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Course Outline

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

  • All vessels must carry one wearable USCG–approved life jacket for each person on board. Type V life jackets must be worn to be acceptable.
  • In addition to the above requirements, vessels 16 feet in length or longer (except canoes and kayaks) must have one USCG–approved throwable device on board and immediately available.
  • Children under the age of 13 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.
  • If a person chooses to wear a life jacket that is not USCG approved (when not specifically required), a properly fitting USCG–approved life jacket must be carried on board the vessel to meet the state and federal carriage requirements.
  • 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.
  • Paddleboarders must have a wearable life jacket on board. Children under the age of 13 must be wearing a life jacket.
  • 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.
Person fitting a PFD on a child
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