This is quite possibly the 'hottest' topic in the greater recreational boating world, if it's not number 1, it's definitely in the top 3!
In regards to lifejacket wear for paddlesports: for some it truly is a no brainer, whereas others feel it should be their choice. The background research on this topic has been extensive and it culminated in the National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) making a resolution to the USCG in 2011. Currently the USCG has not decided how it will proceed at this time. On the other hand, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a mandatory wear program already in place.
Please follow the below links to additional information pertaining to lifejackets: