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<--Boating Home >You are Here-> Coast Guard Requirements
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Boater's Safety - Marine Navigation

Minimum Equipment Requirements

The Coast Guard sets minimum standards for recreational boats and associated safety equipment. To meet these standards some of the equipment must be Coast Guard approved. "Coast Guard Approved Equipment" meets Coast Guard specifications and regulations for performance, construction or materials.




This chart below defines the minimum equipment
and operating standards as required under federal law.


U. S. COAST GUARD -
MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR RECREATIONAL VESSELS
EQUIPMENT
CLASS A
Less than 16ft/4.9m
CLASS 1
16 to less than 26 ft/7.9m
CLASS 2
26 to less than 40 ft/12.2m
CLASS 3
40 to not more than 65 ft/19.8m
Personal
Flotation
Devices (PFDs)
Safety Gear - Life Jackets
One approved Type I, II, III or V(must be worn) PFD for each person on board or being towed on water skis, tubes, etc. One approved Type I, II or III PFD for each person on board or being towed on water skis, etc.; and one throwable Type IV device. ( A type V PFD may be used in lieu of any wearable PFD, if approved for the activity in which it is being used. A TYPE V HYBRID MUST be worn to be legal.)
Check state laws for PFD requirements
for children and certain water craft & sports.
Safety gear for boatersBell, Whistle Every vessel less than 39.4 ft (12 meters) in length must carry an efficient sound producing device. Every vessel 39.4 ft (12 meters) or larger in length must carry a whistle and a bell. The whistle must be audible for 1/2 nautical mile. The mouth of the bell must be at least 7.87 inches (200mm) in diameter.
Visual Distress
Signals
(Coastal Waters, the Great Lakes &
US owned boats on the high seas)
Required to carry approved visual distress signals for night-time use. Use flares on your boat in case of emergency - Make sure no gas fumes are presentMust carry approved visual distress signals for both daytime and night-time use.
Fire Extinguisher
Use fire extinguishers that are up-to-date(Must be Coast
Guard approved)
One B-I type approved hand portable fire extinguisher. (Not required on outboard motorboats less than 26 ft in length if the construction of the motorboat is such that it does not permit the entrapment of explosive or flammable gases or vapors and if fuel tanks are not permanently installed.) Two B-I type OR one B-II type approved portable fire extinguishers. Three B-I type OR one B-I type PLUS one B-II type approved portable fire extinguishers.
When a fixed fire extinguishing system is installed in
machinery spaces it will replace one B-I portable fire extinguisher.
Ventilation
(Boats built on or after 8/1/80)
At least two ventilation ducts capable of efficiently ventilating every closed compartment that contains a gasoline engine and/or tank, except those having permanently installed tanks which vent outside of the boat and which contain no unprotected electrical devices. Engine compartments containing a gasoline engine with a cranking motor are additionally required to contain power operated exhaust blowers which can be controlled from the instrument panel.
Ventilation
(Boats built before 8/1/80)
At least two ventilation ducts fitted with cowls (or their equivalent) for the purpose of efficiently and properly ventilating the bilges of every closed engine and fuel tank compartment using gasoline as fuel or other fuels having a flashpoint of 110 degrees or less. Applies to boats constructed or decked over after April 25, 1940.

Back-fire
Flame Arrestor
One approved device on each carburetor of all gasoline engines installed after April 25, 1940, except outboard motors.
Be sure to check your own states boating laws as their may
be additional requirements beyond U.S. Coast Guard federal requirements.
 
 
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