Accidents on the water happen fast.U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in 81%of recreational boating fatalities in 2021, and that 83%of those who drowned were not wearing alife jacket. In Oregon, 12out of 19fatality victimsin 2021were not wearing a life jacket.That’s why boating safety advocates continue to push for increased and consistent life jacket wear on the water. Worry less when you Wear It!
Life Jackets and Seat Belts -It's Your Choice
Life jacket designs are much more comfortable, lightweight, and stylish than the old, bulky orange style most boaters envision. Life jackets that use inflatable technologies keep the wearer cool and comfortable and resemble a pair of suspenders or a belt pack. Many inflate automatically when immersed in water. The key is to find a life jacket you like and to Wear It!
Life jacket styles are available forany boating activity:
How to Choose the Right Life Jacket
Today’s life jackets come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and materials. No matter which life jacket you choose, be sure it’s right for YOU, your planned activities, and the water conditions you expect to encounter.
Try It On
- Check the manufacturer’s ratings for your size and weight to get started.
- Make sure the life jacket is properly zipped or buckled.
- Raise your arms straight up over your head while wearing your life jacket and grab the shoulder material, gently pulling up.
- If there is excess room above the openings and the life jacket rides up over your chin or face, it does NOT fit properly. A snug fit in these areas signals a properly fitting life jacket.
- It is extremely important that you choose a properly fitting life jacket.
- Life jackets that are too big will cause the flotation device to push up around your face, which could be dangerous.
- Life jackets that are too small will not be able to keep your body afloat.
Important Reminders & Oregon's Life Jacket Laws
- Make sure your life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard-approved.
- Double-check that your life jacket is appropriate for your favorite boating activities.
- Life jackets meant for adults do not work for children. If you are boating with children, make sure they are wearing properly fitted, child-sized life jackets. Do not buy a life jacket for your child to “grow into.”
- It's Oregon state law on recreational vessels underway, children under 13 years old must wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket unless they are below decks or in an enclosed cabin.
- Life jackets are required to be worn in Class III or higher whitewater rapids.
- Life Jacket laws:OAR 250-010-0154
Life Jacket Variety
Be sure the life jacket you wear is US Coast Guard-approved for the activity you're doing
Inflatable Life Jackets
Inflatable life jackets use compressed air cartridges(CO2)and when deployed, fill the life jacket chamber (bladder) which is packed(folded) in a way that allows the jacket to inflate quickly and efficiently. Inflatables provide 45 percent more buoyancy when inflated. This causes a person to float higher and be more visible when the life jacket is inflated. Always read the owner's manual for instructions and manufacturer contact information.
There are two primary types:manual (inflates with the quick jerk of a cord) orautomatic (inflates when submerged in water). Both types can be orally inflated by breathing into an inflation tube/mouthpiece. This is a backup method to inflate the life jacket in case the inflation mechanism malfunctions and gives you the ability to adjust the comfort of the jacket once inflated. The inflation tube is also how you will DEFLATE the life jacket to repack it.
All inflatable life jackets have these components: air holding chamber, source of compressed gas (usually CO2), inflation mechanism to discharge gas from the cylinder into the inflation chamber, inflation tube/mouthpiece to add air to the chamber manually or to deflate, and a manual "jerk to inflate" cord. When wearing any inflatable life jacket, be sure the manual "jerk to inflate" cord is easily accessible.
An automatic inflatable life jacket will automatically inflate when the life jacket is submerged in at least four inches of water, either when a small tablet dissolves in water and causes the inflator to activate or when using an internal water pressure gauge that activates the inflator. In addition to the automatic inflating, every automatic inflatable life jacket has a"jerk to inflate" cord in case the automatic mechanism fails or the life jacket may be inflated by breathing into the inflation tube.
Rearming kits can be purchased through the life jacket manufacturer and many are sold at outdoor/sporting goods stores. Cylinders are single-use only and need to be replaced. Also, cylinders have expiration dates to be mindful of.
Inflatable life jackets are a great option, but also require routine maintenance and regular testing. Please read the label and follow the instructions for maintenance and testing. All inflatable life jackets should be tested annually to make sure the inflation mechanism and regular manual inflation of the jacket hold air. We recommend that you deploy yourinflatable life jacket in a pool to understand how it fits. feels and inflates. Test it. Try swimming in it. Make sure the harness isn't too tight. Get comfortable blowing air into and releasing air, using the inflation tube. Know how to fine-tune adjustments for comfort. The number of incidents where inflatable jackets fail to deploy or show evidence of tampering with the inflation mechanism is on the rise. Not all inflatable life jackets are sold with a CO2 cartridge. Ensure your inflatable is properly armed with the correct CO2 cylinder per the manufacturer's requirements.Learn more about inflatable life jacket maintenance in this US Army Corps of Engineersvideo.
