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Course Outline

Rhode Island law requires the following with respect to PFDs.

  • All vessels must have at least one USCG–approved wearable PFD for each person on board.
  • In addition to the above requirement, one USCG–approved throwable device must be on board vessels 16 feet or longer.
  • Each person on board any paddlecraft, including canoes, kayaks, sailboards, kiteboards, and paddleboards, must wear a USCG–approved PFD at all times while underway regardless of age.
  • All PFDs must be in good and serviceable condition and readily accessible. Wearable PFDs must be of the proper size for the intended wearer. Sizing for PFDs is based on body weight and chest size.
  • Children under 13 years of age must wear a USCG–approved PFD while underway in a recreational vessel less than 65 feet in length unless below deck or in an enclosed cabin.
  • Each person being towed behind a vessel on water skis, a surfboard, or other device must wear a USCG–approved PFD.
  • Each person riding on a PWC must wear a USCG–approved PFD.
  • Inflatable PFDs are approved only for people 16 and older, and they are not to be worn on PWC or while water-skiing.
Person fitting a PFD on a child
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