Specific PFD Requirements
- All watercraft must have at least one Type I, II, III, or V personal flotation device that is USCG–approved and of the proper size for each person on board or being towed. Sizing for PFDs is based on body weight and/or chest size.
- All PFDs must be in good and serviceable condition and must be readily accessible.
- Children under 10 years of age must wear a
USCG–approved PFD when on board a boat that is underway
unless they are:
- In an enclosed cabin or below deck or…
- On an anchored boat that is being used as a platform for swimming or diving or…
- On board a charter (passenger) craft with a licensed captain.
- In addition to the above requirements, one Type IV USCG–approved throwable PFD must be on board boats 16 feet or longer (except canoes and kayaks) and immediately available in event of emergency.
- A U.S. Coast Guard–approved Type V device may be substituted for any other approved device if it meets the same requirements and is noted on the Type V device (e.g., “Equivalent to an approved Type III device”).
- Anyone riding a PWC must wear a PFD. Persons being towed behind a watercraft should also wear a PFD. Inflatable PFDs are not approved for these activities.