Stay Safe ... And Legal

By Michael Vatalaro

You won't pass a vessel safety check without these items onboard.

  • Photo of Mustang survival PFD

    Life Jackets

    A properly fitting and serviceable jacket for all passengers, as well as a throwable device for boats over 16 feet.

    Photo of a fire extinguisher

    Fire Extinguisher

    A single Coast Guard-approved B-1 rated extinguisher satisfies the requirements for motorized boats.

  • Photo of a flare gun

    Distress Signal

    Different rules apply on small bodies of water, but it's always wise to carry both day and night signals.

    Photo of an air horn

    Sound Signal

    Horn, whistle or other sound making device to alert other boaters if you need assistance or to signal a warning.

Considerations For Inboards

Boats with inboards must have a ventilation system, plus carburetor motors require a back-fire flame arrestor. 

— Published: Spring 2014

BoatUS Recommends You Should Also Have:

  • Anchor
  • Bailer
  • Oars/Paddles
  • First-Aid Kit
  • VHF Radio
  • Extra Water/Food
  • Charged Cell Phone
  • Tool Kit
  • Sun Protection
  • Flashlight
  • Float Plan

BoatUS sponsors the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Power Squadrons voluntary Vessel Safety Checks. For more info,


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