We've had some questions about life jacket requirements, especially for children. General advice from those of us who have been coming here "forever" is to wear a life jacket. This means even (and especially) on paddle boards, paddle boats, and kayaks etc. If you are out by yourself a good distance from shore, a life jacket makes it easier to recover from an accident. There are lots of big boats out there (making big waves) and they may not see smaller craft. You may be a strong swimmer, but helping someone in a panic can sap your energy and strength very quickly. Life jackets just make everything safer. As my grandmother used to say, "a life jacket on a kid also serves as a handle." You can easily grab onto a life jacket on a wet kid, which makes it important that the life jacket fit properly. A snug fit is a proper fit. See: https://www.longlakeliving.org/2018/07/lake-life-safety.html
From the DNR:
Child Life Jacket Wear Law Summary
A legal measure that went into effect in 2005 requires children under age ten to wear a life jacket while boating in Minnesota.
Requires life jacket to be worn by children less than 10 years of age when aboard watercraft in Minnesota when the craft is under way (not tied up at a dock or permanent mooring).
Selecting a life vest for your child »
Wear your life jacket, get a treat »
- When in an enclosed cabin or below the top deck on a watercraft.
- When on an anchored boat that is a platform for swimming or diving.
- When aboard a charter (passenger) craft with a licensed captain.