According To Maryland Law, Who Must Wear A Uscgðapproved Personal Flotation Device?
Life Jackets for Kids – Effective April 1, 2010, Maryland law states that all children under the age of 13 must WEAR a United States Coast Guard approved Personal Flotation Device (life jacket – Type I, II, III or V) while underway on a recreational vessel under 21 feet in length on Maryland waters.
Who should wear personal flotation devices?
How Do Lifejackets Save Lives? –
By providing buoyancy if you unexpectedly find yourself in the water.By providing buoyancy if you purposely jump into the water to save someone else.By providing buoyancy when you are no longer able to keep yourself afloat due to fatigue, injury, or cold.By providing buoyancy if you are a weak or non-swimmer.
Lifejackets must be
the appropriate size for the intended user, appropriate for the intended activity, in good and serviceable condition, and Coast Guard approved to meet carriage requirements.
Size and Fit
Check the label for user weight and chest size.Different body types float differently.Try your lifejacket on in the water to ensure your airway is clear.A good fit is secure, comfortable, and adjustable.
Though not always required by law, a lifejacket should be worn at all times when the vessel is underway. A wearable lifejacket can save your life, but only when you wear it. Wearable lifejackets must be readily accessible. You must be able to put your lifejacket on in a reasonable amount of time in an emergency (vessel sinking, on fire, etc.). Lifejackets should not be stowed in plastic bags, in locked or closed compartments or have other gear stowed on top of them. Throwable devices must be immediately available for use.
Inflatable lifejackets may be more comfortable to wear. Inflatable lifejackets require the user to pay careful attention to the condition of the device. Inflatable lifejackets must have a full cylinder and all status indicators on the inflator must be green, or the device is NOT serviceable, and does NOT satisfy the requirement to carry lifejackets. Inflatable lifejackets are not appropriate for weak or non-swimmers.
Child Lifejacket Requirements:
Federal Law requires that when a vessel is underway, children under 13 years of age must wear their lifejacket.exceptions for when below deck or within an enclosed cabin. State laws may vary. Check with your state boating safety officials.
The Coast Guard recommends and many states require wearing lifejackets:
For water skiing and other towed activities (use a lifejacket marked for water skiing). While operating personal watercraft (PWC) (use a lifejacket marked for water skiing or PWC use). During white water boating activities. While sailboarding (under Federal law, sailboards are not “boats”).
If you are boating in an area under the jurisdiction of the Army Corps of Engineers, or a federal, state, or local park authority, other rules may apply. Personal Flotation Device (PFD) Design: There are four basic design types: Inherent, Inflatable, Hybrid, and Special Purpose. There are two main classes of PFDs.
Those which provide face up in-water support to the user regardless of physical conditions (lifejackets).Those which require the user to make swimming and other postural movements to position the user with the face out of the water (buoyancy aid).
Wearable PFDs are categorized by performance Type and/or performance Level.
Type I, II, III, VLevel 50, 70, 100, 150
The number in performance Level Devices (Level 70) indicates the minimum buoyancy of the device. Buoyancy of Level Devices is measured in Newton (N).70 Newtons equals 15.74 pounds of buoyancy. Performance Type Devices:
Type I – has the greatest required inherent buoyancy and turns most unconscious persons in the water from a face down position to a vertical and slightly backward position, therefore, greatly increasing one’s chance of survival.Type II – intended to turn some unconscious persons from a face down position in the water to a position where the wearer’s respiration is not impeded.Type III – intended to support a conscious person in the water in an upright position. This type of device is not required to turn an unconscious person in the water from a face-down position to a position where the wearer’s respiration is not impeded.Type V – is approved for restricted uses or activities such as boardsailing, or commercial white water rafting. These devices may not be suitable for other boating activities. The label indicates whether a particular design of Type V can be used in specific application, what restrictions or limitations apply, and its performance type.
