CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts State Police are reminding canoeists and kayakers about the use of life jackets begins Thursday.

According to Massachusetts law, all canoeists and kayakers must wear a life jacket while on the water from September 15th through May 15th however, it is safe and responsible to consistently wear a life jacket every time boaters are in the water.

In Massachusetts, children under the age of 12 must wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket while on a boat that is underway. From September 15 to May 15, canoeists/kayakers are required to wear a life jacket. Personal watercraft users and waterskiers must always wear a life jacket.

2021 Recreational Boating Statistics

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 489 people that died in 2021 were caused by drowning. Out of those who drowned, 83% were not wearing a life jacket.