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PFD Wearing Requirements State Boating Regulations

Chris Riley by Chris Riley Updated on August 6, 2019. In

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Alabama Within 800 ft below dams. PWC operators and water skiers. Children under 8 years of age.
Alaska Under 13 while water skiing or on open deck.
American Samoa All on board while boat is underway. PWC and water skiers.
Arizona Children 12 and under when vessel is underway. PWC and water skiers.
Arkansas Age 12 and under; except when in enclosed area, while not underway.
California Under 12 years of age on vessels less than 26 ft., unless in an enclosed cabin. PWC and water skiers.
Colorado PWC operators and passengers. Water skiers and persons on aquaplanes, surfboards and similar devices when towed behind a boat must wear some type of flotation like a wetsuit or belt (need not be USCG approved). All persons aboard outfitter’s vessels must wear a type V device.
Connecticut Under 12. Skiers and PWC riders. Between Oct. 1 and May 30th, all people in canoes.
Delaware All PWC riders and children under 12.
District of Columbia When the operator of a vessel is under 18 years old, everyone under 18 must wear PFDs.
Florida Children under 6 on vessels less than 26 feet while underway, all PWC operators and water skiers.
Georgia PWC and water skiers; in designated “hazardous area.” Children below 10 in moving vessel, except when enclosed in cabin.
Guam PWC and water skiers.
Hawaii None
Idaho None
Illinois PWC and children under 13.
Indiana PWC
Iowa PWC and water skiers or others being towed.
Kansas PWC and children 12 and under.
Kentucky PWC.
Louisiana Children under 12 on vessels less than 26 ft. PWC.
Maine Children 10 years old and under. PWC and water skiers.
Maryland PWC and water skiers.
Massachusetts Person being towed, PWC, canoeists/kayakers (mid-September to mid-May). Children 12 and under.
Michigan PWC and water skiers. Children under 6.
Minnesota PWC.
Mississippi 12 years or younger in boats under 26 ft. when underway.
Missouri PWC. Children under age 7.
Montana Children under 12 when vessel is in motion. PWC and water skiers.
N. Mariana Islands PWC and water skiers.
Nebraska Children under 12. Water skiers.
Nevada PWC and water skiers.
New Hampshire Children 5 and under. PWC operators and persons being towed.
New Jersey PWC. Children 12 and under while underway.
New Mexico Water skiers.
New York Children under 12 years of age on a boat less than 65 feet unless inside an enclosed cabin. PWC and water skiers.
North Carolina PWC and water skiers.
North Dakota Everyone 10 years or younger, on boats less than 27 feet while in operation. PWC and water skiers. Persons under 16 while board sailing.
Ohio Children less than 10 on boats less than 18 feet. PWC and water skiers.
Oklahoma Children under 13 when vessel is underway. PWC and water skiers.
Oregon PWC. Children under the age of 12 when underway on powered or non-powered boats unless below decks on a larger boat
Pennsylvania PWC, water skiers, sailboards, children 12 years of age and under.
Puerto Rico None.
Rhode Island PWC. Children under 10 on Class A vessels underway.
South Carolina PWC. Children under 12 on Class A.
South Dakota PWC.
Tennessee Below dams in the areas marked. PWC. Children 12 and under.
Texas Children 13 and under. PWC.
Utah PWC, water skiers and sailboarders. Children 12 or less except when in an enclosed cabin area on boats 19 feet or more. All boaters on river must wear PFD except at designated flat water areas.
Vermont Children under age 12 while under way and on an open deck.
Virgin Islands PWC and water skiers.
Virginia PWC. Children 15 and under.
Washington PWC and water skiers.
West Virginia PWC. Everyone on white water. Children 12 and under.
Wyoming PWC and water skiers.

This information is from the 1998 National Safe Boating Campaign. PWC (personal watercraft) means both operator and passengers. Water skiers may have different definitions in each state. For a complete list of the current PFD wearing requirements in your state, contact your state boating law administrator’s office.

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