Performance Level Devices:
Level 50 – intended for use by those who are competent swimmers and who are near to bank or shore, or who have help and a means of rescue close at hand. Level 70 – intended for use by those who have help or a means of rescues close at hand, or who are near bank or shore. These devices have minimal bulk, but cannot be expected to keep the user safe for a long period of time in disturbed water.Level 100 – intended or those who may have to wait for rescues, but are likely to do so in sheltered water. The device should not be used in rough water.Level 150 – intended for general application or for use with foul weather clothing. It will turn an unconscious person into a safe position and requires no subsequent action by the user to maintain this position.Level 275 – intended primarily for offshore use under extreme conditions.
Lifejackets are separated into four broad categories based on weight:
Adult – users with a weight greater than 88 lbs. Youth – users with a weight over 55 lbs. and less than or equal to 88 lbs.Child – users with a weight over 33 lbs. and less than or equal to 55 lbs.Infant – users with a weight less than or equal to 33 lbs.
Inherent – built-in flotation (always buoyant)
Adult, Youth, Child, and Infant sizes For swimmers & non-swimmers Wearable & throwable styles Some designed for water sportsusually filled with foam
|Wearable Size||Type/Level||Inherent Buoyancy (Foam)|
|Adult||I II & III V 70||22 lb.15.5 lb.15.5 to 22 lb.70 N|
|Youth||II & III V||11 lb.11 to 15.5 lb.|
|Child and Infant||II||7 lb.|
|Throwable: Cushion Ring Buoy||IV||20 lb.16.5 & 32 lb.|
Compact and comfortable Sizes only for adults Not recommended for weak or non-swimmers Often approved only when worn Some with the best in-water performance
|Wearable Size||Type||Inherent Buoyancy|
|Adult||I & II III V||34 lb.22.5 lb.22.5 to 34 lb.|
Hybrid (Foam & Inflation)
Reliable Adult, Youth, and Child sizes For swimmers & non-swimmers Some designed for water sports
|Wearable Size||Type/Level||Inherent Buoyancy||Inflated Total Buoyancy|
|Adult||II & III V 70||10 lb 7.5 lb.40 N||22 lb.22 lb.70 N|
|Youth||II & III V||9 lb 7.5 lb.||15 lb.15 lb.|
|Child||II||7 lb.||12 lb.|
Who is required to wear a personal flotation device on a PWC?
State Boating Laws
|State||Which persons in your state are required to wear a PFD and under what circumstances?||What are the penalties for violating PFD regulations in your state?|
|Alabama||1)all children under the age of 8 while onboard any vessel unless in an enclosed cabin or enclosed sleeping area regardless of whether the vessel is in operation 2)all persons on a vessel within 800 feet below a hydroelectric dam and/or navigation lock and dam 3) anyone operating or riding as a passenger on a pwc 4) anyone being towed on water skis, surfboard, dics, spinners, tubes or other similar devices.||referencing above, violation of 1)$100; violation of 2)$50; violation of 3)$25; violation of 4)$50|
|Alaska||Under 13 when in open boats or on open decks or when water skiing||$100 for under 13 violation $100 for type IV violation $100 for first PFD carriage violation and $50 for each additional person|
|American Samoa||All on board while boat is underway.||$1000 fine|
|Arizona||All children 12 years of age and younger must wear a U.S. Coast Guardâ€šÃ„Ã¬approved Type I, II, or III life jackets (PFDs) while underway on any vessel. The life jackets (PFDs) must be fastened according to the manufacturerâ€šÃ„Ã´s recommended use and must fit the child properly.|
|Arkansas||Anyone 12yrs old or younger must wear a PFD at all times. The only exception is when they are within the enclosed area of a houseboat or cruiser, or within the area enclosed by railings on a party barge, cruiser or houseboat – while the boat is NOT underway.||$100 to $250|
|California||Age 12 and younger on vessels less than 26 ft in length or in enclosed cabin or tethered to the mast fo a sailboat, All water-skiers and PWC operators, unless competing in sanctioned races or exhibition||Violations are infractions, with fine of not nore than $150|
|Colorado||persons aboard a PWC, water skiers or persons engaged in similar activities, children less than 13 YOA unless such child is below deck or in an enclosed cabin, persons participating in a regulated river trip provided by a river outfitter unless such river trip is on designated flatwater||$50.00, except for regulated river trips which have a minimum penalty of $100.00|
