Life jackets

Personal flotation devices (PFD) save lives

water_pfd.jpgWhat's the most important thing you can do to keep yourself safe while swimming and boating? It's simple: Wear a life jacket.

Infants, small children and non-swimmers should always wear a life jacket when near the water. Everyone should wear a life jacket when boating – in many cases it's the law. In an emergency, seconds count – and there may not be time to retrieve stowed life jackets or put them on.​

Know the rules

  • All recreational boats including canoes and kayak must have one wearable U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket, also known as a personal flotation device (PFD), for each person on board.
  • PFDs must be:
    • Coast Guard-approved.
    • Appropriate size for the intended user.
    • In good condition.
    • Readily accessible.
  • All vessels 16 feet or longer (excluding canoes and kayaks) must have one Type IV throwable flotation device.
  • The Texas Water Safety Act requires children under the age of 13 in motorboats less than 26 feet in length to wear a life jacket when the boat is under way.
  • Each occupant on a personal watercraft, regardless of age, must wear a life jacket.
  • Inflatable life jackets are not approved for users under 16 and may not be used on personal watercraft, for water skiing or other high-speed activities.