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All vessels, except sailboards and certain racing shells or rowing skulls, must have at least one wearable Type I, II, III, or V personal flotation device (PFD) that is U.S. Coast Guard–approved and of the proper size for each person on board. Sizing for life jackets (PFDs) is based on body weight and chest size.

All life jackets (PFDs) must be in good and serviceable condition and must be readily accessible.

All children 12 years of age and younger must wear a U.S. Coast Guard–approved Type I, II, III, or V life jacket (PFD) while underway on any vessel. The life jacket (PFD) must be fastened according to the manufacturer's recommended use and must fit the child properly.

Inflatable PFDs must have full cylinder, green status indicators, and an accessible and intact lanyard or lever. Non-hybrid inflatable PFDs (no foam) are authorized only for persons 16 years and older.