know and uphold it, and by getting involved in our local communities. To truly honor the fallen is to uphold that which they fought and died for.

And to add to this, today is to specifically day to remember our fallen US military members and no one else! See two events at the end of this page to attend to enhance us to remember.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day!

Skipper Miles Moore

MEMORIAL ARTICLE by the Navy SEAL who killed Usama bin Laden

Don't wish me a happy Memorial Day

Don’t wish me a happy Memorial Day. There is nothing happy about the loss of the brave men and women of our armed forces who died in combat defending America. Memorial Day is not a celebration.

Memorial Day is a time for reflection, pause, remembrance and thanksgiving for patriots who gave up their own lives to protect the lives and freedom of us all – including the freedom of generations long gone and generations yet unborn. We owe the fallen a debt so enormous that it can never be repaid.

Memorial Day is a time to honor the lives of those who would rather die than take a knee when our national anthem is played. But they will fight and die for the rights of those who kneel.

This holiday is a time to think of young lives cut short, of wives and husbands turned into widows and widowers, of children growing up without a father or mother, of parents burying their children.

Memorial Day is a time to think of might have beens that never were. Of brave Americans who put their country before themselves. Without these heroes, America would not be America.

Unfortunately, for many Americans this solemn holiday might as well be called Summer Day – marking the unofficial start of the season of barbecues, days at the beach, time spent on baseball fields and golf courses, hiking and enjoying the great the outdoors. All those things are great – we all appreciate them and they are some of the best things in life.

But Memorial Day is not Summer Day. Nor was the holiday created as a way to promote sales of cars, furniture or clothes.

Another Memorial Day brings with it a whole lot more than the start of summer. Since last Memorial Day, grass is now growing above the final resting places of many young men and women whose lives were taken too soon while defending our country in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and other far-off places many Americans have rarely heard of.

When Army Sgt. La David Johnson, Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Sgt. 1st Class Jeremiah Johnson and Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright were killed last October in an ISIS ambush in Niger, many Americans asked: We have troops in Niger? These unknown soldiers lost their lives protecting you – every one of you reading these words.   

Think about this: Millions of high-school seniors are walking across auditorium stages this season, receiving their diplomas. Most will go on to college or jobs, but some will choose a career of military service, joining the second generation of American warriors fighting in the Global War on Terror – a war that began with the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that took the lives of almost 3,000 people in our homeland.

Most of these new recruits – who were not even born or who were just infants when the 9/11 attacks took place – will make it home just fine. But some will not. I pray that I am wrong, but the sad truth is that the number of American war dead on Memorial Day in 2019 will be higher than it is on this Memorial Day.  

On Memorial Day, I salute my brothers and sisters-in-arms who have served beside me in War on Terror. My heart especially goes out to the families of those who did not return home. In fact, I think about all those who served and those who have given their lives fighting for America from our county’s earliest days in the Revolutionary War. They all have my gratitude.

We think we are strong, but in war any of us can be turned into just a memory in an instant. And war seems to have been the universal experience of just about every society on the planet at one time or another, for as long as there have been human societies.

How do we stop the wars resulting in such tragic waste of lives? How do we stop the number of American war dead and war dead in other nations from growing? I wish I knew the answer. But battle lines are being drawn and redrawn, and wars and terrorist attacks just keep going on and on. Weapons are getting bigger. Bombs are becoming smarter and more lives are being lost every day all over the world, leading to more death, more anger and more war.

Some are so loyal to their cause that they strap bombs on their bodies or fly passenger jets into buildings. They conduct beheadings. They set prisoners on fire. How do we find common ground with them? Do we even try to find common ground, or do we finally take the gloves off and start landing punches intended to take our enemy out for good?

I’ve been on over 400 Army combat missions and have seen more war than most Americans. More than I care to remember, but cannot forget. There is never a shortage of war. War spreads faster than fire and like fire it leaves destruction in its wake.

It hurts my heart as an American every time I see another service member’s body being brought home draped in an American flag. But it hurts my heart as a human being with every act of war we are all unleashing against each other around the world.

This Memorial Day, I urge all Americans to remember all the fallen sailors, soldiers, airmen, Marines and Coast Guard members who have so bravely served our country, as well as their families.

And I urge all Americans to join me in the hope and prayer that somehow, someday people around the world will focus more on our similarities than our differences and that we will move closer to a time when war is just a memory – part of our past but not our future.

Robert O'Neill is a Fox News contributor and ex-Navy SEAL best known as “the man who killed Usama bin Laden.” O'Neill joined the Navy in 1996 and deployed as a SEAL more than a dozen times, participating in more than 400 combat missions across four different theaters of war.

Hello everyone! I hope you all will find a Memorial Day ceremony in your area and go to it to honor our fallen Heroes. I know I will as I have family that have served and one son who is serving now in the Navy. We need to make this day more than a day to buy things and barbecue, etc. It should be a day of reverence.

Here below are two events in my area that honor our fallen Heroes.

