The Maine U.S. Coast Guard regulations differ some from other states. These differences range from items required to age limits.
1. Each person should have solid swimming skills both above and below the water.
2. Kayakers must have a vest-type life jacket that fits snugly.
3. All "White Water Rivers" require helmets solidly made that fit correctly.
4. Strong kayaking skills, knowing the proper way to stop your kayak.
5. Know the river or waterway you plan to kayak in advance and carry multiple detailed waterproof maps with possible stopping locations.
Knowing the classification of the river you want to travel will help you to determine which rules apply to you specifically. There are six different types of river classifications from Class I: easy to Class VI: extremely difficult and dangerous. Only the most experienced kayaker should attempt Class VI waters.
Regulations for all Kayakers
Maine Coast Guard requires that all 16- and 17-year-olds who operate a "personal water craft" or kayak are required to complete a boating education course before traveling the waterways. Additionally, all residents and non-residents of Maine are required to know basic boat safety guidelines. Maine Coast Guard regulates vessel operation in all whitewater areas.
Life Jacket Regulations
Personal flotation devices, or PFD, are required for all children younger than 10, including anyone who operates or rides a personal water craft, or PWC, and certain whitewater areas. On the Saco River from Jan. 1 to June 1, people are required to wear PFDs at all times.
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