The Handbook of Texas Boating Laws and Responsibilities
The Official Boating Handbook of the Texas Parks and Wildlife
Table of Contents
Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)
All vessels (including canoes, kayaks, and other paddlecraft) must have at least one Type I, II, III, or V (wearable) personal flotation device that is U.S. Coast Guard–approved for each person on board.
Texas law requires that all children under 13 years of age wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved Type I, II, III, or V (wearable) PFD while underway (not at anchor, moored, or aground) on any vessel less than 26 feet long, including canoes, kayaks, and other paddlecraft.
In addition to the above requirements, vessels 16 feet or longer (except canoes and kayaks) must have one Type IV (throwable) U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD on board that is readily accessible.
One Type V may be substituted for any other type if it is specifically approved by the U.S. Coast Guard for the activity at hand. Type V PFDs may not be substituted on children weighing less than 90 lbs.
Each person riding on or being towed behind a PWC must wear a U.S. Coast Guard–approved Type I, II, III, or V PFD.
Besides being USCG–approved, all PFDs must be:
- In good and serviceable condition.
- Readily accessible, which means you are able to put the PFD on quickly in an emergency.
- Of the proper size for the intended wearer. Sizing for PFDs is based on body weight and chest size.