The operator of every boat
must have on board the required number and type of approved Personal Floatation
Devices that are described below. An approved PFD is one which meets the
safety standards established by the U.S. Coast Guard, has a Coast Guard
approval stamped or sewn on it, and is in serviceable condition (ripped,
damaged or unserviceable PFD's are not legal). All PFD's must be readily
accessible and wearable Personal Flotation Devices must be the proper size
for the intended wearer.
It is unlawful to operate any boat
(including inflatables and inner tubes) unless at least one of the following
type PFD's of the proper size is available for each person on board.
Iowa law now requires persons 12 years of age and younger to be wearing
their PFD when the boat is underway. Exceptions are provided when at anchor,
tied to a dock, aground, in a enclosed cabin, or while on a commercial
vessel with a capacity of 25 persons or more.
In addition to the above,
each boat 16 feet or longer (except canoes and kayaks) must have at least
one throwable buoyant cushion or ring buoy on board.
Personal Watercraft (PWC):
It is unlawful to operate a
PWC unless each person is wearing a type I, II, III, or
V personal flotation device.
TYPES OF PFD'S
Type I -
Offshore Life Jacket
The Type I PFD provides the most buoyancy and is best for
open, rough or remote water, where rescue may be slow in coming.
It is designed to turn most unconscious wearers face-up in the
water. The Type I comes in both adult and child size.
Type II -
Near-Shore Buoyant Vest
The Type II PFD is good for calm, inland water or where there
is a good chance of quick rescue. This type will turn some, but
not all, unconscious wearers face-up in the water. Less bulky
than a Type I PFD, the Type II is the least expensive type of
PFD. It is available in many sizes.
The Type III PFD is good for calm, inland water or where
there is a good chance of quick rescue. Designed to keep the
wearer in a vertical position, it may require the wearer to tilt
their head back to avoid going face-down in the water and
therefore is not recommended for extended survival in rough
water. The Type III allows more freedom of movement for active
water sports and is generally the most comfortable type for
continuous wear. Float coats, fishing vests, and vests designed
with features suitable for various sports activities are
examples of this type of PFD.
The Type IV PFD is an approved device which is designed to
the thrown to a conscious person in the water. This device is
not designed to be worn and must have at least 16.5 pounds of
buoyancy. These usually take the shape of a boat cushion, life
ring, or horseshoe device. These devices must be readily
accessible during boat operation.
Type V -
Special Use Device or Hybrid Inflatable
The Type V PFD is a special use device intended for a certain
activity and may be carried instead of another PFD, but only if
used in accordance with its label. Some of these devices provide
hypothermia protection while others, such as a work vest, are
intended for freedom of movement. A Type V may also take the
form of hybrid inflatables such as float coats which combine
inherently buoyant material with an inflatable bladder for extra
Inflatable PFD's come in Types I, II, and III. Although the
different "Types" of inflatable PFD's are intended for use in
the same areas as inherently buoyant types of PFD's, the
characteristics of inflatable PFD's are different. Inflatable
PFD's are not inherently buoyant and will not float without
inflation. For Types I, II, and III inflatables, the lower the
Type number, the better the PFD's performance (e.g., Type I is
better than Type II).
Although inflatable PFD's are considered one of the most
comfortable PFD's to wear when it's hot, inflatable PFD's
require regular maintenance and are recommended for children or
individuals who can't swim. Inflatable PFD's are not for use
where water impact is expected as when water-skiing, riding
personal watercraft, or whitewater paddling.
Courtesy of Wisconsin DNR
Helpful PFD Information - Click on this link
borrow life jackets for their kids at no charge at three local marinas.
Iowa Great Lakes Water Safety Council has provided twelve life jackets in
three kids sizes to each of three local marinas.
The three sizes are:
"heads up" life jackets for children weighing
Small child life jackets for children weighing between 30 - 50 pounds.
Medium (Youth) child life jackets for children weighting between 50 - 90 pounds.
Oak Hill Marina is located on Lake
Minnewashta near Highway 71 in Arnolds Park
Mau Marine is located on Lake East Okoboji
near Highway 71 in Okoboji
Parks Marina is located on Lake East Okoboji
near 175th Street in Okoboji
A kids life
jacket can be borrowed by providing a name, address, phone number, and
drivers license number to assure the life jacket will be returned. Life
jackets can be borrowed for a day, several days, or a week. If a life jacket
is needed for more than a week or two consideration should be given to
purchasing a life jacket.
If a life
jacket is not returned a contribution to the Water Safety Council of $25 would
be appreciated to purchase a replacement life jacket.
This program was partially funded
with a grant from the BoatUS Foundation.