You are here: California / Harbors and Navigation Code - HNC / ARTICLE 1. Operation and Equipment [650. - 674.] / Section 658.3.

Section 658.3. (Amended by Stats. 2009, Ch. 610, Sec. 33.)
Cite as: Cal. Harb. & Nav. Code §658.3.

(a)A person shall not operate a motorboat, sailboat, or vessel that is 26 feet or less in length, unless every person on board who is under 13 years of age is wearing a type I, II, III, or V Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device while that motorboat, sailboat, or vessel is underway.

(b)Subdivision (a) does not apply to a person operating a sailboat on which a person who is under 13 years of age is restrained by a harness tethered to the vessel, or to a person operating a vessel on which a person who is under 13 years of age is in an enclosed cabin.

(c)A person on board a personal watercraft or a person being towed behind a vessel on water skis, an aquaplane, or similar device, except for an underwater maneuvering device intended for use by a submerged swimmer, shall wear a type I, II, III, or V Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device. An underwater maneuvering device is a towed or self-powered apparatus that a person can pilot through diving, turning, and surfacing maneuvers that is designed for underwater use.

(1)This subdivision does not apply to a person aboard a personal watercraft or a person being towed behind a vessel on water skis, if that person is a performer engaged in a professional exhibition, or preparing to participate or participating in an official regatta, marine parade, tournament, or exhibition.

(2)In lieu of wearing a Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device of a type described in this subdivision, a person engaged in slalom skiing on a marked course or a person engaged in barefoot, jump, or trick waterskiing may elect to wear a wetsuit designed for the activity and labeled by the manufacturer as a water ski wetsuit. A Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device of a type described in this subdivision shall be carried in the tow vessel for each skier electing to wear a water ski wetsuit pursuant to this paragraph.

(d)The requirements set forth in subdivisions (a) and (c) do not apply to a person operating a motorboat, sailboat, or vessel if the operator is reacting to an emergency rescue situation.

(e)The following definitions govern the construction of this section:

(1)“Enclosed cabin” means a space on board a vessel that is surrounded by bulkheads and covered by a roof.

(2)“Operate a motorboat, sailboat, or vessel” means to be in control or in charge of a motorboat, sailboat, or vessel while it is underway.

(3)“Underway” means all times except when the motorboat, sailboat, or vessel is anchored, moored, or aground.

(f)A violation of this section is an infraction punishable as provided in subdivision (a) of Section 668.





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