Friday, April 4, 2008

Equipment Required For Small Boats

Here is a list of equipment that is required on board vessels in U.S. waters. However, safety equipment requirements vary from country to country, so boaters need to check the requirements of the country where they plan to do their boating.

Owner’s / Ship’s Documents:

Carry either State registration or documentation papers. The U.S. Coast Guard is also going to ask you for a pictured identification card.

PFDs: PFDs (Personal Floatation Devices) are life jackets and you must have one for every person on board.

Throwable Flotation Device: A throwable flotation device can be a life ring or a flotation cushion, etc. All vessels 16 ft. and over must have one or more of these aboard.

Fire Extinguisher: A Coast Guard approved fire extinguisher must be aboard any boat that has an engine in an enclosed space or a fuel tank that is in a compartment. The larger the boat, the more fire extinguishers / fire suppression systems you are required to have.

Visual Distress Signals: Visual distress signals are required for both day and nighttime sightings. Distress signals, such as red flares, universal distress flags, orange smoke, etc, must be aboard all boats operating in federal waters. They must also be up to date.

Proper Ventilation: All gasoline powerboats with an inboard engine, permanently installed fuel tanks and an enclosed bilge area, must be properly ventilated. Also, all gasoline powerboats built after 1 August 1980 must have a working bilge blower with a reminder sign (to run the blower) located near the ignition switch.

Flame Arrestor: All gasoline powered boats (except outboards) must have a Coast Guard approved backfire, flame arrestor attached to each carburetor or throttle body. Remember, they must not be covered with grease or oil. Cleaning your flame arrestor every spring is a must!

Sound Making Device: All vessels operating in federally controlled waters must have a working horn or whistle aboard. For vessels less than 65.6 ft. long, the whistle or horn must be capable of producing a blast of 4 seconds and be audible for at least ½ mile.

Navigation Lights: All power vessels, that are allowed to operate after sunset, must have a working set of navigation lights.

A Green Light – showing from dead-ahead to 112.5 degrees down the starboard side of your boat.
A Red Light – showing from dead-ahead to 112.5 degrees down the port side of your boat.
A White Masthead Light - showing through 225 degrees.

A White Stern Light - that shows from dead-astern to 67.5 degrees on both sides of the stern (135 degrees).