|Connecticut||All people under 12 years old except when below decks – anyone being towed behind a vessel – all people on pwc’s||Fine $75.|
|Delaware||all children 13 and younger||25 dollar fine|
|District of Columbia||When the operator of a vessel sixteen feet (16 ft.) or more in length is under eighteen (18) years of age, the operator and all other persons aboard the vessel who are under eighteen (18) years of age shall wear a Coast Guard approved personal floatation device of the proper size. All persons aboard any vessel in the area from the southernmost point of the cove commonly known as Fletcherâ€šÃ„Ã´s Cove in the Georgetown Channel of the Potomac River upstream to the District of Columbia boundary line at Little Falls shall wear a Coast Guard-approved personal floatation device at all times. No person may operate a recreational vessel underway with any child under thirteen years old aboard, unless each child is below the deck, in an enclosed cabin or wearing a US Coast Guard approved personal floatation device.||Criminal Citation for violation of DCRM 19, Chapter 10, Section 26. $50.00 fine|
|Florida||Children under 6 years of age must wear a USCG-approved Type I, II or III PFD at all times while on any vessel less than 26 feet in length that is underway. In addition, each person on board a PWC, and anyone being towed behind a vessel must wear a USCG-approved PFD.||Non-criminal infraction, with a $50 – $80 fine, depending on the county where the violation occurs.|
|Georgia||Children under 10 in an open vessel. All person in a designated Hazardous Area.||Misdemeanor|
|Guam||None||Up to the court|
|Hawaii||all children under the age of thirteen are required to wear a properly fitted personal flotation device whenever the vessel is underway on the ocean waters or navigable streams of the state or when moored or anchored offshore in a non-designated offshore mooring area, unless the children are below decks or in an enclosed cabin.||Â¬ÃŸ200-14 Violation of rules; penalty. (a) Any person who violates any rule adopted by the department under this part or who violates this part, shall be fined not more than $1,000 or less than $50 for each violation, and any vessel, the agents; owner, or crew of which violate the rules of the department or this part, shall be fined not more than $1,000 or less than $50 for each violation; provided that in addition to or as a condition to the suspension of the fines and penalties, the court may deprive the offender of the privilege of operating or mooring any vessel in state waters for a period of not more than thirty days. General administrative penalties. (a) Except as otherwise provided by law, the board is authorized to set, charge, and collect administrative fines and to recover administrative fees and costs, including attorney’s fees and costs, or bring legal action to recover administrative fines and fees and costs, including attorney’s fees and costs, or payment for damages or for the cost to correct damages resulting from a violation of subtitle 8 of title 12 or any rule adopted thereunder. Each day or instance of violation shall constitute a separate offense. (1) For a first violation or a violation beyond five years of a previous violation, a fine of not more than $5,000; (2) For a second violation within five years of a previous violation, by a fine of not more than $10,000; and: (3) For a third or subsequent violation within five years of the last violation, by a fine of not more than $15,000.|
|Idaho||Youths aged 14 and younger on boats greater than 19 feet while underway.||$84 infraction|
|Illinois||Persons riding on PWC’s must wear and children under 13 years of age must wear while boat is under way.||Petty Offense ($75.00)no more than $1,000.00.|
|Indiana||Anyone operating, on or being towed by a PWC and anyone under the age of 13 yrs on waters of concurrent jurisdiction.||Class C Infraction Maximum $500.00 fine|
|Iowa||Those persons being towed on waterskis, surfboards or similar devices and operators and passengers on PWC’s.||Simple misdemeanor. Fines=$ 20.00 and costs =$56.40 for a total of $ 76.40.|
|Kansas||any child under the age of 13 while on board a vessel||Class C misdemeanor fine amount between 0 and 500 dollars set by the court|
