UPDATE: April 6, 2011.  A Massachusetts bill proposing that everyone aboard boats under 20 feet be required to wear PFDs did not win support at a state house hearing on April 5. According to The Patriot Ledger, the Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security heard from state legislators opposing the bill, then asked to hear from bill supporters,  but no one came forward.

The original Boats.com post on the Massachusetts bill follows below.


According to an urgent letter sent out on April 4th by Margaret Podlich, Vice President of BoatUS Government Affairs, boaters and voters in the state of Massachusetts need to be aware of Massachusetts House Bill 646, which would amend existing state safe-boating laws to require that everyone on boats less than 20 feet in length be required to wear PFDs at all times when boats are in operation.


The new Massachusetts bill would require everyone on board a vessel under 20’ to wear PFDs when in operation. Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard.

Podlich says that BoatUS members have expressed “significant concern” about the prospect of such a requirement, and encourages Massachusetts residents to contact their representatives and weigh in on the matter.

Proposed Bill H00646 will be considered by the Massachusetts legislature on April 5th, 2011 at 1:00 p.m.

Here’s the pertinent quote from the text of the bill:

massachusetts-sealSECTION 1. Section 5A of Chapter 90B of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2008 Official Edition, is hereby amended, by inserting at the end thereof, the following sentence:-

Any person on a vessel, under twenty feet in length, that requires a life saving device is required to wear said device at all times during the operation of said vessel.

Source: Massachusetts State Legislature

Massachusetts residents: Find out how to contact your elected officials

—Doug Logan