Wearable Offshore Use
Intended for use offshore or potentially rough seas where quick rescue may not be likely. It has a greater flotation value and is designed to turn an unconscious person face-up. It is reversible and is available in two sizes, adult (90 lbs. or more) and child (less than 90 lbs.).
Wearable Inland Use
Designed for general boating activities and is suitable for protected areas, where rough water is not likely to be found or for activities where quick rescue is available. Not suitable for extended survival in rougher cold water. This type of jacket is less buoyant and is designed to turn an unconscious person to a vertical or slightly face-up position. These life jackets are available in several sizes.
Wearable General Use/Impact Activities
Intended for general boating activities or specialized activities such as canoeing, skiing or fishing due to the freedom of movement it allows. These life jacketsare suitable for protected areas where rough water is not likely or where quick rescue is available. This type of jacket provides moderate buoyancy andis designed to provide a stable face-up position in calm water for a conscious person floating with their head tilted back. It is not intended to turn or maintain an unconscious wearer, face-up. These life jackets are available in many sizes, styles, and colors that appeal to all ages and work well with varying boating activities.
Throwable Device (float cushion)
Intended to be thrown to a person who has fallen overboard. This device is designed to be grasped and held by the user until they can be rescued. Not suitable for rough or cold water survival. This type of float cushion is useless to an unconscious or exhausted person and is not recommended for non-swimmers or children. Float Cushions should never be worn on the back. This will force the person’s face underwater. A person overboard should put their arms through the straps and hold the cushion to their chest, which will keep their head out of the water.
Wearable Special Use Devices
This type of life jacket is designed and approved for restricted uses or activities such as sailboarding or commercial whitewater rafting. If it is approved and identified for commercial use only, it does not satisfy requirements for recreational watercraft. The label on the life jacket indicates the restrictions or limitations that apply and its performance type. This type of life jacket is only acceptable when used for the activity for which it is designed and labeled.
A hybrid inflatable life jacket is also a Type V. This type of inflatable has 7.5 pounds of inherent buoyancy when deflated and inflates up to 22 pounds. To count for life jacket carriage requirements, the hybrid inflatable must be worn except when the boat is not underway or when the boater is in an enclosed space, such as the cabin.
Newer life jackets on the market will have different Coast Guard labels. The label on the life jacket indicates the restrictions or limitations that apply and its performance type. Be sure to check the label and ensure that thelife jacket is approvedfor the activity for which it is designed. Types I-V (legacy) life jackets are still approved and accepted for carriage requirements.
Oregon State Marine Board : All About Life Jackets (Personal Flotation Devices or, PFD’s) : Boater Info : State of Oregon (2022) ›
Accidents on the water happen fast.U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in 81%of recreational boating fatalities in 2021, and that 83%of those who drowned were not wearing alife jacket. In Oregon, 12out of 19fatality victimsin 2021were not wearing a life jac...
Important Reminders & Oregon's Life Jacket Laws Make sure your life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard-approved.. Inflatable life jackets use compressed air cartridges(CO2)and when deployed, fill the life jacket chamber (bladder) which is packed(folded) in a way that allows the jacket to inflate quickly and efficiently.. This is a backup method to inflate the life jacket in case the inflation mechanism malfunctions and gives you the ability to adjust the comfort of the jacket once inflated.. All inflatable life jackets have these components: air holding chamber, source of compressed gas (usually CO2), inflation mechanism to discharge gas from the cylinder into the inflation chamber, inflation tube/mouthpiece to add air to the chamber manually or to deflate, and a manual "jerk to inflate" cord.. An automatic inflatable life jacket will automatically inflate when the life jacket is submerged in at least four inches of water, either when a small tablet dissolves in water and causes the inflator to activate or when using an internal water pressure gauge that activates the inflator.. In addition to the automatic inflating, every automatic inflatable life jacket has a"jerk to inflate" cord in case the automatic mechanism fails or the life jacket may be inflated by breathing into the inflation tube.. All inflatable life jackets should be tested annually to make sure the inflation mechanism and regular manual inflation of the jacket hold air.. A hybrid inflatable life jacket is also a Type V. This type of inflatable has 7.5 pounds of inherent buoyancy when deflated and inflates up to 22 pounds.
