Group seeks stiffer Coast Guard regulations on life jackets

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The National Boating Safety Advisory Council recently approved a resolution for life jacket wear, asking the Coast Guard to pursue requirements for life jacket wear for recreational boaters in certain circumstances, the Marine Retailers Association of America reported.

The resolution asks the Coast Guard to consider requiring life jackets for boaters on personal watercraft; human-powered vessels, such as canoes or kayaks; any vessel less than 18 feet in length; and any person being towed while engaging in water sports.

The resolution further charges the Coast Guard to work with its partners to design a strategy to engage the boating public through in-person and electronic dialogue on this topic.

The federal government has been pushing for mandatory adult life jacket wear for several years, according to the MRAA. The action of the boating safety council followed a test project by the Army Corps of Engineers on three lakes in Mississippi, Ohio, and California and a recent announcement that the National Park Service was going to initiate a test case of mandatory adult life jacket wear on Lake Mead.

MRAA recently issued a position paper opposing mandatory adult life jacket wear that was distributed to all members and is posted on its website.

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