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Requirement for throwable device #13937156 03/26/21 01:05 PM
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Lee59 Offline OP
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I have a question about throwable devices for boats. I know the requirements for the device. My question is there also a requirement for a rope to be attached to the device? I have not been able to find anything that states a rope is required but also have heard it is in the regulations that rope must be attached. Thanks in advance for any information that can be provided.

Re: Requirement for throwable device [Re: Lee59] #13937232 03/26/21 01:55 PM
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Not that I'm aware of. Been safety checked on the water multiple times. Don't have anything attached to mine and nothing said.


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Re: Requirement for throwable device [Re: Lee59] #13937275 03/26/21 02:29 PM
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The state regulations refer to the USCG regulations, which is quite common for state jurisdiction. While I have seen reference to the idea that a line should be attached to the throwable device to allow for the distance that device may be thrown, I've never seen an actual requirement for it. I've studied both groups' law & regulation in the past and have never seen a legal requirement stated. What will get you in trouble is if it is in a locked compartment, or simply takes a long time to find and get out to show an officer that you do have it. Note that the law says it must be "readily accessible" or "readily available", but I forget which. In practice, officers seem content if you get it out in a brief amount of time - without having to unlock a compartment. Mine is under deck, and I've been asked to show it multiple times without issue when I retrieved it.

A few bite-you things in the regs:
1) Damaged PFDs (think ripped, torn, modified in any way) can get you a citation.
2) Improper fit can get you a citation. Example: an adult PFD is too big for a child.
3) Children 12 and under must wear a PFD at all times if the boat is under way (not anchored, tied to a piling, dock, etc.) Drifting IS under way. I haven't tested use of shallow water anchors like Power Poles, but theoretically these should comply for "not under way."
4) Inflatable PFDs are NOT legal for any child under age 16. You may have wondered why you never see an inflatable in child sizes....
5) The old wives tale that "if you have an inflatable PFD, you must also have a non-inflatable PFD in the boat as well" is NOT TRUE. If a PFD is TYPE I, II, or III, it's your legal PFD, whether it is inflatable or not, and whether you have it on or not - period. Read the label printed on the PFD to find its' rating.
6) A "TYPE V PFD with TYPE III performance when worn" is just what is says. The state does not recognize TYPE V as a legal PFD. However, if a TYPE V PFD says it has TYPE III performance when worn, the state will allow it as your PFD ONLY WHEN YOU ARE WEARING IT. Not recognizing or misunderstanding this is what started the misinformation that to have an inflatable PFD, you must also have a non-inflatable PFD. The cheap TYPE V devices with this limitation in their certification are the cause of quite a few citations. Be careful to read the label on any inflatable PFD. In my view, it's not worth a nickel unless it is a TYPE I, II, or III.
7) If you use an inflatable PFD, it must be "armed and activated" (typically showing a green indicator as readily for deployment. If not, expect a citation if inspected.

Re: Requirement for throwable device [Re: Lee59] #13937666 03/26/21 07:01 PM
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Been asked to see the “goods” twice this year alone. Neither time was a lack of rope attached to my throwable floatation mentioned. Both times they just said “ok”.


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Re: Requirement for throwable device [Re: Lee59] #13937701 03/26/21 07:54 PM
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My record is three times in ONE DAY! I was fishing on a Saturday when the enforcement division was doing training and had multiple groups go out on the water. Three different ones got me; I was ready to give up and go home due to the interruptions. On the third one, I saw them idling toward my boat from their last victim. In a low voice I told my partner "Watch this, but don't stare in their direction." I slowly ramped the TM speed up to max and stayed on it. They eventually had to jump on plane to gain on us. roflmao

Last edited by Flippin-Out; 03/26/21 07:55 PM.
Re: Requirement for throwable device [Re: Lee59] #13937763 03/26/21 08:41 PM
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Lst 2 times I have been checked they did not ask for a thowable.


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Re: Requirement for throwable device [Re: Stump jumper] #13937985 03/27/21 12:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Stump jumper
Lst 2 times I have been checked they did not ask for a thowable.

Technically, one of them didn’t ask to see it, they simply acknowledged it was there when they saw it while I was getting out a life jacket.


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Re: Requirement for throwable device [Re: Lee59] #13938229 03/27/21 04:33 AM
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Lee59 Offline OP
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Thanks for the information!

Re: Requirement for throwable device [Re: Lee59] #13942118 03/30/21 09:42 PM
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As one who has actually had to use a throwable floatation device on a rescue, put some rope on it. Without its not as much help. If they've been treading water or holding on to a boat, the person in the water is pretty much exhausted. At best they will be able to hold on to the floatation device. They're probably not going to swim it back to your boat.

With that said, keep in mind how close you want to get your boat to something hazardous in a time of a rescue. So if you're out on a windy day and a boat is overturned and headed towards the rocks with people in the water, is 5ft of rope enough?

I have about 30ft of line with a heavy spring locking D-ring on one end. The rope is bundled together and in the time of need, snap the d-ring to the float and toss.
My 2cents


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Re: Requirement for throwable device [Re: Lee59] #13942135 03/30/21 09:59 PM
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I had this argument with the Coast Guard one day at Amistad. They insisted the throwable had to have a line attached, but I had a copy of the TPWD Outdoor Annual with me and asked them to show me where it said that. What we finally decided was that saltwater regs DID require a line and freshwater did not. The Coast Guard guys were nice and I was too. This was about 10 years ago, so I'm not sure if the regs were ever changed to match fresh and salt. And like Holzer said, I keep my tow rope with a snap clip in the same box as the trowable so I can hook it up quickly if needed.


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Re: Requirement for throwable device [Re: Texan Til I Die] #13942357 03/31/21 01:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Texan Til I Die
I had this argument with the Coast Guard one day at Amistad. They insisted the throwable had to have a line attached, but I had a copy of the TPWD Outdoor Annual with me and asked them to show me where it said that. What we finally decided was that saltwater regs DID require a line and freshwater did not. The Coast Guard guys were nice and I was too. This was about 10 years ago, so I'm not sure if the regs were ever changed to match fresh and salt. And like Holzer said, I keep my tow rope with a snap clip in the same box as the trowable so I can hook it up quickly if needed.

I agree with what you state, and I'm unaware this has had any change in recent years other than the state adding a few things like inflatable PFDs are only valid for age 16 and up.

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