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Iowa law requires the following with respect to personal flotation devices (life jackets):

  • All vessels must have at least one USCG–approved Type I, II, III, or V PFD (life jacket) for each person on board.
  • In addition to the above requirement, one Type IV (throwable) USCG–approved PFD must be on board vessels 16 feet or longer, except canoes or kayaks.
  • All PFDs must be in good and serviceable condition.
  • All PFDs must be readily accessible and of the proper size for the intended wearer. Sizing for PFDs is based on body weight and chest size.
  • 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 being towed behind a vessel on water skis, a surfboard, or similar device must wear a USCG–approved Type I, II, III, or V PFD. Inflatable PFDs are not approved for persons being towed.
  • Each person on board a personal watercraft (PWC) must wear a USCG–approved Type I, II, III, or V PFD. Inflatable PFDs are not approved for use on PWCs.
  • Windsurfers are not required to wear a life jacket.
  • Inflatable life jackets are not approved for use by persons under the age of 16.

Read and follow the label restrictions on all PFDs.