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  • (1A) “No person may operate a recreational vessel underway with any child under 13 years old aboard unless each such child is below decks, in an enclosed cabin, or wearing a Coast Guard approved personal flotation device of the proper size.” 
  • Coast Guard guidance is that babies should not travel on any kind of boat until they are at a weight (~18 lbs) to be able to wear their own well-fitted PFD. All children under age 13 must wear a USCG-approved PFD. 
  • No one under the age of 18 may operate a launch without having passed a boating safety class. MPD Harbor regulation 1026.5 In general junior athletes should not be allowed to drive safety launches.
  • Infants in child carriers (i.e. bucket seats, car seats) are not permitted as they are not USCG-approved PFDs and are not considered stable while sitting unattached to the launch.


Neither USCG nor DC regulations provide information pertaining to pets, but if coaches are bringing pets into their launch, they are doing so acknowledging that those pets are diminishing the weight limit that might otherwise be used for persons in distress. Every time a coach launches with another living person or creature in their launch, they should be doing so fully understanding that they are solely responsible for that person’s or creature’s well-being, in addition to that of their athletes, until they return to the dock. The launch should be kept with a minimum of passengers to allow for room in the event individuals need rescue from the water is necessary.