PFD Requirements

Maine PFD Requirements

Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)

Personal Flotation Devices
  • The state of Maine requires at least one U.S. Coast Guard approved Type IV PFD (ring buoy OR seat cushion) on all recreational boats in excess of 16 feet in length, in ADDITION to the wearable PFD required for each person onboard all boats. Exceptions to this requirement include the following:
    • Personal Watercraft
    • Canoes and kayaks
    • Boats less than 16 feet
  • Someone being towed behind a vessel is considered to be onboard.
  • All PWC occupants must be wearing their PFD while underway.
  • Inflatable PFDs are not approved for children nor are they approved for use during high impact sports such as water skiing or operating a PWC.
  • All persons canoeing or kayaking on the Saco River between Hiram Dam and the Atlantic Ocean between January 1st and June 1st must be wearing a PFD.
  • All person operating a vessel on the Penobscot River between the gorge and the head of Big Eddy, and on the Kennebec River, between Harris Station and Turtle island, at the foot of Black Brook Rapids, must wear a PFD.

Children: All boaters or passengers 10 years of age and younger must be wearing a PFD while onboard any vessel.

Education Requirements

Although there is currently no mandatory education requirements in Maine, an Educated Boater is a Safer Boater. By taking a boating safety course, you help ensure our waterways are the safest they can be. Not to mention, completing a course may reduce your boat insurance 10-15%!