What Safety Equipment Is Required on a Boat?

April 22, 2021 6:26 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Taking a boating safety course is required by law in California, and the knowledge gained from such a course could prove to be invaluable. One of the things you’ll learn is what safety equipment needs to be on any boat you operate, and how to use that equipment correctly.

California law has different equipment requirements for different sized boats, so the equipment we’ll be covering here will pertain to motorboats that are 26 feet long or shorter. Once you’ve taken your boating safety course and have procured all the necessary safety equipment, you’ll be ready to visit the marina in Lewiston, CA in no time. Here’s what you’ll need.

Life jackets

A requirement for motorboats of all sizes, life jackets must be in a serviceable condition, easily accessible and the proper size for potential wearers. There must be at least one life jacket on board for each person on the boat. The life jackets must be U.S. Coast Guard approved, and all children under the age of 13 must wear one if the boat is moving, unless they are in an enclosed cabin.

Fire extinguisher

If no fixed fire extinguishing system is installed on the craft, then at least one U.S. Coast Guard approved Type B-1 fire extinguisher must be on board the boat.

Backfire flame arrestor

This device is related to engine safety and is a requirement for inboard gasoline motors that aren’t exposed to the open air above the gunwale level. Its purpose is to prevent gasoline vapors from igniting in the event of the engine backfiring.

Muffling system

Each internal combustion engine must be outfitted with an effective muffling system. This is to prevent hearing loss, and to allow whoever is on the boat to hear each other.

Sound signaling devices

Boats less than 12 meters in length are required to have the ability to make an efficient sound signal, but it doesn’t have to be equipped with a bell or whistle. A fixed or portable air horn or electric horn would suffice as an adequate sound signaling device.

Visual distress signals

In California, these are only required for boats over 16 feet in length sailing in coastal waters. Boat operators must have at least one of the following visual distress devices that are suitable for day or night use: handheld red flares, floating orange smoke distress signals, pistol-projected parachute red flares, handheld red rocket-propelled parachutes, handheld orange smoke distress signals, red aerial pyrotechnic flares, orange flags or electric distress lights for boats.

Navigation lights

Navigation lights must be operable and turned on between sunset and sunrise and when visibility is low. If possible, a sailing vessel can display sidelights and a stern light or a lighted lantern emitting a white light, which must be shown in sufficient time to prevent a collision.

Not required but recommended

Though not required by law, you should pack at least one throwable floatation device and a VHF radio in case you need to call for help.

Now you’re ready to hit the water

This list is not exhaustive, and doesn’t include things that you should carry anyway, like a first aid kit, and an anchor with a line. Fortunately, if you come to Trinity Alps Marina in Lewiston, CA this June, our staff have the marine experience and the right equipment on site to ensure you’re properly prepared and ready to get out on the lake and have some unforgettable summer fun.

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