Keeping Safe On The Water This Summer


Summer days on the water with family and friends are ahead. Here’s a primer on how to keep those days safe and fun for the entire crew.

  • All boats must have one U.S Coast Guard-approved life jacket, also known as a personal floatation device or PFD Type I, II, or III, for each person on board.
  • Life jackets must be in good condition, the appropriate size for the intended wearer, and readily accessible.
  • Boats 16 feet or longer (excluding canoes and kayaks) must also have at least one throwable floatation device (Type IV) such as a ring buoy or boat cushion. This floatation device must be immediately available and within reach of the boat’s operator or passengers.
  • Under Montana law, life jackets must be worn by:
o   kids under 12 years of age in boats less than 26 feet in length and in motion;
o   water skiers, tubers, or anyone being towed by a boat; and
o   anyone operating or riding a personal watercraft such as a wave runner or jet ski.

The importance of life jackets cannot be underestimated. If you’re floating through whitewater, get caught in a storm, or you’re not a good swimmer, wearing a lifejacket could save your life. These rules are there to help keep summer days on the water safe and fun for everyone.