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California Life Jacket Laws

PFD - Life Jacket Laws

California Life Jacket laws & requirements

Under California boating laws all personal flotation devices must be readily accessible and one throwable flotation device must be immediately available

With the exception of kayaks and canoes, every vessel must carry one wearable U.S. Coast Guard-Approved PFD for every person on board if the vessel is 16 feet or longer.

Inflatable PFD must be worn in order to be considered readily accessible. Inflatable U.S. Coast Guard-Approved PFD are acceptable for persons age 16.

PFDs must be kept in serviceable condition. If they are badly torn, damaged, rotted, punctured, or otherwise unserviceable, they no longer meet legal requirements and should be replaced.

California boating law requires to wear a U.S. Coast Guard-Approved Life Jacket for:

  1. all persons on board a PWC;
  2. anyone being towed behind a vessel;
  3. children under 13 years.

The law does not apply in the following circumstances:

  1. the operator of a sailboat on which every child under age 13 is restrained by a harness tethered to the sailboat;
  2. the operator of a vessel on which every child under age 13 is in an enclosed cabin.

It is highly recommended that all boaters wear PFD’s.

Get your California Boating License today!

The mandatory boating safety education law is phased in by age. If you operate any type of motorized vessel on California waterways (including powered sailboats/paddlecraft), you are required to pass an approved boating safety examinaton and carry a lifetime California Boater Card.