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New Boating Safety Requirements in NC


Posted on Sep 17, 2013

flotation device requirementsNorth Carolina boating accidents occur all over the state and on all sizes of watercraft. From stand-up paddleboards and kayaks, to speedboats and fishing charters, accidents happen anywhere on the water. Watercraft are required to have a proper flotation device accessible to each person on board - if they meet certain requirements.

As the 2013 boating season came to a close, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission announced exemptions to the rule regarding flotation devices. The list below includes newly recognized exemptions as well as former exemptions. The following vessels do not require individuals to have flotation devices:

  • Surfboards
  • Inflatable tubes and rafts
  • Inflatable toys
  • Sailboards
  • Racing shells
  • Rowing sculls
  • Racing canoes and racing kayaks


The flotation device requirement still applies to:

  • Kayaks and canoes
  • Paddleboards
  • Rowboats

Flotation devices are excellent pieces of boat safety equipment when they are sized and worn appropriately for each individual. Although flotation devices cannot prevent all injuries, they reduce signficant risks. Individuals may panic in a boating accident, lose consciousness if they hit their head, or not be strong enough to handle violent weather conditions. A life vest ensures they will be near the surface where a rescuing party can find them.

Oxygen deprivation in near-drowning accidents or head trauma can cause brain injuries. The symptoms of a brain injury may begin right away, or they may develop weeks, months, or years in the future. This is just one example why it is important for boating accident victims in North Carolina to speak with a lawyer who has experience both with maritime law in boating accidents and cases of traumatic brain injuries. Request a free case evaluation.

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