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maritime DC & PPE Information Center

personnel protection

MK-1 Vest Type Life Preserver UPDATED (Feb 2013)



The MK-1 vest type auto inflatable life preserver consists of a cloth cover, an inflatable bladder, an auto inflation assembly, and flaps secured by hook and pile to cover the automatic inflation assembly and an oral inflation tube.  It provides a minimum of 24 pounds of buoyancy. It has a hole for the safety harness D-ring, pockets for the distress marker light, whistle, sea dye marker, Man Overboard Indicator, and a Velcro patch on the collar for attaching the distress marker light. It is designed to turn most unconscious wearers face up.  Portable crotch straps can be also attached to the waist belt of the life preserver to ensure the life preserver remains secured to the user.  The crotch straps are ONLY compatible with the MK-1 commercial life preservers made by Coleman/Stearns, Mustang Survival, and Eastern Switlik. See TIPS 013 through 022  for details on obtaining, attaching/removing the crotch straps and donning and maintaining the life preserver with crotch straps.

The MK-1 life preservers are made in seven colors to identify personnel functions.  The life preserver comes five different sizes (small, medium, large, X-large, and XX- large). 


The color designations for flight deck operations are as follows:

a. White - Phone talkers and medical corpsmen

b. Red - Ordnance men

c. Green - Catapult and arresting gear personnel

d. Blue - Plane pushers

e. Brown - Plane captains and mechanics

f. Yellow - Flight deck officers and plane directors

g. Purple - Fuel handlers



For more information, see the Index.