All boats in Hawaii are required to carry a Coast Guard-approved lifejacket for each person aboard the boat. The only exemptions to the lifejacket requirement are racing shells, racing canoes, racing kayaks and rowing skulls.

Children’s Lifejacket Law

In Hawaii, passengers  12 years of age and younger (or under 13 years of age) are required to wear a Coast Guard-approved lifejacket while aboard any boat that is underway on the ocean waters, or navigable streams of the state and while the boat is moored, anchored or in a non-designated offshore mooring area (unless they are below deck or in an enclosed cabin).

Thrill Craft (Personal Watercraft or PWC) Lifejacket Law

Any person aboard a thrill craft is required to wear a Coast Guard-approved, lifejacket at all times.

Towed Sports Lifejacket Law

Any person being towed by a boat is required to wear a Coast Guard-approved lifejacket  at all times. This includes people being towed on waterskis, inner tubes, wakeboards, aquaplanes, or a similar device. Inflatable lifejackets will not meet this requirement. 

Hawaii’s Additional Equipment Requirements

Additional Equipment Recommendations for Thrill Craft (PWCs)

Any person operating a thrill craft that is equipped with a lanyard ignition safety switch should attach the lanyard to their wrist, or to their lifejacket.

Hawaii’s Mandatory EPIRB/VHF-FM Radio Requirements

Boats that are operating more than 1 mile off shore are required to be equipped with a properly functioning EPIRB or VHF-FM Radio. Exceptions: Canoes, thrill craft, surfboards and paddleboards. Kayaks and training sailboats are also exempt so long as they are accompanied by a boat carrying one of these devices.

Hawaii’s Muffler and Noise Level Laws

A boat propelled by an internal combustion engine shall be equipped with an efficient muffler, underwater exhaust or other modern device. The device must be in good working order, in constant operation and be capable of adequately muffling the sound of the engine exhaust.

The use of open exhausts or cutouts is prohibited unless the boat is participating in a regatta or race approved by the Hawaii DLNR or a federal agency.

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