Learn what equipment you need to carry -what's required by law, and what's recommended for additional safety.
Boats under 26 feet need to carry properly-fitting, U.S. Coast Guard -approved wearable life jacket(s) for each person on board and the life jacket must be readily accessible.. *Motorboats less than 16 feet in length and all paddlecraftneed to carry properly-fitting, U.S. Coast Guard -approved life jacket(s) for each person on board and the life jacket must be readily accessible, but are not required to carry a Type IV throwable cushion.. Boats 26 feet to 40 feet need to carry properly-fitting, U.S. Coast Guard -approved wearable life jacket(s) for each person on board and the life jacket must be readily accessible.. Wearable Life Jackets Boats 40 feet and under 65 feet need to carry properly-fitting, U.S. Coast Guard -approved wearable life jacket(s) for each person on board and the life jacket must be readily accessible.. A boat of more than 39 feet 4 inches (12 meters), but less than 65 feet 6 inches (20 meters) must carry on board a bell and a whistle, or a horn.
Oregon kayaking laws are set and governed by the Oregon State Marine Board. Here’s what you need to know about OR kayaking laws.
Oregon kayaking laws are set and governed by the Oregon State Marine Board.. Oregon Kayaking Laws – Oregon law considers kayaks and canoes to be vessels moved only by paddles or oars and thus non-motorized vessels.. Oregon Kayak Registration – Non-motorized kayaks and canoes under 10 feet in length are exempt from registration.. Motorized Kayak Registration – Both motorized and non-motorized paddlecraft over 10 feet must carry a valid Waterway Access Permit when using public waterways.. Kayak Operator Licensing in Oregon – Persons 16 years or older must have a valid boater education card in order to legally operate a power-driven personal watercrafts over 10 hp.. (see below for kayak and canoe specifics) Kayak Lights Law – All boats, including PWCs, must have running lights between sunset and sunrise.. Oregon Vessel Titling: “Any watercraft with any type of motor must be titled and registered with the Oregon Marine Board.. “All boaters who operate a motorboat over 10 horsepower (hp) and youths 12-15 operating a motorboat of any size are required to take an approved boating safety course and apply/carry a boater education card.” – Oregon State Marine Board.. Youth aged 12 – 15 may operate a motorized vessel of 10 hp or less without adult supervision and may operate above 10 hp if accompanied by a person 16 years or older (18 year or older if the vessel is a personal watercraft).. Those exempt from carrying day signals are recreational vessels less than 16 feet in length, non-motorized sailboats less than 26 feet in length, and non-motorized boats such as canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards.
A life jacket (or Personal Flotation Device - PFD) is the single most important piece of equipment on your boat and the most important consideration should be size. More than two-thirds of all boating fatalities are drowning incidents and 90% of drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket. So buy a life jacket that you will wear ... it could save your life.
Our Life Jacket Loaner Program for kids can help you get the right life jacket for the day or weekend.. Eventually, all new life jackets which are Coast Guard approved and available for purchase in the United States will have these new labels.. This new labeling process is also referred to as life jacket label harmonization, which is an effort to make them more universally understood and accepted, especially in Canada and Europe.. In general, the intent of the new labels is to help users select and care for the appropriate life jacket for the activity in which they are participating.. Any life jacket will the old style label that is still serviceable and in overall good shape, as long as it’s Coast Guard approved, will continue to meet regulatory requirements.. For the time being, most all of the life jackets on the market today in the United States are Level 70 life jackets.. Level 70 Label Decoding - The bold 70 means it’s a Level 70 life jacket which provides performance similar to the Type III life jackets previously available.. Also, on a Level 70 life jacket label, you’ll see a dock and an extended hand with some slightly wavy lines indicating fairly calm water.. In the United States and on navigable waterways, a Coast Guard approved life jacket, properly fitted for the intended wearer must be aboard for each occupant.. Therefore, knowing your life jacket is approved by the Coast Guard to meet carriage requirements is important.. There must be at least one life jacket for each person aboard Life jackets must be properly sized for each person aboard Children under a certain age are required to wear their life jacket (typically under 13 – see state requirements) Participants engaged in certain water sports are required to wear a life jacket (typically skiing and personal watercraft operation – see state requirements) Life jackets must be approved by the U.S. Coast Guard in order to meet requirements These life jackets must be readily accessible and not in an out-of-reach location or in original packaging Any boat 16’ and longer (except canoes and kayaks) must carry a throwable PFD Throwable devices must be immediately available for use such as in the cockpit or near the helm An inflatable life jacket must be properly armed with an unused gas cylinder Inflatable life jackets are authorized for use on recreational boats by a person at least 16 years of age
Although PFDs are meant to be used in sheltered waters and are intended to keep you afloat until help arrives, they may not be suitable for all situations.
