When it comes to boating safety, a boat throw cushion is not intended to be seat padding or stowed away in a hatch but instead a life-saving device. Throw cushions are required on vessels operating in fresh and saltwater through Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. The device is readily available for purchase at marine retailers, online, and big box stores. Here is what you need to know about a boat throw cushion for your vessel.

What Is A Throw Cushion On A Boat

A throw cushion is a device used to aid in the rescue of victims who have fallen overboard. The proper Coast Guard terminology is a type IV throwable. The throwable is similar in appearance to that of a life ring positioned along the side of a pool. Some refer to the type IV throwable as a boat throw ring.

In the event a passenger is not wearing a life vest; throwable flotation devices allow the operator or other person on board to throw the device to aid in remaining afloat until they become rescued. 

Calling a throwable a cushion is not an accurate representation of its purpose. Throwables, in fact, should not be sat on. The device must remain in excellent condition to prevent the risk of losing its buoyant nature. 

Boat flotation cushions contain a buoyant foam center covered in quick-drying nylon. Two sides of the square center float include half circle rings connecting on the top and the bottom. The person overboard places the arms through the throwable while holding the device firm to the body in an emergency. 

What Qualifies As A Throwable Flotation Device

A type IV throwable cushion is required by Coast Guard regulation to provide a minimum buoyancy of 18 pounds. 

The square-shaped rescue aid must never be stowed away in compartments or other hidden areas on the vessel. When the throwable is improperly stowed and not easily accessible, areboat occupants are at risk. In the event of an emergency, the type IV must be at arm’s length to deploy over the side of the watercraft when necessary. 

Inspect the throwable regularly and replace it when the device shows wear, becomes flattened, or has been exposed to the elements for extended periods of time.

Manufacturers who produce type IV throwables must include a stamp in the area in which the arm loops connect. The stamp is a Coast Guard certification. Ensure that the throwable contains Coast Guard approval before completing the purchase.

Lastly, remember to prevent passengers from sitting on throwable boat cushions, stowing the device, or causing damage in any way, which will render the life-saving equipment less effective when a person falls overboard. 

How Do You Use A Boat Throw Cushion

Using a boat safety throw cushion is a simple process. However, it is essential to remain calm. Obviously, overboard situations are never expected and create panic among the operator, person overboard, and fellow passengers. 

Reacting To An Overboard Situation

When someone falls overboard, never lose sight of the victim. Grab a boat throwable flotation device and toss the cushion to the person who has fallen into the water. Make your best effort to place the device within arm’s length of the victim. 

Circling Back To The Overboard Victim

Make your best effort to reach the victim as quickly and safely as possible. However, it is essential to keep speed in check to prevent running the person over. Request a passenger to maintain a visual on the person overboard to avoid losing sight. 

Never position the boat upwind as you will not remain in control but rather steer into the wind with the engine running. Again ask for the assistance of passengers when bringing the person aboard from the water. Deploy the ladder, and aid the victim up the stairs and into the boat. 

Once the victim is back on board, ask the person if they are injured while physically inspecting them for cuts, bruises, or dislocations. When a risk of hypothermia is present, apply extra layers of clothing and return to the dock as soon as possible. 

What Are The Most Well Know Boat Throwable Cushions

When it comes to purchasing a throwable, check out these best Type IV options on the market.

Best Value Boat Throw Cushion

No matter the cost, the purpose of the throwable is to save lives. When it comes to value, we recommend this type IV.


Highest Quality Boat Throw Cushion

Despite the higher cost, this type IV throwable is designed to go the distance. Here is the highest quality type IV throwable on the market. 

Now You Know The Purpose Of A Boat Throw Cushion 

When it comes to saving lives, a boat throw cushion is essential. Remember, it is necessary to avoid stowing throwables beneath deck hatches to be readily available in an emergency. The Coast Guard required safety gear is low in cost and should be replaced when it begins to show wear. Understand how to react when a person falls before the unlikely situation occurs.