We specialize in one thing:  designing and building USCG approved life jackets for what we like to call “human powered boating.”  Canoe, Kayak, Raft, Sail or SUP – MTI makes a life vest for it. Founded in 1991 by Yoshi and Dorothy Takashina outside of Boston, MTI is still a family owned company based near historic Plymouth, Massachusetts.  Owners Lili and Gordon Colby met over 20 years ago working for Mad River Canoe in Vermont, and their passion for paddlesports and near-shore sailing still drives MTI product designs.

Gordon is MTI’s “Mr. Science” when it comes to PFD technology and designing innovative product that complies with stringent UL certification and US Coast Guard requirements. But using cutting edge design tools doesn’t stop there. Every MTI model is thoroughly tested in the water for proper buoyancy. That’s where Gordon’s wife and business partner, Lili, comes in. Together they have tipped over more canoes, kayaks, and sailboats than there are MTI models! (Fast fact: 33 for humans. 1 for dogs.) And not ones to stop at personal endorsement, their kids and employees have all played an important part in the MTI product development history. like you, we are people who love to canoe, kayak, SUP, sail, fish, and enjoy time on the water. Our design inspiration comes from what we experience ourselves. Our commitment to quality product and friendly reliable customer service comes from our core values as people who care about what we do.

We know that people have a choice when it comes to buying a life jacket. If the best life vest is the one you will wear, we want to make a PFD that you will choose to wear because it is comfortable, looks good, and is affordable. No one wants a good day on the water to end up badly.  Wear a Life Jacket for yourself and the ones you love.  We hope you will make it an MTI.

Life. Love. Life[Jackets]. MTI.

Lili & Gordon Colby

Chief PFDiva | President


9 thoughts on “About

  1. Keith Hockenbeck April 23, 2011 / 7:33 pm

    Are any of your men’s PFDs manufactured in USA? Which ones please, thanks!


    • mtiadventurewear April 25, 2011 / 6:47 pm

      Our jackets are manufactured by Takashina Life Preservers Company of Osaka, Japan. They are one of the world’s oldest life jacket manufacturers, founded in 1935, and is still owned and operated by the Takashina family. The modern factories are located in Shanghai, China and Hanoi, Vietnam, with customers both in the US, Europe, and Australia. MTI design work is all done here in Plympton, MA. Our product development “dynamic-duo” team- Jeff Muller and Gordon Colby – travel to the TK factories in Asia 4 to 5 times a year to work on existing production and future designs.


  2. anne desjardins May 12, 2011 / 12:57 pm

    Hi! I’ve been a touring kayaker for 12 years now and my pfd is really in need for replacement. I’ve heard of your great products and would like to get a kiwi Mona Lisa XXL (the one for the biggest girls…). The only problem is that I live an hour north of Montreal and can’t seem to find a dealer in my area. We spend 5 weeks in Cape Cod each fall for kayaking but I would need a new flotation device like… now!!! Can you help???
    anne desjardins


    • mtiadventurewear May 12, 2011 / 3:53 pm

      Hi Anne! Although our life jackets are only USCG approved and not CCG, I know that some paddlers up in Canada will wear an MTI jacket and then carry a CCG one “to be legal” in the boat. Mid-Canada Fiberglass (Scott Canoe/Impex Kayaks) in New Liskeard, Ontario does bring in MTI jackets for distribution in Canada, so you might want to start there to see if they can get you sorted out with a new Mona Lisa for “now”. (Hope it’s warmer north of Montreal… it’s still COLD here in Massachusetts. Our headquarters are not far from Cape Cod – where do you go on the Cape?)

      If Mid-Canada doesn’t work out, let us know and we could put you in touch with a US dealer who might be able to help you.

      Mid-Canada contact information: Tel: (705) 647-6549 info@scottcanoe.com

      Let them know that Lili the “PFDvia” sent you!

      Lili Colby


  3. Doug Peele November 22, 2011 / 9:24 pm

    I’m looking for a local dealer who has an MTI Cascade pfd in stock. Not having much success. The posting by Wesley Echols on his surfski website re: the Cascade caught my attention. What’s the retail price? I need an XL.

    Doug in Gig Harbor, Washington (The other one)


    • mtiadventurewear November 23, 2011 / 3:43 pm

      Hi Doug – Don’t know if Ship to Shore Marina and Kayak in Gig Harbor has a Cascade L/XL in stock, but we have it here in our warehouse so we could send one out to them for you to try. The owners are Bob and Jackie…. tell them that we will ship it to them for free if they reference the secret code “FENWAY” when they place the order. (That’s the name of our customer service manager’s dog, if you are wondering!)

      Let us know how it turns out! Happy Holidays

      The PFDiva


  4. Charles Koubek February 13, 2012 / 9:05 pm

    I would be interested in buying MTI Big Buoy PFD. I’m not sure what size I would need. I am located in Braintree, MA, and was wondering if there a place I can try this vest on for sizing before I order it. You manufacture XL and XXL. I am leaving next month for a 21-day white water rafting trip on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. I would like to try both vests on to determine which one will fit properly and would suit me best on a trip of this duration. I talked to people at REI and they said they can only order one size and I would need to buy it.


    • mtiadventurewear February 13, 2012 / 9:34 pm

      Hi Charles,
      The largest size for the Big Buoy is XL/XXL (one combined size, not two). It is a PERFECT vest for the Grand, and we have many happy customers who LOVE it for BIG WATER! (I did the Grand 20 years ago, so I am envious!) Our customer service manager, Joe, said that he got a call from from REI Hingham just this morning about the Big Buoy sizing… The PFDiva thinks that this was maybe you!?!

      I know it is hard to get to try on a specialized vest like the Big Buoy even at the best of times, no less during the middle of winter. But lucky for you, the MTI headquarters are located just down the road in PLYMPTON, 2 minutes off of Rt. 3 at exit 7, (HWY 44/Spring Street Exit). WE DO NOT SELL DIRECT, but we would be happy to have you come on down and try one on here. We have plenty in the warehouse. If you like it, we could then run the purchase through our friends as REI, or from any MTI dealer.

      If you want to do this, please call JOE LAGAMBINA to schedule an appointment. We are open Mon-Friday, 8:30-6:30.

      The PFDiva


  5. gratissex May 30, 2013 / 11:28 am

    I found this website very cool and I just wanna say thanks. I hope you keep up the great work!


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