Life Jacket Laws in Texas

Life Jacket Laws in Texas – Here’s what you Need to know

We have rarely met someone that doesn’t love having fun in the sun, especially near a body of water where you can enjoy swimming, fishing, boating and other water activities.

Texas has a lot of offer when it comes to water activities, whether it be floating the river, tubing, or enjoying an early morning fishing session.

With 15 rivers and over 7,000 latkes to choose from, water activities are a huge part of life for residents and visitors of Texas.

With all of the fun, there also comes a need for water safety.

So before you grab your friends and family and hit the water, be sure to know the life jacket rules to keep everyone safe!

What You Need to Know about Life Jacket Laws in Texas:

  • All children under 13 years of age on any vessel under 26 feet must wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket unless they are below the deck or in an enclosed cabin
  • All vessels under 16 fee must be equipped with a personal flotation device for each person on board – including canoes and kayaks
  • All vessels 16 feet or longer must have an additional Type IV flotation device on board except kayaks and canoes.
  • Anyone operating a watercraft must wear a life jacket, regardless of their age

According to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, 85% of boating accident fatalities resulted from not wearing a life jacket.

So before going out on the water, make sure you bring enough life jackets for everyone on board and make sure children 13 years of age and under are wearing life jackets when needed.

If you plan on bringing pets, make sure that they are also protected with life jackets for animals.

If you choose to comply, not only could there be risks to your safety, but there are also fines for non-compliance.

In the state of Texas, fines range from $25 – $500.

Life jackets laws in the state of Texas are enforced by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department’s Marine Safety Enforcement Officers.

Lastly, be sure to choose the right type of life jacket.

You want the life jacket to be snug but not too tight and you will want to make sure you choose one that supports your weight.

Life jackets come in all sizes from infant to adult XXL sizes.

Before going on your boat retreat, make sure you have the proper fitting life jackets and enough for everyone on board.

You will be all set for a day of fun on the water and peace of mind knowing everyone in your group is safe should anything go wrong!

Jason David
Jason is a boat enthusiast who's own fiberglass and aluminum boats, as well as Fishing rafts that can hold full size trolling motors. He has experience with Repairing, Detailing, Fixing and upgrading boats for customers and as a hobby for himself. His first boat was a Reinell that was rehab back into shape from storage. Jason enjoys writing about Boating related topics that he has experience with and gives opinions, recommendations and reviews on boating accessories, parts, and water sports.