Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)

While it is not required, our club encourages paddlers to wear a personal flotation device (PFD, e.g. a life jacket). If you do not have your own, you may borrow one of the basic orange PFDs which fits around the neck and ties around the torso. Also, six of these orange PFDs are kept in each canoe when we paddle in case they are needed.

The most popular brand of PFD among BOCC paddlers is Vaikobi. However, some paddlers also wear dragon boat style PFDs.

Although optional, wearing a PFD would definitely be good if you were ever in cold water. Here is a classic video of what happens to your body in cold water and how you can maximize your survival in that emergency situation.


Vaikobi is the most popular brand of personal flotation device (PFD) worn by our members. On its website, you can also purchase paddling clothing and accessories. Vaikobi PFDs are made specifically for paddlers: they allow you to have a wide range of motion so it doesn’t interfere with your stroke, and they do not ride up when you sit in the canoe.

If you would like to try on a Vaikobi PFD for sizing or fit, ask one of our members who wears one if he or she would let you try it on, or you can go to 101 Surf Sports; call ahead to see if they have any in stock.


Kialoa is a popular brand of paddles which many of our members have. Sometimes, this company offers discounts on blems, i.e. paddles with a slight imperfection on the decorative design which doesn’t impact the paddle’s actual structure. On its website, you can also purchase a personal seat cushion for the canoe, PFDs, and paddle bags & covers. If you paddle with us as a guest, you will probably use one of our adjustable paddles from Kialoa.