(WHTM) – A mandatory cold weather life jacket order is in place for many boaters in Pennsylvania starting November 1.

Since 2012, a person in Pennsylvania is required to wear a Coast Guard-approved PFD from November 1 through April 30 while underway or at anchor on boats less than 16 feet in length. The order also applies to any canoe, paddleboard, or kayak.

The order is in place due to cold water shock when water temperatures are less than 70 degrees. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission says cold water shock causes involuntary gasp, hyperventilation, breathlessness and a reduced ability to control breathing and swim.

The Fish and Boat Commission says a disproportionate number of fatalities occur during the months of November through April and that coldwater immersion is one of the primary reasons.

Waterfowl hunters in small boats are said to be at a greater risk while setting/retrieving decoys, game, or when dogs are on the boat.

The requirement applies to all Pennsylvania waters, including state parks.