The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)


September 25, 2013

Clarification and Exemptions for Life Vest Requirements

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 — RALEIGH  — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has exempted surfboards, tubes, swimming rafts and inflatable toys from the requirement to carry personal flotation devices (PFDs), also known as life vests.

The action was taken during the August meeting of the Wildlife Commission. It had been demonstrated that requiring PFDs for these types of floating devices did not enhance safety significantly. Prior to the rule change, anyone on such floating devices outside of a designated swimming area was 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 accessible for each person onboard a Type I, II or III PFD in good condition and of appropriate size.

The Wildlife Commission held a public hearing on safety requirements for floating devices and paddle craft in July at its headquarters in Raleigh, and also accepted comments online and by mail.

For more information on boating safety and requirements, go to

About the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission

Since 1947, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has been dedicated to the conservation and sustainability of the state’s fish and wildlife resources through research, scientific management, wise use, and public input. The Commission is the state regulatory agency responsible for the enforcement of fishing, hunting, trapping and boating laws and provides programs and opportunities for wildlife-related educational, recreational and sporting activities. To learn more, visit

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