Life Jacket Guidelines

Pleasure Craft (Personal Flotation Devices and Operation) (Safety) Regulations 2005

(S.I. No. 921 of 2005)

 The Regulations, which came into effect on 22nd December, replace the Merchant Shipping (Pleasure Craft) (Lifejackets and Operation) (Safety) Regulations 2004.  The 2005 Regulations continue to provide for national provisions governing the operation of pleasure craft, regardless of propulsion, being operated in Irish waters. Pleasure craft include sailboats, personal watercraft (jet skis) and fast power craft (speed boats).


The main provisions of the regulations are:


  • Life jackets/personal flotation devices to be carried on every pleasure craft (other than personal water craft) regardless of the size of the craft.


  • Everyone on board a pleasure craft of less than 7 metres (23 feet) in length must wear a life jacket/personal flotation device.


  • Life jackets/personal flotation devices must be worn by those up to the age of 16 years on all pleasure craft.


  • Lifejackets/personal flotation devices must be worn by persons being towed by a pleasure craft or on board a craft or on board a vessel or object being towed by a craft,


  • Every person on a personal water craft (jet ski) or while being towed by a personal water craft, must wear a life jacket or personal flotation device.


  • Controls on the operation of pleasure craft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and control of consumption of alcohol or drugs, have been extended to all pleasure craft.



The regulations do not apply to rowers involved in ‘Olympic style rowing’.  These are the boats used in rowing events in the Olympic Games and are governed in Ireland by Rowing Ireland.


Also, it is not necessary to wear life jackets/ personal flotation devices when:


  • wearing, putting on, or taking off scuba diving gear when the pleasure craft is not under way


  • involved in swimming or snorkelling when the pleasure craft is not under way


 Pleasure Craft Regulations 2005


Please note this advice is designed to provide basic guidance. It is NOT a complete authoritative statement of the law. The regulations are available on the Department of Transport website:


For more information contact:
Ms Lorraine McGurk
Maritime Safety Directorate
Department of Transport
Leeson Lane
Dublin 2

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