The Handbook of Iowa Boating Laws and Responsibilities
The Official Boating Handbook of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Table of Contents
All vessels must have at least one USCG–approved Type I, II, III, or V life jacket for each person on board.
In addition to the above requirement, one USCG–approved throwable flotation device must be on board vessels 16 feet or longer except canoes or kayaks.
Children Must Wear Life Jackets: While underway on a recreational vessel on any Iowa waters, a child under 13 years old must wear a USCG–approved life jacket unless the child is below deck or in an enclosed cabin.
Each person on board a personal watercraft (PWC) or being towed behind a vessel on water skis, a surfboard, or similar device must wear a USCG–approved Type I, II, III, or V life jacket. Inflatable life jackets are not approved for persons on PWCs or being towed. Windsurfers are not required to wear a life jacket.
Life jackets must have a legible USCG approval tag and be:
- In good and serviceable condition. Life jackets must not have a torn or missing strap; punctured flotation bag; waterlogged flotation material; rotted material in straps, webbing, or cover; missing laces; missing hardware; torn or perforated envelope; torn stitching; or any other condition that impairs the operating efficiency. Inflatable life jackets must have operable gas cartridges.
- Readily accessible, which means you are able to put the life jacket on quickly in an emergency.
- Of the proper size for the intended wearer. Sizing for life jackets is based on body weight and chest size.
Note: Inflatable life jackets are not approved for use by persons under the age of 16.