A life jacket (or Personal Flotation Device - PFD) is the single most important piece of equipment on your boat and the most important consideration should be size. More than two-thirds of all boating fatalities are drowning incidents and 90% of drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket. So buy a life jacket that you will wear ... it could save your life.
There several types of traditional foam flotation devices as well as new inflatable life jackets. Each is designed for different boating activities and water conditions and each has its own maximum buoyancy, performance level, and limitations. You should choose your life jacket based on your boating activities and conditions. Life jackets must be U.S. Coast Guard-approved in order to meet carriage requirements.
While many parents would love to take their newborns boating with them, it is generally not a good idea. Here are some facts to think about before taking a young child out boating.
Everyone on the vessel needs to have a life jacket that is properly fitted for them. That means, for example, that a child can't wear an adult life jacket and be safe (or legal).
Very few lifejackets come in infant sizes, and it is quite dangerous for a child to wear a lifejacket that doesn't fit. A poorly fitted lifejacket that is too loose can slip off a child. If the lifejacket doesn't fit, you could face a ticket, and the child would be at risk if anything happened.
There are other dangers to consider when taking an infant on the water.
The BoatUS Foundation Kids Afloat Program provides local, US based nonprofit organizations an opportunity to apply to purchase kid-sized life jackets at a discounted rate of $5 per jacket (jackets retail for about $30) to be used in their on-the-water programs.
Texas State Requirements for Life Jackets
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