Iowa Personal Floatation Device Laws

Before going out on the water, all boaters and passengers should be aware of the laws pertaining to
personal floatation devices, or PFDs, and boaters are encouraged to talk to local officials about boating
laws and regulations. The federal government has set particular requirements, including regulations
about how many PFDs must be on board the boat and which types of PFDs are allowed. All states must abide
by federal carriage requirements in addition to their own state laws. According to these federal requirements:

  • Boats must contain one federally-approved personal floatation device for each person on board the boat.
  • The PFD must be readily accessible, meaning that in the event of an emergency a person could put on
    the PFD in a reasonable amount of time.
  • If a boat is less than 16 feet long, it must contain one Type I, II, III, IV, or V PFD for each person
    on board the boat.
  • If a boat is more than 16 feet long, it must contain one Type I, II, III, or V PFD for each person on
    board the boat, in addition to one Type IV.
  • Type V PFDs have particular requirements, and the Type V must be worn if it is to be counted toward
    the minimum carriage requirements.

In addition to these federal requirements, each state may have additional laws pertaining to who must
wear a life jacket. Iowa PFD laws state:

  • Properly-fitting personal floatation devices are required to be worn at all times by children under
    the age of 13 while on a recreational boat. This excludes time spent in a cabin or below deck.
  • Each person on a personal watercraft must wear a Type I, II, III, or V personal flotation device.
  • Any person being pulled behind a boat or personal watercraft, such as on skis or an inner tube, must
    wear a Type I, II, III or V personal floatation device.

Contact Us

Personal floatation devices can save lives in the event of a boating accident. If you or a loved one
has been involved in a boating accident, contact the Iowa boating accident lawyers of LaMarca Law Group, P.C.,
P.C. at 877-327-2600.

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