® | Official Canadian Boating License

Inflatable PFDs

Inflatable PFD which can be worn when on a boat.Inflatable PFDs are not inherently buoyant and do not work unless they are inflated!

All inflatable PFDs approved in Canada are equipped with a tube. If the CO2 inflation mechanism does not work, simply inflate the tube by blowing into it. Time to inflate the PFD is quite short, but may seem long if you are not a very good swimmer.


Inflatable personal flotation devices come in two styles:

  • Vest types – can be inflated orally, manually (with a CO2 system) or automatically; and
  • Pouch types – can be orally inflated or manually inflated by pulling a toggle to activate a CO2 inflation system


Inflatable PFDs are NOT approved for:

  • Anyone under 16 years old;
  • Anyone who weighs less than 36.3 kg (80 lbs);
  • Use on any type of personal watercraft (i.e. jet ski etc); and
  • Use for white-water paddling activities.


Example of how a pouch inflatable PFD works when using on a boat.

REMEMBER: To be approved, the inflatable PFD must be worn on an open boat. If the boat is not open, you only need to wear it while you are on deck or in the cockpit.

Study Guide