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Course Outline

Wisconsin law requires the following with respect to PFDs.

  • All vessels (including canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards) 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 vessels 16 feet or longer (except canoes and kayaks) and be immediately available.
  • Federal law requires children under the age of 13 to wear a USCG–approved PFD while underway in an open vessel on federally controlled waters. It is strongly recommended that children also wear PFDs while on state waters.
  • 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.
  • Sailboarders and windsurfers are exempt from PFD requirements but are encouraged to wear a PFD.
  • Every person on board a PWC must wear a USCG–approved Type I, II, III, or V PFD.
  • All PFDs must be in good and serviceable condition and 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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