News  Wear your life jacket

Wearing a properly fitted personal flotation device could save your life.
  • Division of Fisheries and Wildlife

Media Contact   for Wear your life jacket

Media Contact, MassWildlife

wear a properly-fitted life jacket when boating

With nearly 1,500 miles of coastline, four major river systems, and hundreds of lakes and ponds, Massachusetts offers great opportunities to get out on the water. As warmer weather arrives, and to recognize National Safe Boating Week (May 18–24), the Massachusetts Environmental Police and MassWildlife remind boaters and anglers to put safety first by wearing life jackets.

Warmer days of spring can often mask water temperatures that are still dangerously cold. If you capsize or fall overboard, you can develop hypothermia within minutes. Hypothermia, the lowering of your internal body temperature, can make it difficult for you to swim, paddle, or stay afloat. A sudden, unexpected fall into cold water can also cause you to involuntarily gasp and ingest water, which can lead to death by drowning. Your life jacket may not prevent hypothermia, but it will help you stay afloat, and it can save your life. Boating fatality victims were often not wearing life jackets. 

Click here to learn about life jackets, including how to choose the right type, how to get a proper fit, and more. 

Safety advocates recommend all boaters and passengers have a life jacket and wear it at all times while boating. 

In Massachusetts, life jackets must be worn by: 

  • Canoeists and kayakers from September 15 to May 15
  • Youth under 12 years old
  • Personal watercraft users
  • Water skiers
  • Stand-up paddleboard users

Media Contact   for Wear your life jacket

  • Division of Fisheries and Wildlife 

    MassWildlife is responsible for the conservation of freshwater fish and wildlife in the Commonwealth, including endangered plants and animals. MassWildlife restores, protects, and manages land for wildlife to thrive and for people to enjoy.
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