|Kentucky||All persons under the age of 12 years in an open boat or on an open deck of a vessel being used for recreational purposes while the vessel is underway.||$50.00 plus court costs|
|Louisiana||right now 13 years and under||Criminal|
|Maine||Children 10 years of age and under. Anyone operating or riding on a PWC. Any person being towed on water-skies. Certain whitewater areas. Canoeing or kayaking on the Saco River between January 1st and June 1st between the Hiram Dam and the Atlantic Ocean.||Civil Violation $100 fine|
|Maryland||All children under the age of 7 must wear a pfd while on a recreational vessel under 21′ in lenght while underway. This requirement does not apply when the vessel is moored,anchored or in an enclosed cabin or below deck.||Fines, which rise with every additional pfd not on board a vessel|
|Massachusetts||All PWC users All waterskiiers (persons being towed) Youths less than 12 yoa,when above board Canoeists/kyakers from mid-September thru mid-May.||$50 fine.|
|Michigan||All vessels must be equipped with a personal flotation device for each person on board. The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) requires that all vessels have at least one Type I, II, or III personal flotation device that is USCGâ€šÃ„Ã®approved, wearable, and of the proper size for each person on board. Sizing for PFDs is based on body weight and chest size. Michigan’s PFD law permits a vessel that is less than 16 feet long, or is a canoe or kayak, to choose to have either a wearable PFD (Type I, II, or III) or a throwable PFD (Type IV) for each person on board. In addition to the above requirements, one Type IV USCGâ€šÃ„Ã®approved PFD must be on board vessels 16 feet or longer and readily accessible. Michigan law requires all children under 6 years of age to wear a USCGâ€šÃ„Ã®approved Type I or II PFD when riding on the open deck of any vessel. Each person riding on or towed behind a PWC must wear a U.S. Coast Guardâ€šÃ„Ã®approved Type I, II, or III personal flotation device. Inflatable PFDs are not allowed on PWCs. All PFDs must be in good and serviceable condition and must be readily accessible.||A person who violates this section is responsible for a state civil infraction and may be ordered to pay a civil fine of not more than $100.00 for a child 6 yrs. and under violation. For all other violations a person may be ordered to pay a civil fine of not more than $500.00. History: Add.1995, Act 58, Imd. Eff. May 24, 1995 ;- Am.2007, Act 8, Imd. Eff. May 11, 2007|
|Minnesota||PWC riders and passengers. Children under ten.||$1,000 max and or 90 days in jail.|
|Mississippi||Under the age of 13 must wear PFD anytime other than when boat is anchored or docked||$25 to $ plus court cost100|
|Missouri||All operators and passengers on PWCs. And anyone under age 7 on board any vessel, unless they are inside a totally enclosed area of the boat such as the cabin area of a house boat or day cruiser.||Not more than one year in jail and/or $1,000 fine.|
|Montana||persons under 12 are required to wear a PFD while the vessel is in motion||Misdemeanor and shall be punishable by a fine of not less than $15 or more than $500 or by inprisonment for a term up to 6 months, or both|
|Nebraska||All persons under age 13. All persons on PWC regardless of age.||$50 fine|
|Nevada||Persons under age 13|
|New Hampshire||12 years of age and younger while boat in motion, anyone being towed behind a vessel. Operator of a ski craft.||Fine up to $60.00|
|New Jersey||Children under 13YOA all on PWC all water skiers||Summons/fine $25 to $100 + court cost|
|New Mexico||Mandatory wear for all canoes, kayaks, rafts, PWC operator and passengers on all waters of the state. Mandatory wear for those 12 years of age and younger at all times when vessel is underway with exception of being inside the cabin.||You may be held guilty of a petty misdemeanor by the county magistrate judge. This is punished by a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $500 or by imprisonment for not more than 30 days or both. The court may also impose court costs. (31-19-1 NMSA 1978) The judge may also elect to deferr or suspend the sentence and place the defendant on probation.|
|New York||1. Anyone||10. Any violation of the provisions of this section, or of a rule or regulation adopted pursuant to this section, shall constitute a violation punishable by a fine of not less than twenty-five nor more than one hundred dollars.|
