Oregon’s Life Jacket Laws

All boats under 16 feet in length and all canoes, rafts and kayaks, must carry one, Type I, II or III wearable flotation device of suitable size for each person on board.

All boats 16 feet and over, except canoes and kayaks, must carry one, Type I, II or III flotation  device of suitable size aboard for each person, as well as one, Type IV throwable device.

The Type I, II and III flotation devices must be readily accessible to all persons on board. The Type IV device must be immediately available for use.

Children’s Life Jacket Law

In  Washington, boat passengers under 12 years of age are required to wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket while aboard the open deck or cockpit of any boat that is underway and while being towed. This law applies to motorized boats, sailboats, canoes, kayaks and rafts.

Life jacket laws for children

Note: Inflatable life jackets are not approved for children or any person under the age of 16.

Exceptions for children include:

  • If the child is in an enclosed cabin or below deck.
  • If the child is on a sailboat and is tethered by a lifeline or harness that is attached to the boat.
  • If the child is on a Coast Guard-inspected passenger carrying boat while operating on the navigable waters of the U.S.

Personal Watercraft (PWC) Law

Any person on board a PWC is required to wear a Coast Guard-approved Type I, II or III life jacket. Inflatable life jackets are NOT permitted for use on PWCs.

Towed Sports Life Jacket Law

Any person being towed is considered to be on board the towing boat. This means there must be an approved Type I, II or III life jacket aboard the boat for the person being towed. Inflatable life jackets are not approved for impact sports such as waterskiing, riding a PWC or inner-tubing.

White Water Life Jacket Law

Persons operating on any sections of water that are rated Class III or higher, are required to wear a Coast Guard-approved Type I, II, III or V life jacket or PFD (Type V’s must be approved for the intended activity). 

Oregon’s Muffler and Noise Level Laws

The exhaust of every internal combustion engine used on a motorized boat must be effectively muffled by equipment designed to muffle or suppress the noise of the exhaust in a reasonable manner. Boats with outboard motors do not require a noise muffling device.

Please note:

  • Boats built after January 1, 1993, must not exceed a noise level of 88 dBA.
  • Boats built before January 1, 1993, must not exceed a noise level of 90 dBA.
  • If water is used for muffling, it must be used in combination with a marine-designed exhaust manifold.
  • Engine cutouts or open exhaust stacks are prohibited, unless:
  • They are being used on a racing motorboat while the boat or equipment are being tested, or;
  • They are being used on a boat that is competing in a regatta, race or trial run for speed records.
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