Logo graphic for the WildLife Resources Division
Facebook Icon Twitter Icon Instagram Icon YouTube Icon WordPress Icon Email Icon
Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)

When preparing to go out on a boat or a PWC, the operator must check that the legally required equipment is onboard.

All boats must have at least one Type I, II, III or V personal flotation device that is U. S. Coast Guard approved, wearable and of the proper size for each person onboard. Sizing for PFDs is based on body weight and chest size.  Type V PFDs are acceptable only when worn and securely fastened.

As of May 15, 2013, Georgia law requires all children under 13 years of age to wear a U. S. Coast Guard approved PFD while onboard any moving boat (VIDEO). This law does not apply when the child is in a fully enclosed cabin.

One Type IV (throwable device) U. S. Coast Guard approved PFD must be onboard all boats 16 feet or more in length, except for canoes and kayaks.  Must be immediately accessible to throw out to someone quickly.

One Type V may be substituted for any other type if it is specifically approved by the U. S. Coast Guard for the activity at hand. Type V PFDs may not be substituted on children weighing less than 90 lbs.

Each person riding on a PWC must wear a U. S. Coast Guard approved Type I, II, III or V personal flotation device. Inflatable Type V PFDs are not approved for use on PWC.

All PFDs must be in good and serviceable condition and must be readily accessible.


TYPE I: Offshore Life Jacket
These vests are geared for rough or remote waters where rescue may take awhile. They are excellent for flotation and will turn most unconscious persons face up in the water.

TYPE II: Near-Shore Vest
These vests are good for calm waters and fast rescues. Type II vests may lack the capacity to turn unconscious wearers face up.

TYPE III: Flotation Aid
These vests or full-sleeved jackets are good for calm waters and fast rescues. They are not for rough waters since they will not turn a person face up.

TYPE IV: Throwable Device
These cushions or ring buoys are designed to be thrown to someone in trouble. They are not for long hours in rough waters, non- swimmers or the unconscious.

TYPE V: Special-Use Device
These windsurfing vests, deck suits, hybrid PFDs and others are designed for specific activities, such as kayaking or water skiing. Type V PFDs must be worn when underway to be acceptable.


Navigate to Page:

Receive FREE, timely updates on topics of interest. Sign Up Here!

LICENSES - 3 Ways to Buy

1. Phone 1-800-366-2661
2. Online - here
3. Retail License Vendor listing - here

Ranger Hotline


Report poaching and wildlife violations. You can receive a cash reward if your tip leads to an arrest—even if you wish to remain anonymous.
More Info >