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West Virginia PFD requirements

Vessels may only be operated in or on West Virginia state waters if the vessel is carrying at least one US Coast Guard-approved wearable personal flotation device (PFD) in good condition that is readily available, approved for the appropriate activity, and of the correct size for every person aboard.

  • Each vessel must have at least one wearable Type I, II or III U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) approved PFD of proper size, in serviceable condition, and readily accessible for each person on board and for anyone being towed
  • Boats 16 feet or more in length, except canoes and kayaks, must additionally carry at least one Type IV (throwable) USCG-approved PFD
  • Anyone operating or riding on a personal watercraft (PWC), and anyone being towed on water skis or a similar device must wear a properly fitted USCG-approved PFD

Anyone 12 years of age or younger must wear a properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD while the vessel is underway, unless the child is below deck or in an enclosed cabin.