PFD Requirements

Rhode Island PFD Requirements

Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)

Personal Flotation Devices
  • The state of Rhode Island 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.
  • Someone being towed behind a vessel is considered to be onboard.
  • All personal watercraft (PWC) occupants must be wearing a PFD approved for the activity 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.

Children: Any person transporting a child under 13 years of age onboard a recreational vessel less than 65 feet in length on Rhode Island waters shall require that the child wear a PFD approved by the United States Coast Guard when underway, unless below deck or in a closed cabin.

Education Requirement

Boater Education is required for all persons born after January 1, 1986 who operate a powered watercraft on Rhode Island waters.

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