Children's Life Jackets - Maryland

In the state of Maryland, children under the age of 13 are required to wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket or life vest, when on a boat less than 21 feet long. Children under the age of 4, or anyone weighing less than 50 pounds, must wear a PFD that features additional safety precautions. Safety measures which are appropriate for an infant, toddler, or young child, so as to: 1) Hold the child securely within the PFD, including a strap that is secured between the child’s legs to fasten together the front and the back of the PFD; 2) Maintain the buoyancy of the child, including an inflatable headrest or high collar; or 3)Ensure the ready accessibility of the child from the boat, including a web handle.

The life vest should also be in good condition and fit the child properly. The exceptions are if the child is below deck or in an enclosed cabin or when the boat is moored, anchored.

Although it is ultimately the responsibility of the parent to ensure the safety of the child by requiring them to wear an approved life jacket or life vest, the USCG and your boat insurance company will expect you to comply with the state boating safety regulations,as well.