Specific PFD Requirements
Vessel operators should ask everyone on their vessel to wear a PFD whenever on the water. PFDs can save lives, but only if they are worn!
- All vessels must carry one Type I, II, or III USCG–approved PFD for each person on board.
- All PFDs must be in good and serviceable condition and must be 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.
- In addition to the above requirements, vessels 16 ft. in length or longer must have one Type IV USCG–approved PFD on board and immediately accessible.
- Children under 12 years of age must wear a USCG–approved PFD at all times while underway in an open vessel or on an open deck of a vessel.
- Each person on board a personal watercraft must wear a USCG–approved PFD.
- Each person being towed behind a vessel must wear a USCG–approved PFD.
- A Type V PFD may be substituted for other required PFDs if the Type V PFD is approved for the type of vessel and the activity for which the PFD is being used.