ID Depart of Parks & Recreation

Pictured is child and man putting on life jacket.

Officials from Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR) would like to remind parents about Idaho’s life jacket law for kids. According to Idaho law, kids 14 years and younger are required to wear a life jacket on all vessels 19 feet or less, when the vessel is underway.

“County marine deputies have reported numerous instances around the state the past couple years where kids without life jackets are out boating with parents in small motor boats and paddle craft”, says David Dahms, IDPR Boating Program Manager. Idaho’s life jacket law applies to all vessels, including those with a motor and all paddle craft such as rafts, canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, row boats and drift boats. Dahms also notes that life jackets must be Coast Guard approved and be properly fitted.

Kids without a life jacket may be in immediate danger if they fall in the water because of the year-round cold-water conditions prevalent in many of Idaho’s rivers and lakes. Adult operators of a vessel that do not comply with the kids’ life jacket law are subject to a $99 citation.

IDPR strongly encourages all kids and adults to wear a life jacket while boating on any sized vessel. For more information on how to properly fit a life jacket for a child or to get a listing of legally required safety information for your vessel visit

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