|North Carolina||No person shall operate a personal watercraft on the waters of this State, nor shall the owner of a personal watercraft knowingly allow another person to operate that personal watercraft on the waters of this State, unless: (1) Each person riding on or being towed behind the vessel is wearing a type I, type II, type III, or type V personal flotation device approved by the United States Coast Guard. Inflatable personal flotation devices do not satisfy this requirement No person may use a recreational vessel unless each child under 13 years old on board is wearing an appropriate PFD approved by the Coast Guard unless: Each child not wearing such a PFD is below decks or in an enclosed cabin. The vessel is not underway. (Vessels that are anchored or tied to shore are not underway.) This law does not apply to commercial vessels.||Class three misdemeanor with $25.00 fine plus cost of court. ($135.00 currently)|
|North Dakota||It is unlawful for any person to operate or to be a passenger on any vessel less than twenty-seven feet in lenght unless all persons, ten years of age and younger present on the vessel wear an appropriately sized and properly fastened USCG approved type I, II or III wearable PFD while the vessel is in operation.|
|Northern Mariana Islands||None||None|
|Ohio||Children less than 10 on a vessel less than 18 feet in length and all PWC operators must wear a PFD.||A 4th degree misdemeanor(M4). Sking without a PFD is a Minor misdemeanor(MM).|
|Oklahoma||Any person 12 YOA or younger who is a passenger on a vessel less than 26 feet in length shall wear a proper PFD. Any person operating or manipulating, or who is a passenger on a PWC, water skis, sailboard, parasail or similar devices shall wear a proper PFD.||$201|
|Oregon||Children 12 years and younger are required to wear a USCG approved PFD while on an open deck or cockpit of a vessel that is underway or when the child is being towed.||Class B Violation; fines for non-accident are $237 and for accident $273.|
|Pennsylvania||Children 12 years of age and younger shall wear an approved Type I, II, III or V PFD while underway on any boat 20 feet or less in length and all canoes and kayaks. Anyone onboard a PWC or a sailboard must wear a PFD. Anyone being pulled behind a boat must wear a PFD.||$50|
|Puerto Rico||Any child under 12 in a vessel while moving. All users of a PWC.||$50.00 fine|
|Rhode Island||children under the age of 13 when under way on a vessel under 65 ft unless below decks. operator and passengers on PWC||$100|
|South Carolina||Children under 12 years of age in a Class A motorboat must wear a PFD at all times. Any person operating a PWC, or waterskiing must wear a PFD.||Must be fined not less tha 25 dollars nor more than 200 dollars.|
|South Dakota||Children under the age of seven.||Class II misdemeanor – maximum penalty of $100 and 30 days in county jail.|
|Tennessee||All persons 12 years of age and under. All operators/pasengers and persons being towed by PWC’s||A fine of not more than 50 dollars|
|Texas||Passengers younger than 13 years of age while underway; PWC operators and passengers at all times.||$25-$500 fine|
|Utah||*Persons less than 13 years of age while outside the cabin of vessel 19 feet or more *All persons on board a PWC *All persons on rivers, except on designated flatwater sections||Class B Misdeamenor, Max. $1,000 or 6 months in jail|
|Vermont||Childen under the age of 12 while underway on an open deck are required to wear a PFD. Any person on board a PWC and any person under 16 while on a sailboard.||Fine up to $84.00.|
|Virginia||All operators and passengers of PWCs||Maximum $250 fine|
|Washington||All persons on a PWC; any person 12 years of age or less on vessel under 19′ in length.||Infraction violation that must be witnessed by law enforcement officer. Fine amount: $87.00.|
|West Virginia||Anyone 12 and under on an open deck while the vessel is underway. All persons on PWCs and all water skiers.||Minimum $20 plus $168 court costs|
|Wisconsin||PWC operators and riders||$148.20|
|Wyoming||skiers, any person being towed on a water toy, and as of Jan 1, 2008 children 12 and under will have to wear them when on a boat that is underway, if they’re not in an enclosed cabin or below deck.||$110.00|