Plus after noted events is an amazing article by the Navy Seal who killed Usama bin Laden. A very inspiring article by an American hero who teaches how to truly observe Memorial Day.


Kootenai County Memorial Day events:

• 9 a.m. Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 889 Memorial Day ceremony — McEuen Park, 420 E. Front St., Coeur d'Alene

• 9:30 a.m. Hayden Veterans Commission and U.S. Submarine Veterans Inc. wreath laying on Hayden Lake — Honeysuckle Beach, 2369 E. Honeysuckle Ave., Hayden

• 11 a.m. Marine Corps League Detachment 966 Memorial Day ceremony — Coeur d'Alene Memorial Gardens, 7315 N. Government Way, Coeur d'Alene

• 11 a.m. American Legion Post 143 Memorial Day ceremony — Evergreen Cemetery, 2834 N. Spokane St., Post Falls

• 11 a.m. Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 889 Memorial Day ceremony — Forest Cemetery, 1001 N. Government Way, Coeur d'Alene

• 11 a.m. Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3603 Memorial Day ceremony — Pleasant View Cemetery, 1298 S. Goldfinch Road, Post Falls

• 11 a.m. Hayden Veterans Commission Memorial Day ceremony — McIntire Family Park, 8930 N. Government Way, Hayden

• Noon, American Legion Post 154 and the city of Rathdrum Memorial Day ceremony — Pinegrove Cemetery, 6693 W. Highway 53, Rathdrum

• Noon, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1473 Memorial Day ceremony — Greenwood Cemetery, 400 10th Ave., Spirit Lake

Monday, May 8, 2023

2023 Life Jacket Changes

New Life Jacket Labels and Icons – What do they Mean?

Have you seen the new labeling on Life Jackets? Around 2022 Life Jacket manufacture's started producing Life Jackets with the new labeling (established April 17, 2019. See US Coast Guard notice). Large and small retailers are just now starting to carry these new labeled life jackets as they wanted to sell out their stock of older life jackets with the old Type I-V labeling (still legal). The new labeling is an effort to make selecting the right life jacket for you and your intended on-water activity, easier. This new labeling process is also referred to as life jacket label harmonization, which is an effort to make them more universally understood and accepted, especially in Canada and Europe (means you can use your USA life jackets there). The goal was to simplify the labels with less writing and more icons.

What Was the Old USCG Life Jacket/PFD Approval System?

The Old USCG Approval System divided Life Jacket/PFDs into Types: I, II, III, IV (not a life jacket, a throwable ring or cushion), and V. The Intended Use (Paddling, Sailing, General Boating, etc.) was added to the label printed on the inside of the Life Jacket/PFD. All models approved were only certified for use in the United States, U.S. territories and U.S. vessels at sea.

Top 10 Features and Goals of the New US Coast Guard approved Life Jacket Labels are as follows...

1. Performance summary graphic

2. Activity appropriateness icons

3. Legal requirements specified

4. Reduce language barriers

5. More universal acceptance

6. Harmony with other countries

7. Approval status clearly noted

8. Third party testing verification

9. Manufacturer contact information

10. Care and cleaning instructions

In general, the intent of the new labels is to help users select and care for the appropriate life jacket for the activity in which they are participating. The labels have fewer words more easily understood icons.

What About the Old Labels and Life Jackets?

In 2014, the U.S. Coast Guard removed the “Type” codes from the Code of Federal Regulations. As you may recall, life jackets/personal flotation devices had been referred to as Type I, II, III, IV and V, each of which corresponded to a certain performance or designated use. Going forward, these devices will be referred to as either “throwable” or “wearable” and have a performance category indicated by an icon.

Old Label

New life jackets that are brought to the market feature these new labels. However, it will take many years for the older style labels to be completely phased out and you are likely to see both styles in stores, on boats and in use for many years to come. Any life jacket with the old-style label that is still serviceable and in overall good shape, as long as it’s Coast Guard approved, will continue to meet regulatory requirements. However, these old TYPE life jackets may not be legal in other countries.

Take the Time Understand the New Label

Selecting a proper life jacket and wearing it is the best thing a boater can do to ensure a safe and enjoyable day on the water. A hang tag with important information accompanies each new life jacket. If shopping in a store, be sure you leaf through this hang tag or ask a store associate if you have any questions (some of these associates may not know or understand the labeling). If shopping online, read the full product description and reviews to ensure you’re purchasing the right life jacket for you. Taking a safe boating or other marina course should educate you enough about these new life jackets.

New life jackets feature information in four main categories, usually in separate boxes. At the top of the label, usually toward the neck, is sizing information. The sizing usually specifies a user weight range and chest size range. Proper fit is one of the most important considerations when selecting a life jacket. Additional considerations are found elsewhere on the life jacket label. The placement and location of the information may vary; however, they must be on the life jacket.

What the Labels Tell You

 Performance, Buoyancy and Turning Information (does it float you face up or not, etc)

 Warnings, Intended Activity and Limitations of Use

 Manufacturer, Certification and Approval Information

 Care and Maintenance Instructions

Understanding the New Label and Icons...

