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Course Outline

Maryland law requires the following with respect to PFDs.

  • All vessels must have at least one USCG–approved wearable Type I, II, III, or V PFD for each person on board. High impact-rated PFDs are recommended.
  • In addition to the requirement for PFDs, one throwable Type IV USCG–approved device must be on board vessels 16 feet or longer.
  • Children under 13 years of age must wear a USCG–approved PFD while underway on a recreational vessel 21 feet or less in length, unless the vessel is moored or anchored or the child is below deck or in an enclosed cabin.
  • There are additional requirements for PFDs for children under 4 years of age.
  • Each person being towed behind a vessel on water skis, a surfboard, or similar device must wear a USCG–approved PFD. High-impact rated PFDs are recommended.
  • All persons on board a personal watercraft (PWC) or jetpack vessels must wear a USCG–approved Type I, II, III, or V PFD.
  • Inflatable PFDs must be worn in accordance with the label. Make sure to read the manual attached for more detailed wear instructions.
  • All PFDs must be in good and serviceable condition, readily acces­sible, and 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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