Tennessee Life Jacket Laws

Tennessee Life Jacket Laws
Driving a boat in Tennessee assumes a certain level of qualification. You are expected to know the law. While a Boating Safety Education Certificate (or national equivalent) is required of everyone born after January 1, 1989, this does not excuse other drivers from acting responsibly. One of the most important elements of the state of Tennessee's aquatic bylaws are those rules governing the use of life jackets. Knowing what the state requires in terms of life jackets and life-saving devices is more than just a legal matter, it can also keep you safe on the water.

Approved Devices

To meet the legal requirements of a life jacket, life vests must be approved by the United States Coast Guard. Furthermore, they must be wearable. All life jackets are labeled with a "Type" designation that will indicate its approval by the USCG. Approved types are labeled I, II, III or V.

Number Requirement

All vessels are required by law to have one approved life jacket for every person aboard the boat. The life jackets aboard must be in good condition and suitable to the people using the craft. That means that six adult life jackets are not legally adequate to serve a boat with five adults and a child aboard.

Throwing Devices

A U.S. Coast Guard approved throwing device is required on all vessels over 16 feet in length. You can tell that a throwing device is USCG approved if it has a "Type IV" designation.

Personal Watercraft

Anyone operating a personal watercraft, such as a jet-ski, are required to wear a USCG approved life jacket at all times. The life jacket must be of type I, II or III.

Article Written By Louie Doverspike

Based in Seattle, Louie Doverspike has been a professional writer since 2004. His work has appeared in various publications, including "AntiqueWeek" magazine, the "Prague Post" and "Seattle Represent!" Doverspike holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Hamilton College.

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