Life jacket, PWC regulations pending in Massachusetts

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Nicole Vasilaros, state government affairs manager for the National Marine Manufacturers Association, testified earlier this week at a hearing in Massachusetts on a bill that would require all adult boaters to wear life jackets on board any boat under 20 feet while the boat is in operation.

Massachusetts law currently requires children under the age of 12 to wear life jackets.

The NMMA strongly supports recreational boating safety through education and certification for all boaters and mandated PFD usage for those riding personal watercraft because of the unique nature of that boating experience, the association said.

The NMMA and the Personal Watercraft Industry Association also expressed support for a bill that would provide robust boater education, phase in certification requirements based on the age of the operator and require universal boater education for PWC users.

Lastly, the two trade groups testified on a bill that would replace state authority by granting municipalities the right to single out PWCs for regulations and bans that would not apply to other boats. The PWIA opposes the legislation because it denies open and equitable access to the state's waterways, according to the group.