Required Boating Safety Equipment

Make sure you carry these items on board to stay safe (and legal!) on the water.

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    Life Jackets

    A properly fitting and serviceable jacket for every person on board.

    Photo of a fire extinguisher

    Fire Extinguisher

    It must be a Coast Guard-approved B1 model.

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    Boats over 16 feet must carry a throwable device.

    Photo of a Falcon Mighty Sound airhorn

    Signaling Device

    A bell, whistle, or horn to warn other boaters.

Visual Distress Signal

For boats under 16 feet, this is required only at night; for boats over 16 feet, this is required both day and night. Different rules apply on small bodies of water, but it's always wise to carry them. 

— Published: Spring 2015

BoatUS Recommends You Should Also Carry These:

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

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



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