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Life Jackets for Kids


Maryland Boating Safety Program - kids wear the life jacketEffective April 1, 2010, Maryland law states that all children under the age of 13 must WEAR a United States Coast Guard approved Personal Flotation Device (life jacket - Type I, II, III or V) while underway on a recreational vessel under 21 feet in length on Maryland waters. Recreational vessel includes motorboats, sailboats, canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and any other device capable of being used for transportation on the water, when the vessel is being used for other than commercial purposes. The life jacket must be the proper size for the child and must be in good and serviceable condition.

This requirement does not apply when:

  • A vessel is moored or anchored.
  • A child is below deck or in an enclosed cabin.

Also a child under the age of 4 must wear a PFD which features additional safety precautions, as appropriate for an infant, toddler, or young child, so as to:

  • hold the child securely within the PFD, including a strap that is secured between the child's legs to fasten together the front and back of the PFD;
  • maintain the buoyancy of the child, including an inflatable headrest or high collar; or
  • ensure the ready accessibility of the child from the vessel, including a web handle.

This does not apply to a vessel that is moored or anchored or a child who is below deck or in an enclosed cabin.

NEW LAW AS OF OCTOBER 1, 2011

As of October 1, 2010, anyone under the age of 16, operating a motorized vessel 11 feet in length or greater WITHOUT a valid boating safety certificate, must be under the supervision of an individual 18 years of age or older who possesses a valid boating safety certificate or an individual born before July 1, 1972. If an individual under the age of 16 is operating a motorized vessel LESS than 11 feet in length, a person of any age possessing a valid certificate of boating safety can provide supervision.

See the Boating Safety Class Listings