Life Jackets Save Lives: A PSA from the Elmore County Sheriffs Office

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

PFDs (personal flotation devices) must be Coast Guard approved, properly sized, and in good condition (no broken buckles, torn straps, rips, tears, etc). They must also be within easy reach.

Children 14 and under must wear an approved life jacket when they are aboard a boat 19 feet in length or less whenever the boat is underway or under power. This applies to manually propelled boats such as canoes and rafts in addition to powerboats, sailboats, personal watercraft (jet skis) and fishing float tubes.

Regardless of age, you must wear a personal flotation device (PFD) aboard a personal watercraft (jet ski) and when being pulled behind a vessel (I.e. - waterskiing, wakeboarding, tubing, etc.)

The size of the boat determines the specific design types and quantities of PFDs required:

Boats less than 16 feet long, as well as canoes and kayaks of any length, must have at least one (1) Type I, Type II, or Type III PFD for each person on board. A Type IV cushion or ring buoy will not meet this requirement.

Boats 16 feet and longer (except canoes and kayaks of any length) must also carry a Type IV PFD (ring or cushion buoy).

A Type V is a special purpose PFD that may be used in place of a Type I, II, or III if listed on the label as approved for the type of boating the boater is doing, such as whitewater rafting.

Exemptions: Seaplanes, sailboards, and certain racing boats are exempt from these PFD requirements. Fly fishing float tubes do not require a PFD on lakes less than 200 surface acres. Fly fishing pontoons do require PFDs on all Idaho waters.

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