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e-CFR data is current as of September 25, 2020

Title 33Chapter ISubchapter SPart 175 → Subpart B


Title 33: Navigation and Navigable Waters
PART 175—EQUIPMENT REQUIREMENTS


Subpart B—Personal Flotation Devices


Contents
§175.11   Applicability.
§175.13   Definitions.
§175.15   Personal flotation devices required.
§175.17   Exemptions.
§175.19   Stowage.
§175.21   Condition; size and fit; approval marking.
§175.23   Serviceable condition.
§175.25   Enforcement of State requirements for children to wear personal flotation devices.

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§175.11   Applicability.

This subpart applies to all recreational vessels that are propelled or controlled by machinery, sails, oars, paddles, poles, or another vessel.

[CGD 92-045, 58 FR 41608, Aug. 4, 1993]

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§175.13   Definitions.

As used in this subpart:

Personal flotation device or PFD means a device that is approved by the Commandant under 46 CFR part 160.

Throwable PFD means a PFD that is intended to be thrown to a person in the water. A PFD marked as Type IV or Type V with Type IV performance is considered a throwable PFD. Unless specifically marked otherwise, a wearable PFD is not a throwable PFD.

Wearable PFD means a PFD that is intended to be worn or otherwise attached to the body. A PFD marked as Type I, Type II, Type III, or Type V with Type (I, II or III) performance is considered a wearable PFD.

[USCG-2013-0263, 79 FR 56499, Sept. 22, 2014]

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§175.15   Personal flotation devices required.

Except as provided in §§175.17 and 175.25:

(a) No person may use a recreational vessel unless—

(1) At least one wearable PFD is on board for each person;

(2) Each PFD is used in accordance with any requirements on the approval label; and

(3) Each PFD is used in accordance with any requirements in its owner's manual, if the approval label makes reference to such a manual.

(b) No person may use a recreational vessel 16 feet or more in length unless one throwable PFD is onboard in addition to the total number of wearable PFDs required in paragraph (a) of this section.

(c) No person may operate a recreational vessel under way with any child under 13 years old aboard unless each such child is either—

(1) Wearing an appropriate PFD approved by the Coast Guard; or

(2) Below decks or in an enclosed cabin.

[CGD 81-023, 55 FR 32034, Aug. 6, 1990, as amended by CGD 92-045, 58 FR 41608, Aug. 4, 1993; USCG-2000-8589, 67 FR 42493, June 24, 2002; USCG-2013-0263, 79 FR 56499, Sept. 22, 2014]

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§175.17   Exemptions.

(a) Canoes and kayaks 16 feet or more in length are exempted from the requirements for carriage of the additional throwable PFD required under §175.15(b).

(b) Racing shells, rowing sculls, racing canoes, and racing kayaks are exempted from the requirements for carriage of any PFD required under §175.15.

(c) Sailboards are exempted from the requirements for carriage of any PFD required under §175.15.

(d) Vessels of the United States used by foreign competitors while practicing for or racing in competition are exempted from the carriage of any PFD required under §175.15, provided the vessel carries one of the sponsoring foreign country's acceptable flotation devices for each foreign competitor onboard.

[USCG-2013-0263, 79 FR 56499, Sept. 22, 2014]

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§175.19   Stowage.

(a) No person may use a recreational boat unless each wearable PFD required by §175.15 is readily accessible.

(b) No person may use a recreational boat unless each throwable PFD required by §175.15 is immediately available.

[USCG-2013-0263, 79 FR 56499, Sept. 22, 2014]

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§175.21   Condition; size and fit; approval marking.

No person may use a recreational boat unless each PFD required by §175.15 is—

(a) In serviceable condition as provided in §175.23;

(b) Of an appropriate size and fit for the intended wearer, as marked on the approval label; and

(c) Legibly marked with its approval number, as specified in 46 CFR part 160.

[CGD 81-023, 55 FR 32034, Aug. 6, 1990, as amended by CGD93-055, 61 FR 13926, Mar. 28, 1996; USCG-2013-0263, 79 FR 56499, Sept. 22, 2014]

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§175.23   Serviceable condition.

A PFD is considered to be in serviceable condition for purposes of §175.21(a) only if the following conditions are met:

(a) No PFD may exhibit deterioration that could diminish the performance of the PFD, including—

(1) Metal or plastic hardware used to secure the PFD on the wearer that is broken, deformed, or weakened by corrosion;

(2) Webbings or straps used to secure the PFD on the wearer that are ripped, torn, or which have become separated from an attachment point on the PFD; or

(3) Any other rotted or deteriorated structural component that fails when tugged.

(b) In addition to meeting the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section, no inherently buoyant PFD, including the inherently buoyant components of a hybrid inflatable PFD, may exhibit—

(1) Rips, tears, or open seams in fabric or coatings, that are large enough to allow the loss of buoyant material;

(2) Buoyant material that has become hardened, non-resilient, permanently compressed, waterlogged, oil-soaked, or which shows evidence of fungus or mildew; or

(3) Loss of buoyant material or buoyant material that is not securely held in position.

(c) In addition to meeting the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section, an inflatable PFD, including the inflatable components of a hybrid inflatable PFD, must be equipped with—

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, a properly armed inflation mechanism, complete with a full inflation medium cartridge and all status indicators showing that the inflation mechanism is properly armed;

(2) Inflatable chambers that are all capable of holding air;

(3) Oral inflation tubes that are not blocked, detached, or broken;

(4) A manual inflation lanyard or lever that is not inaccessible, broken, or missing; and

(5) Inflator status indicators that are not broken or otherwise non-functional.

(d) The inflation system of an inflatable PFD need not be armed when the PFD is worn inflated and otherwise meets the requirements of paragraphs (a) and (c) of this section.

[CGD 93-055, 61 FR 13926, Mar. 28, 1996]

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§175.25   Enforcement of State requirements for children to wear personal flotation devices.

(a) This section applies to operators of recreational vessels on waters subject to the jurisdiction of any State that has established by statute a requirement for children of a certain age to wear an appropriate PFD approved by the Coast Guard, while aboard a recreational vessel.

(b) If the applicable State statute establishes any requirement for children of a certain age to wear an appropriate PFD approved by the Coast Guard, then that requirement applies on the waters subject to the State's jurisdiction instead of the requirement provided in §175.15(c) of this part.

[USCG-2000-8589, 69 FR 45591, July 30, 2004]

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