Skip to main content

Course Outline

Illinois law requires the following with respect to PFDs.

  • All vessels must have at least one USCG–approved wearable PFD for each person on board or being towed. All vessels 16 feet or longer, except canoes and kayaks, also must carry one USCG–approved throwable device.
  • No person may operate any watercraft unless an approved and appropriately sized wearable USCG–approved PFD is being worn by each person under the age of 13 on the deck of a watercraft or in an open watercraft at all times in which the watercraft is underway. However, this requirement shall not apply to persons who are enclosed in a cabin or below the top deck on a watercraft, on an anchored watercraft that is a platform for swimming or diving, or aboard a charter “passenger for hire” watercraft with a licensed captain.
  • If a person chooses to wear a PFD that is not USCG approved (when not specifically required), a properly fitting USCG–approved PFD must be carried on board the vessel to meet the state and federal carriage requirements.
  • A PWC or a specialty prop-craft may not be operated unless each person on board is wearing a USCG–approved PFD. (Inflatable PFDs are not approved for PWC or prop-craft use.)
  • All PFDs must be in good and serviceable condition and readily accessible. The PFDs must be of the proper size for the intended wearer. Sizing for PFDs is based on body weight and chest size.
Person fitting a PFD on a child
  • Unit 4 of 6
  • Topic 6 of 19
  • Page 2 of 8