In Florida, children under six years of age must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket while on a boat that is under 26 feet in length while the boat is underway. This law is meant to ensure the safety of young passengers.
Operators and passengers of personal watercraft, such as Jet Skis, must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. No exceptions.
Depending on the type of watercraft, specific regulations regarding life jacket use may apply. Be sure to check with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) for details.
Select a life jacket that is approved by the U.S. Coast Guard and appropriate for the intended activities. There are different types of life jackets designed for various water-based activities, such as boating, kayaking, or fishing.
Ensure that the life jacket fits properly and is the right size for the wearer. Life jackets should be snug but not too tight, and they should not ride up over the chin or ears.
Check the label for specific weight and size recommendations to determine the appropriate life jacket for each individual.
Always wear a life jacket when operating or riding in watercraft, such as boats, canoes, kayaks, and personal watercraft (PWC) as required by law or best practice.
Inexperienced swimmers, children, and non-swimmers should wear life jackets at all times while near the water's edge.
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Regularly inspect life jackets for wear and tear, and replace any damaged or worn-out life jackets. Make sure that zippers, buckles, and straps are all in good working condition.
Keep life jackets clean and dry when not in use, and store them in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight to prolong their lifespan.
Ensure that you have the appropriate safety equipment on board your vessel, including life jackets, throwable flotation devices, fire extinguishers, and communication devices.
Familiarize yourself with Florida's boating regulations, such as speed limits, no-wake zones, and navigation rules for specific water bodies.
Stay informed about local weather conditions and be prepared for sudden changes, especially during the hurricane season.