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Cold Weather Lifejacket Laws
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Ice on the Rappahannock River

As part of the ACA's role to educate all facets of the paddlesports community, please make sure you follow your local laws, and stay safe out on the water.

Did you know that five states have created new mandatory lifejacket wear laws that apply in cold weather months?


Lifejackets must be worn by anyone in a manually propelled vessel from October 1 through May 31 (must be a Type I, II, III, V or V-hybrid)


All persons canoeing or kayaking on the Saco River between Hiram Dam and the Atlantic Ocean between January 1 and June 1st must be wearing a lifejacket.


Lifejackets must be worn from September 15 - May 15 when operating a canoe or kayak.

New York

No owner or operator of a pleasure vessel lessthan twenty-one feet, including rowboats, canoes, and kayaks shall permit its operation, between November 1st and May 1st, unless each person on board such vessel is wearing a securely fastened United States Coast Guard approved wearable personal flotation device of an appropriate size when such vessel is underway.


Beginning November 1 and lasting through April 30, boaters are required to wear a lifejacket while underway or at anchor on boats less than 16 feet in length or any canoe or kayak.


Special thanks to our partners at the National Safe Boating Council for sharing this information with paddlers.

ACA Mission

Founded in 1880, The American Canoe Association (ACA) is a national nonprofit organization serving the broader paddling public by providing education related to all aspects of paddling, stewardship support to help protect paddling environments, and sanctioning of programs and events to promote paddlesport competition, exploration, and recreation.

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