A Course for Safe Boating
Are you operating a boat less than 16 feet long, or a canoe or a
kayak of any length? Then you must follow these rules:
A Coast Guard-approved life jacket in serviceable condition and of a type
and size appropriate for the conditions and the activity being engaged in
must be carried for each person on board. If stored, these life jackets must
be readily available (easy to get to), and you must show passengers where
the life jackets and other safety equipment are stored.
Under California state law, it is an infraction, punishable by a fine of up to
$250, to operate a recreational vessel of any length unless
every child under
13 years of age on board is wearing a Coast Guard-approved life jacket
serviceable condition and of a type and size appropriate for the conditions
and the activity while the boat is underway
The law does not apply to:
(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; or on a vessel engaged in
an emergency rescue situation.
Everyone on a personal watercraft and anyone being towed behind a vessel
must wear a Coast Guard-approved appropriate type of life jacket for the
activity as stated on the label. (For exceptions, see
Anyone using an underwater maneuvering device is exempt from wearing a
life jacket. An underwater maneuvering device is any towed or self-powered
device designed for underwater use that a person can pilot through diving,
turning and surfacing moves.
For a boat 16 feet or longer, you must also follow these rules:
The same requirements as above and one immediately accessible
(easy-to-reach) Coast Guard-approved throwable device—such as a ring,
cushion or horseshoe buoy for each boat.
All passengers are
a Coast Guard-approved,
properly fitted, life jacket when on a
moving boat. For added safety, attach
a whistle to each life jacket.
To learn more about life jackets, visitwww.WearItCalifornia.com