New Jersey PFD Reminder For Boats Under 26 Feet - The Fisherman

New Jersey PFD Reminder For Boats Under 26 Feet

Don’t forget, if you’re operating a recreational vessel less than 26 feet in length on New Jersey waters this month, you need to be wearing a PFD!

As of November 1, 2023, no owner or operator of a recreational vessel less than 26 feet, including rowboats, canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards, shall permit its operation between November 1 and May 1 unless each person on board such vessel is wearing a securely fastened United States Coast Guard (USCG) approved wearable personal flotation device (PFD) of an appropriate size while such vessel is underway. A person inside the cabin of a cabin vessel shall be exempt from this requirement.

Steve DiEugenio dons his ‘required’ USCG approved inflatable PFD during the late season run of striped bass at the Jersey Shore.

In short, a USCG approved life jacket is required to be worn at all times, outside of a cabin on a boat under 26 feet during the winter months, even aboard for-hire vessels.  According to the USCG, “underway” is defined as the state when “A vessel not at anchor, aground or made fast to the shore,” which therefore means PFDs are required on the drift.

According to the New Jersey State Police, the new regulation (13:82-1.4(f)) was enacted to prevent hypothermia deaths, and to decrease the risks placed upon first responders during winter search and rescue operations on the waters of New Jersey.

The regulatory decision to implement the new PFD requirement in state waters was made by the New Jersey Boat Regulation Commission (BRC).  Learn more at



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