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Life Jacket Laws You Should Know Before Hitting The Water

With all the excitement of the boating season getting underway you may forget about some important details. Did you remember to pack your personal floatation device? Life jackets are important to have on board but do you know all the regulations? Here are the Canadian personal floatation device laws you need to know before heading out on the water this season

Required by law

It is required by law that there is a Canadian approved life jacket or personal floatation device of the correct size for each person on board the watercraft. Although it may not be the most comfortable or stylish, personal floatation devices (PFD) work best when they are worn. Accidents happen quickly and PFDs can protect even the strongest swimmers against cold-water shock.

 Life jacket vs. PFD

Life jackets are approved for all vessel types and provide excellent floatation. In fact, they generally provide better flotation then Personal flotation devices. Life jackets only come in yellow, orange and red to provide visibility. On the other hand, PFDs are approved only for recreational use but come in more shapes based on the activity. They come in many different colour options and lighter styles to give more comfort to the wearer.

How to choose?

It is important that which ever PFD you choose that they fit properly for the user. Life jackets for kids should fit snugly and not ride up when they are in the water. According to Transport Canada, the device should have less than 7 cm of space between it and the child’s shoulders. It is also important to find PFDs with thermal protection to keep the wearing insulated in case they fall in cold waters. Above all they should also be approved by one the following Canadian organizations:

-Canadian Coast Guard

-Transport Canada

-Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Take Care

It is important to keep PFD’s in good condition for them to work properly. If they are ripped or in bad condition they are not considered approved. Make sure to dry life jackets properly after each use and check how well they keep you afloat before each season.

Wearing personal flotation devices when boating helps keep your family and friends safer on the water. It is important to keep everything on your boat safety equipment checklist in working order before heading on the water. For more information on life jackets and personal floatation devices check out Transport Canada and wearalifejacket.com


Check out more tips to have a safe and enjoyable boating season:

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