Boating and Babywearing

Let’s talk about boats and babies!  One question we hear frequently in Maryland is “Can I wear my baby on a boat?”  The short answer is  . . . No.  We are huge fans of babywearing!  #WEARALLTHEBABIES!  However, in a boat, babies should wear a life jacket.

Maryland law states that all children under the age of 13 must wear a coast guard approved Personal Floatation Device (PFD) while on a boat that is under 21 feet long. This includes recreational vessels like ski boats, kayaks, canoes, rowboats, etc.  The life jacket should be the appropriate size for the child and in good condition.  Children under the age of four must have a life jacket that has a strap that goes between the child’s legs, a headrest, and a grab handle.

According to the law, children are required to use a life jacket any time the boat is not docked or anchored and any time the child is above deck (if the boat has a lower level).

In the event of an emergency while boating, if your baby is strapped to you in a baby carrier (rather than in a PFD), it would be very difficult (maybe impossible) to keep your baby’s head above water. Don’t take the risk.  Use a PFD.
So bring your carrier along.  It can make a lovely sun shade or cushion. You can use it when you arrive at your destination.  In a boat, always use a coast guard approved PFD.


For more information on Maryland PFD Laws, see the MD Department of Natural Resources Website here:

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