Utah Administrative Code

The Utah Administrative Code is the body of all effective administrative rules as compiled and organized by the Division of Administrative Rules (see Subsection 63G-3-102(5); see also Sections 63G-3-701 and 702).

NOTE: For a list of rules that have been made effective since January 1, 2020, please see the codification segue page.

NOTE TO RULEFILING AGENCIES: Use the RTF version for submitting rule changes.

R651. Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation.

Rule R651-215. Personal Flotation Devices.

As in effect on January 1, 2020

Table of Contents

R651-215-1. Definitions.

(1) "PFD" means personal flotation device.

(2) "Vessel length" is the measurement of the permanent part of the hull, from bow to stern, across the deck down the centerline, excluding sheer.

(3) "Wear" means to have the PFD properly worn with all fasteners connected.

(4) "Whitewater canoe" means a one or two person capacity hard hulled canoe designed for white water activities and is equipped with: floatation (e.g., factory end chambers or float bags) and thigh straps or retention devices to hold the operator(s) in the vessel if it rolls.

R651-215-2. Type IV PFD Requirements.

No person shall operate or give permission for the operation of a vessel.

(1) 16 feet to less than 40 feet in length unless there is at least one Type IV PFD on board.

(2) 40 feet or more in length unless there is at least two Type IV PFDs on board, one shall be a minimum 18" ring buoy type with at least 30 feet of rope attached. Where reasonable, one shall be located near the bow and one shall be located near the stern of the vessel.

R651-215-4. Types of Personal Flotation Devices.

Type I - Off-shore Life Jacket - provides the most buoyancy of any type of PFD. Designed to turn the most unconscious wearers to a face-up position in the water. Effective for all waters, especially open, rough or remote waters where rescue may be delayed. Acceptable for use on all vessels.

Type II - Near Shore Buoyancy Vest - is designed to turn some unconscious wearers to a face-up position in the water. Intended for calm, inland waters where there is a good chance of quick rescue.

Type III - Flotation Aid - Good for conscious users in calm, inland waters where there is good chance of quick rescue. Designed so conscious wearers can place themselves in a face up position in the water. The wearer may have to tilt their head back to avoid turning face-down in he water.

Type IV - Throwable Device - Designed to be thrown to a person in the water and grasped and held by the user until rescued. Not designed to be worn.

Type V - Special Use Device - Intended for specific activities and may be carried instead of another PFD if used according to the approval conditions on its label.

R651-215-5. Immediately Available and Readily Accessible.

Type IV PFDs shall be immediately available; all other types of PFD shall be readily accessible, unless wearing is required.

R651-215-6. Type V PFD Carried in Lieu.

A Type V PFD may be carried or worn in lieu of another required PFD, but only if it is used according to the approval conditions on its label.

R651-215-7. Whitewater River PFD Requirements.

On whitewater rivers, as defined in Subsection R651-206-2 (1), Type I or Type III PFDs, are required and shall be used according to the approval conditions on their labels.

R651-215-9. Required Wearing of PFDs.

(1) An inflatable PFD may not be used to meet the requirements of this section.

(2) All persons on board a personal watercraft shall wear a PFD.

(3) The operator of a vessel under 19 feet in length shall require each passenger 12 years of age or younger to wear a PFD. This rule is also applicable to vessels 19 feet or more in length, except when the child is inside the cabin area.

(4) On every river, every person on board a vessel must wear a PFD, except PFDs may be loosened or removed by persons 13 years of age or older on designated flat water river section(s) as listed in Section R651-215-10.

R651-215-10. Designated Flatwater River Sections.

(1) On the Green River:

(a) from Red Creek Camp below Red Creek Rapids to the Indian Crossing Boat Ramp;

(b) from 100 yards below Taylor Flats Bridge to the Utah/Colorado state line in Browns Park;

(c) within Dinosaur National Monument, from the mouth of Whirlpool Canyon to the head of Split Mountain Gorge;

(d) from the mouth of Split Mountain to Jack Creek in Desolation Canyon; and

(e) from the Green River Diversion Dam below Gray Canyon to the confluence with the Colorado River.

(2) On the Colorado River:

(a) from the Colorado/Utah state line to the Westwater Ranger Station;

(b) from Big Hole Canyon in Westwater Canyon to Onion Creek;

(c) from Drinks Canyon, mile 70, to the confluence with the Green River; and

(d) after the last active rapid in Cataract Canyon.

(3) On the San Juan River, after the last active rapid prior to Lake Powell.

R651-215-11. PFDs.

All Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) must be used according to the conditions or restrictions listed on the U.S. Coast Guard Approval Label.


boating, parks

Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment

March 10, 2017

Notice of Continuation

January 7, 2016

Authorizing, Implemented, or Interpreted Law


Additional Information


For questions regarding the content or application of rules under Title R651, please contact the promulgating agency (Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation). A list of agencies with links to their homepages is available at http://www.utah.gov/government/agencylist.html or from http://www.rules.utah.gov/contact/agencycontacts.htm.