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Course Outline

Tennessee 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.
  • In addition to the requirement for PFDs, one USCG–approved throwable (Type IV) device must be on board and immediately available on vessels 16 feet or longer (except canoes and kayaks).
  • To be acceptable, all PFDs must be worn and used in accordance with their USCG approval label.
  • Children 12 years of age and younger must wear a USCG–approved PFD at all times while on the open deck of a recreational vessel that is not anchored, moored, or aground.
  • A USCG–approved PFD must be worn by each person on board vessels being operated within specifically marked areas below dams.
  • Each person on board a PWC must wear a USCG–approved PFD.
  • Inflatable PFDs are not approved for PWC use, whitewater activities, or persons younger than 16. They are not recommended for non-swimmers. Make sure you check the USCG approval label for restrictions.
  • A ski belt may not be counted as one of the required PFDs on board your vessel. A ski belt may be worn while skiing, but an approved PFD for the skier must be on board the vessel.
  • All PFDs must be in good and serviceable condition and must be readily accessible. The PFDs must be 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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