Do I have to have a life jacket on a kayak?

These rules also apply to Standup Paddleboards and Canoes.

Life Jackets

Each child under the age of 6 must wear a Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device (PFD), while the kayak is moving.

Each person riding in the kayak must have an approved PFD available inside the kayak.

  • IF you choose to use an Inflatable Life Jacket (Type V PFD) it must remain on the entire time you’re in the kayak because it is considered a Class V until inflated. Once inflated they are considered Class II or III depending on the model.
  • You are not required to wear a Class II or III if it is on the kayak but it is recommended.

Sounding Device

A sound-making device is required while you are kayaking

Attach the whistle to your PFD and it will always be in arms reach!


When kayaking between sunset and sunrise, a white light is required. The kayaker is to display the light if another vessel approaches, to avoid a possible collision.


Registration is a requirement for all kayaks using a gas or electric motor but isn’t required if you are paddling or pedaling.