Specific PFD Requirements
- 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 requirement for life jackets, one Type IV (throwable) USCG–approved PFD 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 under 21 feet 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) must wear a USCG–approved Type I, II, III, or V PFD.
- A person operating a sailboard or stand-up paddleboard may meet the PFD requirement by using other approved special-use flotation devices.
- 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.