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Virginia PFD requirements

According to Virginia boating laws, every vessel must carry one wearable USCG-approved PFD for each person on board. In ADDITION, at least 1 USCG approved Type IV (ring buoy or seat cushion) is required on all recreational boats 16 feet or greater except for:

  • personal watercraft ;
  • non-motorized canoes and kayaks 16’ in length or greater;
  • racing shells, rowing sculls, racing canoes and racing kayaks;
  • sail boards;
  • vessels of the United States used by foreign competitors while practicing for or racing in competitions.

PFD for children

Children 13 years old and younger must wear a USCG - approved life jacket at all times while underway on Federal Waters unless the child is below deck or inside the enclosed cabin of the boat.

PFD for a person being towed  

Anyone being towed behind a boat must wear a Type I, II, III or V USCG approved life jacket or have an observer onboard other than the operator. Inflatable life jackets are prohibited from being used while skiing, riding on or operating a PWC, or by anyone younger than 16.

PFD for Personal Watercraft

Each person onboard a personal watercraft (PWC) must wear a Type I, II, III or V USCG approved life jacket.  

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