Utah proposing to eliminate throw bag for throwable PFD rule for rafters

posted February 23, 2017
by Evan Stafford

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The state of Utah is proposing to eliminate their current rule that allows boaters to bring a throw bag on trips instead of a throwable personal flotation device. Federal Coast Guard rules require that all boats greater than 16 feet in length contain a throwable PFD. Utah's rule allowing throw bags better accomplishes safety goals than the Coast Guard rules, however the state has determined that they do not have the authority to waive the Coast Guard requirements. If Utah eliminates their rule, rafters with 16+ foot boats will once again have to carry a throwable PFD.
 
American Whitewater would like to see the state of Utah and the Coast Guard work together to change the Coast Guard's rules as they relate to river travel in order to allow for a throw bag to be carried instead of a throwable PFD. Utah's existing policy seems like a superior one to us, and we'd like to see it adopted nationally rather than eliminated.
 

Paddlers that have an opinion on this proposed rule change are encouraged to contact Tammy Wright by e-mail at tammywright@utah.gov and to cc the National Boating Safety Advisory Committee (NBSAC) at NBSAC@uscg.mil. Written comments could include the following request: "I would like to see the state of Utah and the Coast Guard work together to change the Coast Guard's rules as they relate to whitewater river travel in order to allow for a throw bag to be carried instead of a throwable PFD. It would be great if the CFR Title 33 Subsection 175.15 could include an exemption from the requirement to carry a Type IV PFD or throwable PFD for vessels on river sections where PFDs are required to be worn, if a throw bag with a minimum of 40 feet of line is carried.”