46 CFR 160.064-3 - Requirements. 1

§ 160.064-3 Requirements. 1

1 The manufacturer of a personal flotation device must meet 33 CFR 181.701 through 33 CFR 181.705 which require an instruction pamphlet for each device that is sold or offered for sale for use on recreational boats.

(a)General. Every water safety buoyant device shall conform to the requirements as accepted by the Commandant for listing and labeling by a recognized laboratory, and shall be of such design, materials, and construction as to meet the requirements specified in this section.

(b)Designs and constructions. Water safety buoyant devices shall be of designs suitable for the purposes intended. A design intended to be worn on the body shall be capable of being adjusted and secured to fit the range of wearers for which designed with as few fastenings or adjustments as are consistent with the purpose of the device. Designs may be varied, but shall not provide means intended for fastening or securing the device to a boat. The arrangement of the buoyancy of devices intended to be worn on the body shall provide for flotation of the wearer in an upright, slightly backward position in the water to as great a degree as is consistent with the special purpose intended, and in no case shall the device have a tendency to turn the wearer face downward in the water. Devices intended to be thrown shall not provide means for adjustment or close fitting to the body. Methods of construction shall provide strengths, with reinforcements where necessary, to be adequate for the intended use and purpose of the device.

(c)Materials. All materials used in any device covered by this subpart must meet the applicable requirements of subpart 164.019 of this chapter and shall be all new materials and shall be suitable for the purpose intended and shall be at least equivalent to corresponding materials specified for standard buoyant vests or buoyant cushions. Hardware or fastenings shall be of sufficient strength for the purpose of the device and shall be of inherently corrosion-resistant material, such as stainless steel, brass, bronze, certain plastics, etc. Decorative platings of any thickness are permissible. Fabrics, coated fabrics, tapes, and webbing shall be selected with a view to the purposes of the device and shall be either mildew resistant or treated for mildew resistance. Buoyancy shall be provided by inherently buoyant material and shall not be dependent upon loose, granulated material, gas compartments or inflation. So long as the minimum required buoyancy is provided by inherently buoyant material, the use of supplementary gas compartments, or inflation, will be permitted to supply additional buoyancy.


(1) Buoyancy for devices to be worn is as follows:

(i) Devices for persons weighing more than 90 pounds must have 15 1/2 pounds or more of buoyancy.

(ii) Devices for persons weighing 50 to 90 pounds must have 11 pounds or more of buoyancy.

(iii) Devices for persons weighing less than 50 pounds must have 7 pounds or more of buoyancy.

(2) Buoyancy for devices to be thrown is as follows:

(i) Ring life buoys must have 16 1/2 pounds or more of buoyancy.

(ii) Foam cushions must have 18 pounds or more of buoyancy.

(iii) A device other than those specified in paragraph (d)(2) (i) or (ii) of this section must have 20 pounds or more of buoyancy.

(3) The buoyancy values required in paragraphs (d) (1) and (2) of this section must be as follows:

(i) For each device containing foam buoyant materials, the required buoyancy value must remain after the device has been submerged in fresh water for 24 or more continuous hours.

(ii) For each device containing kapok, the required buoyancy value must remain after the device has been submerged in fresh water for 48 or more continuous hours.

(e)Workmanship. Water safety buoyant devices covered by this subpart shall be of first class workmanship and shall be free from any defects materially affecting their appearance or serviceability.

[CGFR 64-30, 29 FR 7388, June 6, 1964, as amended by CGD 73-246R, 39 FR 36967, Oct. 16, 1974; CGD 75-008, 43 FR 9772, Mar. 9, 1978; CGD 84-068, 58 FR 29494, May 20, 1993]

This is a list of United States Code sections, Statutes at Large, Public Laws, and Presidential Documents, which provide rulemaking authority for this CFR Part.

This list is taken from the Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules provided by GPO [Government Printing Office].

It is not guaranteed to be accurate or up-to-date, though we do refresh the database weekly. More limitations on accuracy are described at the GPO site.

United States Code
Presidential Documents

Executive Order ... 12234

Title 46 published on 2015-12-02

The following are ALL rules, proposed rules, and notices (chronologically) published in the Federal Register relating to 46 CFR Part 160 after this date.

  • 2016-07-22; vol. 81 # 141 - Friday, July 22, 2016
    1. 81 FR 48220 - Harmonization of Standards for Fire Protection, Detection, and Extinguishing Equipment
      GPO FDSys XML | Text
      Final rule.
      This final rule is effective August 22, 2016. The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the rule is approved by the Director of the Federal Register on August 22, 2016.
      33 CFR Parts 140, 145, 148, and 149
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