Did you hear?... The Professional Paddlesports Association continues to monitor U.S. Coast Guard actions regarding mandatory PFD use for children

The Professional Paddlesports Association (PPA) continues to monitor U.S. Coast Guard actions regarding mandatory PFD use for children.
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The Professional Paddlesports Association (PPA) continues to monitor U.S. Coast Guard actions regarding mandatory PFD use for children. In recent weeks, the Coast Guard issued and then withdrew a regulation requiring children under age 13 to wear PFDs. The agency's decision to revoke its short standing rule leaves the future of mandatory PFD use in question. Earlier this year, the Coast Guard issued a new regulation, which mandated PFD use by children under 13. On March 27, the Coast Guard withdrew the new rule in response to questions raised by the State of Ohio regarding enforcement of the rule in states where state law and the new regulation are contradictory. Rules for PFD use for children have been historically handled by individual states. As recently as 12 years ago only half of U.S. states had enacted statutes requiring PFD use by children. By 1999, 36 states had adopted such regulations. However, laws vary widely from state to state. Some call for PFD use for children under 18. Others target children under six. State laws also vary by length of vessel and whether the boat is in motion or not. According to a source at the Coast Guard, the withdrawal essentially means a new rule won't take affect this boating season. The Coast Guard expects to publish an interim final rule within 60-90 days addressing the issue again. According to the Coast Guard source, a new final rule won't be come this year. A new comment period will open on the interim rule when it is published. For more information and clarification on the pending issues, the PPA encourages calls to Executive Director Matt Menashes at 703-451-3864.

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