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New Hampshire law requires the following with respect to life jackets (PFDs):

  • All vessels must carry one wearable (Type I, II, III, or V) USCG–approved life jacket for each person on board. Type V life jackets must be worn to be acceptable.
  • All life jackets must be in good and serviceable condition and must be readily accessible. The life jackets must be of the proper size for the intended wearer. Sizing for life jackets is based on body weight and chest size and can be determined by the manufacturer’s label.
  • In addition to the above requirements, vessels 16 feet in length or longer (except canoes and kayaks) must have one Type IV USCG–approved throwable device on board and immediately available.
  • Children 12 years of age and younger must wear a USCG–approved life jacket at all times while underway on a vessel, unless the vessel is completely enclosed by railings at least three feet high and constructed such that a small child cannot fall through them. It is strongly recommended that children of all ages wear their life jackets.
  • The operator of a “ski craft” must wear a USCG–approved life jacket.
  • Each person being towed behind a vessel must wear a USCG–approved life jacket.
  • A person using a stand-up paddleboard must have a Type I, II, or III life jacket on board. New Hampshire law requires any person under the age of 13 to wear a life jacket.