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Course Outline

Maine law requires the following with respect to PFDs.

  • All watercraft, including canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards (SUPs), must have at least one USCG–approved wearable PFD for each person on board.
  • In addition, one USCG–approved throwable device must be on board watercraft 16 feet or longer (except canoes, kayaks, or SUPs).
  • Children 10 years of age or younger must wear a USCG–approved PFD at all times while on board a watercraft unless the watercraft is docked, anchored, or moored.
  • 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 watercraft to meet the state and federal carriage requirements.
  • The following persons must wear a USCG–approved PFD.
    • Each person on board a PWC must wear a PFD. (PFD cannot be of inflatable design.)
    • Anyone canoeing/kayaking on the Saco River between Hiram Dam and the Atlantic Ocean from January 1 to June 1 must wear a PFD.
    • Anyone on board a watercraft on the Penobscot River between the gorge and the head of Big Eddy must wear a PFD.
    • Anyone on board a watercraft on the Kennebec River between Harris Station and Turtle Island, at the foot of Black Brook Rapids must wear a PFD.
  • Anyone being towed behind a watercraft must wear a USCG–approved PFD, but it cannot be an inflatable PFD.
  • 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.
Person fitting a PFD on a child
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