Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety, Security and Stewardship

Recent Coast Guard inspections of Type I Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) in both adult and child size, identified a potential hazard that could prevent proper donning in the event of an emergency.  The chest strap was threaded through the fixed “D” ring that the strap is intended to clip to when worn. 

It was discovered that several PFDs were assembled this way at the factory and, if not corrected, could create a hazardous condition during an emergency situation when donned.  Instead of the strap falling away, allowing the wearer to wrap it around him or her, the clip end of the strap could snag in the “D” ring preventing the wearer from getting it around their body.

Manufacturer, Models and Lot Numbers known to be affected:

Kent Adult Model 8830 (USCG Approval Number 160.055/184/0) in Lot 53W manufactured in October 2006;

Kent Child Model 8820 (USCG Approval Number 160.055/150/0) in Lot 012T manufactured in March 2008.

The Coast Guard strongly recommends that vessel owners and operators using the PFDs listed above, check each lifejacket for proper routing of the strap.  Completely unwrap the primary strap to ensure it is free and capable of being adjusted for any wearer.  The strap of the lifejacket must not be threaded through the fixed “D” ring. If routing is satisfactory, the strap may be wrapped around the life jacket and clipped to the fixed “D” ring for storage.  If the strap is incorrectly threaded through the fixed “D” ring, the snap hook assembly should be carefully removed from the strap, the strap pulled out of the fixed “D” ring, and the snap hook assembly re-attached.

Vessel owners and operators are also encouraged, as part of general preventative maintenance, to verify that all their PFDs are in fully serviceable condition with an inspection of the straps, components, fabric and flotation material.  Any significant deterioration in condition or poorly functioning hardware indicates a replacement is necessary.

Please contact the manufacturer representative at the address below if additional information is needed.

Kent Sporting Goods Co.
433 Park Avenue S.
New London, OH 44851
Mr. Wayne Walters
Phone: (706) 769-1682)
E-mail: WWalters@kentwatersports.com

Developed by the United States Coast Guard Headquarters Lifesaving and Fire Safety Division with assistance from the Office of Investigations and Analysis.  Questions may be addressed to Mr. Martin L. Jackson: Martin.L.Jackson@uscg.mil. or 202.372.1391.