LEVEL 50: Intended for active watersports like water skiing and wakeboarding, these minimize bulk and restriction. They may also be used by dinghy sailors. Regulatory changes will have to be made in the U.S. and Canada for these to be legal, so their introduction appears to be many years off. They provide around 11.2 lbs of buoyancy. It is less buoyant than a Type III, very minimal buoyancy. Better to go with a 70. 

LEVEL 70: Very similar to an old Type III Life Jacket used for inland waters. Inherently buoyant, close-fitting, and available in a variety of designs tailored to different types of boating. 15.5 to 22.5 lbs of buoyancy. In the future, there may be inflatable versions of Level 70 devices, but this would require a change in federal regulations.

LEVEL 100: These vests will have greater buoyancy for rougher waters. They may be either inherently buoyant or inflatable. Around 22.4 lbs of buoyancy.

LEVEL 150: These vests will be similar to our current offshore inflatable life jackets and may have integral harnesses. Intended for rough waters where rescue may not be immediate. Will also have inherently buoyant versions. Around 33.7 lbf of buoyancy.

LEVEL 275 (not shown in above diagram, shown below): These inflatable life jackets will be for extreme conditions, especially when the wearer might be carrying gear that adversely affects his/her buoyancy (like tools). They are generally intended for commercial users.

Throwable Life Rings and other lifesaving throwable flotation devices are no longer called Type IV (4) Throwables but now are simply called "Throwables."

All these Life Jacket rating levels indicate Performance, Buoyancy and Turning Information – The thing you’ll notice is a bold-faced number. It could be 50, 70, 100, 150, or 275. These are measurements of gravitational force, which in the case of a life jacket is essentially buoyancy. Simply put, the higher the number, the greater the floatation. For the time being, most all of the life jackets on the market today in the United States are Level 70 life jackets.

Let’s go over an example.

Level 70 Label Decoding - The bold 70 means it’s a Level 70 life jacket which provides performance similar to the Type III life jackets previously available. Life jackets that are rated lower than 70 are not U.S. Coast Guard approved. This is a metric measurement in Newtons (70N is roughly 15 lbs. of floatation). Newtons are used so that it’s consistent with European and Canadian standards.

Also, on a Level 70 life jacket label, you’ll see a dock and an extended hand with some slightly wavy lines indicating fairly calm water. This means this life jacket is suitable for near shore use in relatively protected water where rescue is likely to be near at hand. You’ll note that the higher the number on these icons, the farther away the dock and background is, and the bigger the waves are in the icon.

The curved arrow indicates the turning ability of the life jacket. Turning ability is whether or not a life jacket is capable or designed to turn an unconscious person face up, unassisted. A Level 70 life jacket will not turn a person right side up, that’s what the curved arrow with a slash through it indicates. If there is no slash, it will turn most wearers face up. The higher the level number the more turning ability.

The next thing you’ll notice are warnings and exclusions. In this example, this life jacket is suitable for general boating. However, there are icons with activities and a slash through it. These symbols indicate this life jacket is not suitable for towed sports such as skiing and tubing, nor is it for personal watercraft operation or whitewater paddle sports. The exclamation mark in a triangle indicates a warning/alert/problem/issue. 

Some jurisdictions may have regulations about what device design is required.

Manufacturer and Certification Information

In the United States and on navigable waterways, a Coast Guard approved life jacket, properly fitted for the intended wearer must be aboard for each occupant. Therefore, knowing your life jacket is approved by the Coast Guard to meet carriage requirements is important. You’ll find this information, as well as testing approval numbers and manufacturer information in this section of the label.

Care and Maintenance Instructions

A life jacket should be viewed as an investment. You should care for it like you would anything else aboard that depends on proper function, with the exception this one could save your life! Your label and manual that came with your life jacket will have general cleaning and care instructions. These icons inform you to hand wash only, and to not use bleach, dry-cleaners, irons, or dryers in your care routine.

Life Jackets - Some Things to Know

 There must be at least one life jacket for each person aboard
 Life jackets must be properly sized for each person aboard
 Children under a certain age are required to wear their life jacket (typically under 13 – see state requirements)
 Participants engaged in certain water sports are required to wear a life jacket (typically skiing and personal watercraft operation – see state or counties regional requirements)
 Life jackets must be approved by the U.S. Coast Guard in order to meet requirements
 These life jackets must be readily accessible and not in an out-of-reach location or in original packaging if easily accessible.
 Any boat 16’ and longer (except canoes and kayaks) must carry a throwable PFD
 Throwable devices must be immediately available for use such as in the cockpit or near the helm
 An inflatable life jacket must be properly armed with an unused gas cylinder
 Inflatable life jackets are authorized for use on recreational boats by a person at least 16 years of age (not authorized for commercial use).
 Whistle/Sounding Device on a Life Jacket is not required in the United States navigable waterways but are of course highly recommended. Adding a small light and/or strobe light to a Life Jacket is also recommended.

Learn more about Life Jackets and other boating safety information at the US Coast Guard website...