Exemptions Set for Life Vest Use in North Carolina

September 16, 2013

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has exempted surfboards, tubes, swimming rafts and inflatable toys from the requirement to carry personal flotation devices, or life vests.

The exemption was enacted during the commission’s August meeting. Officials say it has been shown that requiring life vests did not significantly enhance safety. Prior to the rule change, anyone on such floating devices outside of a designated swimming area was required to carry a life vest.

Paddleboards, kayaks, canoes and rowboats are not exempt and must have personal floatation devices accessible for each person onboard. The devices must be in good condition and of appropriate size.

Commission members also clarified the definition of competitive paddle or rowing vessels under boating safety rules.

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