Safe Boating Course


CHAPTER 2: Boating Equipment


When should you wear a PFD?

The best answer is: whenever you’re in or around the water, not just operating a boat.

However, a PFD should be always be worn while boating, and especially when boating in dangerous conditions.

Dangerous conditions include any time you encounter:

  • Severe weather, such as storms or high winds;
  • Dangerous water conditions, such as rough or cold water; 
  • Areas with high boat traffic or dangerous local hazards;
  • Operating at night or in low visibility;
  • Traveling at high speeds; or
  • Taking part in watersports activities like waterskiing or tubing.

Remember, conditions can change very quickly on the water and PFDs take time to put on even if they are close at hand. Often you will not have time to put on a PFD in the event of an emergency. PFDs are also much harder to put on when in the water.

The best way to be prepared is to wear your PFD or lifejacket whenever you’re on or around the water.