Life Jackets Save Lives – Wear It!

HY Family Photo 366KB_ 2014
Life jackets can save your life and the ones you love.  
According to U.S. Coast Guard statistics, drowning is the leading cause of death in nearly 3/4 of boating related fatalities and 84% of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.

Every parent wants to make sure his/her family is as safe as possible, especially on the water. Although the state only requires children to wear a life jacket, adults are encouraged to wear one. Adults set a good example for children by wearing their life jackets.

Life jacket wear doesn’t only apply to children – anyone can drown regardless of age and swimming capabilities.
There is basic information about life jackets that is important to know.

  1. Make sure you know the federal and state laws in addition to your local ordinances. 
  2. Understand there are different types of life jackets and the most appropriate one to wear depends on your location and water activity.
  3. Learn how to properly fit life jackets for you and your family.
  4. Know where to find an extra life jacket if you find you don't have enough life jackets for everyone, there are free loaner stations throughout the state.
  5. Learn about the national WearIt campaign, and pledge to always wear your life jacket while on the water.
SUP and Dog
  1. Life Jacket Laws
  2. Types of Life Jackets
  3. Fitting a Life Jacket
  4. Life Jacket Loaner Stations

State law requires all vessels (including canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards) must have at least one properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) approved life jacket (Personal Flotation Device) for each person on the boat. In addition to that requirement, one:

  • USCG - approved Type IV (throwable) flotation device must on board vessels 16 feet or longer. Canoes and kayaks are exempt from this requirement. 
  • Children 12 years old and younger must wear a USCG approved life jacket at all times when underway in a vessel less than 19 feet in length, unless in a fully enclosed area. 
  • Each person on board a personal watercraft (PWC) and anyone being towed behind a boat must wear a USCG approved life jacket.  
Contact your local police/sheriff's department or home owner's association to find out if there's additional ordinances. 

If you will be in federal waterways, know the USCG life jacket laws that may apply.