Following is the U.S. Coast Guard list of minimum required safety
equipment. Winter is a good time to review these items to assure
they are up to standard and in sound operating condition.
Approved personal flotation devices for every person on
boats of any length, including canoes, kayaks or on water skis,
plus at least one throwable Type IV PFD for boats over 16 feet.
When no fixed fire extinguisher system is installed in machinery
spaces, at least one B-I type approved hand-portable extinguisher
(except on non-commercial outboard motor boats under 26 feet
and with no closed spaces for the entrapment of vapors), two
such extinguishers for boats 26-40 feet, and at least three
(or a B-I and B-II approved unit) for boats 40-65 feet.
When a fixed system is in place, at least
one B-I extinguisher for 26-40 feet, and at least 2 B-Is or
a B-I and B-II for 40-65 feet.
Ventilation system must be functional, free of obstructions,
and intact; winter is a good time to check for duct leaks and
to replace worn mechanical parts.
Is your whistle, horn or other sound signal- ing device
or system clean, intact and fully operational? On boats between
12 and 20 meters, this requirement includes an approved bell.
Every inboard gasoline engine must be equipped with an acceptable
backfire flame arrester.
Check the rules on visual distress signals, which vary by
size, type and use of boat and hours of operation. Then check
the flares and related systems or other devices to guarantee
their integrity and utility.
Make sure your navigation lights conform to all International
or Inland Navigation Rules.
The American Boating Association
PO Box 690
New Market, MD 21774