Life Jackets (PFDs)

Kansas law requires that all boats have one Type I, Type II, Type III, or Type V PFD of proper size, in serviceable condition, not in an enclosed compartment and readliy accessible for each person on board. Anyone 12 years old and younger must wear a life jacket at all times when on board a boat or being towed behind the boat on skis or a tube.

  • Boats 16 feet and longer, except canoes and kayaks, also must carry one Type IV throwable flotation device that is in serviceable condition and not in an enclosed compartment.
  • It is recommended that any person being towed on water skis, kneeboards, or similar devices should wear a properly fitting life jacket.
  • Each person operating or riding a PWC MUST WEAR a properly fitting life jacket.

What is meant by serviceability?

Serviceability means that fastening hardware is not broken and operates correctly, the webbing or straps are not ripped torn or missing. Fabric tears have not resulted in loss of buoyant material and that the buoyant material has not hardened or been contaminated by oil or other liquids. The flotation device must be structurally sound and free of rotted or corroded components.

What is meant by readily accessible?

Readily accessible means the life jackets and flotation devices are plainly visible to the passengers, in an area that can be reached in an emergency without opening a compartment, wrapping material or reaching under part of the boat's hull to get them.