The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) will require all canoers, kayakers, and paddleboarders to wear a life jacket starting April 2. Violators may face a $100 fine. The change comes after three kayaking-related deaths last year, where none of the victims were wearing a life jacket. The DEM’s Boating Safety Coordinator, Captain Michael Schipritt, is implementing these changes in response to preventable paddle craft accidents. Other safety regulations include banning anyone from riding on the bow of a powerboat unless it has bow seats, requiring boaters to slow down near emergency vessels, and ensuring boat fire extinguishers are not past their expiration date. Interested individuals can obtain a full list of updated boating rules and regulations via the DEM’s website.

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