Changes to life vest requirements

RALEIGH, N.C. - The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has made changes to its requirements of life vests.

At the August meeting of the Wildlife Commission, surfboards, tubes, swimming rafts and inflatable toys were exempted from a list of vessels required to carry personal floatation devices (PFDs), also known as life vests.

The Commission determined that requiring PFDs on these type of floating devices did not enhance safety significantly. Prior to the rule change, anyone on such floating devices outside designated swimming areas were required to carry a PFD.

The Commission also clarified the definition of competitive paddle or rowing vessels under boating safety rules. The definition now reads those manually propelled vessels "that are recognized by national and international racing associations for use in competitive racing and in which all occupants row, scull or paddle, with exception of a coxswain, if one is provided, and are not designed to carry any equipment not solely for competitive racing such as racing shells, rowing sculls, racing canoes, and racing kayaks are exempt from requirements for any type of PFD."

Paddleboards, kayaks, canoes and rowboats are not exempt and must have a PFD accessible for each person onboard.

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