New PFD and Operator Law

Children’s Life Jacket Requirements

All children under the age of 13 must WEAR a United States Coast Guard approved Life Jacket (Type I, II, III or V) while underway on a recreational vessel under 21 feet in length on Maryland waters. Recreational vessels include: 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 serviceable condition. This requirement does not apply when a vessel is moored or anchored or, when a child is below deck or in an enclosed cabin.

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

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

Operating WITHOUT a Valid Boating Safety Certificate

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.