Specific PFD Requirements
- All vessels (including canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards) must have at least one USCG–approved wearable Type I, II, III, or V personal flotation device (PFD) for each person on board.
- 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.
- In addition to the requirement for life jackets, one USCG–approved throwable Type IV PFD must be on board vessels 16 feet or longer (except canoes and kayaks) and be readily accessible.
- 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.
- 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.