Starting November 1, 2009 there is a new lifejacket law in New York State.
Essentially what the law says is that during the coldest months of the year (Nov 1 – May 1), anyone on the boat has to have a lifejacket, regardless of age. This is a sensible change to the law that codifies what everyone is probably already (or should be doing) doing on their own.
The law states:
No owner or operator of a pleasure vessel less than twenty-one feet, including rowboats, canoes, and kayaks shall permit its operation, between November first and May first, unless each person on board such vessel is wearing a securely fastened United States Coast Guard approved wearable personal flotation device of an appropriate size when such vessel is underway.
Failure to wear a lifejacket on such vessels will be considered a violation under Section 73-c if the Navigation Law and is punishable by a fine of not less than $25 nor more than $100, applicable to either the operator and/or the owner of the vessel.
New York State Lifejacket laws for the warmer months require boaters under the age of 12 to wear PFDs (personal floatation devices). In addition, all pleasure boats are required to have at least one PFD for each person on the boat. Older boaters are not always required to actually wear their PFD, check the law for details.