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Old 02-12-2012
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DRFerron DRFerron is offline
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From the Coast Guard website:

Child Lifejacket Requirements

Some states require that children wear lifejackets
  • applies to children of specific ages
  • applies to certain sizes of boats
  • applies to specific boating operations

Check with your state boating safety officials.

Child lifejacket approvals are based on the child's weight. Check the "User Weight" on the label, or the approval statement that will read something like "Approved for use on recreational boats and uninspected commercial vessels not carrying passengers for hire, by persons weighing __ lbs". They can be marked "less than 30", "30 to 50", "less than 50", or "50 to 90".

Lifejacket requirements for certain boating activities under state laws

The Coast Guard recommends and many states require wearing lifejackets:
  • For water skiing and other towed activities (use a lifejacket marked for water skiing).
  • While operating personal watercraft (PWC) (use a lifejacket marked for water skiing or PWC use).
  • During white water boating activities.
  • While sailboarding (under Federal law, sailboards are not "boats").

Check with your state boating safety officials.

Federal law does not require lifejackets on racing shells, rowing sculls, racing canoes, and racing kayaks; state laws vary. Check with your state boating safety officials.

If you are boating in an area under the jurisdiction of the Army Corps of Engineers, or a federal, state, or local park authority, other rules may apply.
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