A good design PFD will turn you over to face upwards at an inclined angle; – For closed cells foam PFD, check whether the fabric housing the foam is coated.. Poor and inadequate filtration points will affect the performance of the PFD; – Check the label to ensure that it is intended for your weight & size; – Ensure that the Type of PFD that is applicable to the water/ boating activity you intend to engage in.. Test the PFD in water – Wear the PFD according to the instructions given; – Test it in water to ascertain how it performs because an approved PFD does not mean it will perform well for you.. – Relax your body to allow the PFD to perform; – Make sure that your PFD offer you maximum performance in water in that it keeps your chin above water & you can breathe easily.. Types of PFDs Inflatables Closed Cell Foam or Commonly known as Inherently Buoyancy Jackets Hybrid Inflatable PFDs Available for person weighing 40 kg & above.. However, if a person has an automatic inflation PFD, contact with water will activate the mechanism and the PFD will inflate and support the person’s head above water.. Inflatable PFDs are not recommended for non-swimmers unless worn inflated and not recommended for use where water impact is expected such as skiing, white water rafting & personal water use.. Apart from the nature of the foam, weight & design of the PFD also affects the comfort factor Closed Cells Foam PFDs cater for varying weight sizes from children to adults.. PFDs and Children With children, parents need to do the following:- – Teach your children (where appropriate) on how to put on their PFDs & test their PFDs in shallow water to see how the PFDs perform in water.. Useful hints for an inflatable PFD – Check whether it is an approved PFD .
Information on water levels and opportunities for boaters to good launching access
Saddle Mountain boat ramp has approximately 13 feet of water at the bottom of the boat ramp.. UPDATE: Farewell Bend State Park boat ramp has approximately six feet of water at the bottom of the boat ramp.. UPDATE: Moonshine Mine boat ramp has approximately 23 feet of water at the bottom of the boat ramp.. Sturdivant Park boat ramp has approximately three feet of water at the bottom of the boat ramp at ordinary low water.. The Lakeside boat ramp has over 30 feet of water at the bottom of the boat ramp.. UPDATE: State Park G boat ramp has approximately 10 feet of water at the bottom of the ramp.. NEW: North Shore boat ramp has more than 30 feet of water at the bottom of the boat ramp.. UPDATE: Perkins Peninsula boat ramp has approximately three feet of water at the bottom of the boat ramp.. Takelma boat ramp has more than 30 feet of water at the bottom of the boat ramp.. Indian Mary Park, Hog Creek boat ramp and Robertson Bridge boat ramp are open.
The BoatUS Foundation provides this study guide to not only help with passing our free online boating safety course, but to provide a knowledge base for anyone wanting to learn about boating.
Then, test it in the water, make sure your life jacket supports you and keeps your mouth and head clear of the water with no effort on your part.. If you feel comfortable without a life jacket on during calm conditions, always keep your eye on weather and water conditions as they can deteriorate very rapidly.. In congested waterways - Many boats and turbulent water might make it difficult to see you in the water.. Even if you avoid these situations, if you are on an unfamiliar boat, or in unfamiliar waters, you should strongly consider wearing your life jacket.. Jackets must also be of the correct size for the person wearing it, and you must have life jackets READILY AVAILABLE for use.. Since everyone's buoyancy requirements are different based on size, weight, sex, age, percent body fat, and general physical condition you should test your life jacket in the water to make sure it will offer you maximum performance when your life depends on it.. Poor performer in rough water, often requires you to tread water in order to keep your head above water.. Inflatable life jackets require more frequent maintenance than inherently buoyant life jackets.. Inflatables are NOT recommended for individuals who cannot swim (unless worn inflated) and are not for use where water impact is expected, like water skiing or riding a jet ski.. A life jacket is no substitute for adult supervision of children in and around the water.