Do I Have to Wear a Life Jacket While Kayaking?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

You’ve purchased your kayak and kayak life jacket and are ready to enjoy nature. One of your first questions will be:

Do I have to wear a life jacket while kayaking?

  • Federal law (US) states ages 13 and under must wear a kayak life jacket
  • Over 13 and the kayak life jacket must be in the kayak

A kayak life jacket is safety equipment. Lifejacket or Personal Flotation Device (PFD) is the first most crucial thing a kayaker should put on before sitting in the Kayak.

The water current is unpredictable, and safety comes first everywhere, so to avoid drowning, a life jacket is necessary. There are many cases where the majority of the victims lose their life during a boat accident.

There are different types of life jackets available in the store. Each designed for different water conditions, boating activities, own maximum buoyancy, limitations, and each life jacket has its performance level

A kayak life jacket should be picked the right size and based on the boating activities. The U.S. Coast Guard should approve the life jacket for covering carriage requirements.



The laws of Personal Floating Device differs from state to state, so it is essential to know the state laws where you want to paddle. According to federal law, any person under the age of 13 it is compulsory to put on a Personal Floating Device during the boating activities. And for those above 13, one Personal Floating Device for each must be kept in the boat.


Things to consider

  • Get a kayak life jacket that fits your size
  • Never take them off even if it’s too hot or uncomfortable
  • Get a visible color life jacket such as yellow, orange and lime green so that you can be spotted by other boats or from the air


Best Kayak Life Jackets 


  • Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Paddlesports Life Jacket for Kayaking

If you want the best Kayak Personal Floating Device, this model is the best to go for. It has everything a buyer is looking for; It is light, reliable, and comfortable to wear. This life vest has a zip pocket allowing you to take any waterproof items.


  • Onyx Curve MOVEMENT Paddle Sports PFD Kayak Life Jacket

Technically this is an excellent choice for watersports; this life jacket is one of the top-rated for canoeing and the best choice for experienced and professionals kayakers. It is reliable and durable, comes with multiple colors and is very accurate in size.


  • ONYX Universal Paddle PFD Kayak Life Jacket

This model may not be fancy as the other models but is the most affordable PDF; it is comfortable and reliable to use. This life jacket is crafted beautifully, and the quality is also good. It comes with two sizing options the regular and the oversize and two colors turquoise and red.


  • ONYX MoveVent Torsion Paddle Sports Life Kayak Life Jacket

If you are going for an epic kayak adventure, this life jacket is what you need. This life vest stands out for its adjustable shoulder pads, expandable zip pocket, reflecting fabric, floating capacity, and many more.


  • Stohlquist Men’s Ebb Kayak Life Jacket

This life jacket is designed especially for men with foam fabric to keep it fresh and multi ways to adjust. This vest will perfectly fit anyone regardless of any body shape.



Wearing a life jacket will enhance your survivability if an accident occurs. Stay safe and wear a life jacket all the time. Thank you for reading our article about do I have to wear a life jacket while kayaking.


Other common questions for Kayak 101 beginners:

Do kayaks need to be registered in PA?

How can I ship a kayak?

Do you need a license to kayak?

Do you have to register a kayak?

Do you need to register a kayak in Ohio?

Can I kayak with my dog?

How to hang my kayak in the garage?


References Link: