US Coast Guard Recommends a Baseline of Measures to Keep Your Boat Safe for the Season
The US Coast Guard Auxilliary has provided an online resource to make sure your boat is compliant for water safety. These necessary steps are a good foundation for your time spent on the water. Boating veterans know that overlooking the small things may wind up to be a big issue during the season.
Walk through the following checklist to complete a virtual self-examination:
Display of Numbers: Your boat's registration number must be permanently attached to each side of the forward half of the boat.
Registration / Documentation: State Registration or U.S. Coast Guard Certificate of Documentation papers must be current, on board, and available.
Personal Flotation Devices (PFD): Acceptable PFDs must be U.S. Coast Guard-approved, in good serviceable condition, and of suitable size for each person on your boat.
Visual Distress Signals (VDS): Recreational boats 16 feet + used on coastal waters or the Great Lakes are required to carry a minimum of either 1) three-day and three-night pyrotechnic devices, 2) one-day non-pyrotechnic device (flag) and one night non-pyrotechnic device (auto SOS light) or 3) a combination of 1) and 2).
Fire Extinguishers are required if one of the following conditions exists: (1) Inboard engine(s); (2) Closed compartments that store portable fuel tanks; (3) Double-bottom hulls not completely sealed or not completely filled with flotation materials; (4) Closed living space; (5) Closed stowage compartments that contain flammable materials; or (6) Permanently installed fuel tanks. NOTE: Fire extinguishers must be on board and in good and serviceable condition.
Sound Producing Devices / Bell: To comply with Navigation Rules and for distress signaling purposes all boats must carry a sound producing device (whistle, horn, siren, etc.) capable of a 4-second blast audible for ½ mile. Boats larger than 65 ft. are also required to have a bell.
Navigation Lights: All boats must be able to display navigation lights between sunset and sunrise and in conditions of reduced visibility.
State and/ or Local Requirements: Requirements must be met before the "Vessel Safety Check" decal can be awarded. A boat must meet the requirements of the state in which it is being examined. Contact your local marine law enforcement agency.
Overall Vessel condition: Including, but not limited to: Deck free of hazards and clean bilge; Safe electrical and fuel systems; and Safe galley and heating systems.
You can access the official US Coast Guard safety checklist form here. Here’s to a great season on the water!
Safe Boating Checklist
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