Boating Laws and Safety Equipment

Boating Laws and Safety Equipment



voting is a highly regulated recreational activity and there may be occasions when a law enforcement officer will inspect your boat for equipment and legal compliance the boat operator has the responsibility of ensuring the safety of all passengers and this includes making certain all required safety equipment is on board the boat and ready to use if stopped by a marine patrol officer slow down and bring your boat to a stop if it is safe to do so once stopped wait for further directions from the officer generally the officer will maneuver the patrol boat to you only law enforcement boats are allowed to display a blue light as we talk about the legal requirements for recreational voting keep in mind that each state has different boating laws if you vote in California one weekend then in Nevada the next you will be operating under two different sets of rules while state laws vary from state to state the boating laws established by the federal government and enforced by the US Coast Guard are standardized throughout the country this video discusses the federal boating laws your manual is supplemented with your state specific laws make sure you read and understand your state laws and if you have any questions please contact your state voting officials for specific information all states require undocumented vessels equipped with propulsion machinery to be registered in the state of principle use which is defined as more than 180 days per year titling your boat is required in some states a certificate of number registration card will be issued when you register your boat the numbers assigned on the card must be properly displayed on your vessel the owner operator of a vessel must carry a valid certificate of number on the boat whenever it's underway registered boats must properly display the assigned numbers the number needs to be displayed in the following manner numbers must be permanently attached to the forward half of the vessel generally the bow area they must be at least 3 inches in height block style letters and numbers contrast in color to the hull and properly spaced most states require the currency decal be displayed within six inches of the red raishin number again check your manual for your state's requirements numbers must be painted or permanently attached with the exception of the state decal no other letters or numbers may be displayed near the registration number if your boat is eligible it may be federally documented instead of state registered if you decide to document your boat follow these requirements the official documentation must be carried onboard a documented vessel at all times documented vessels must comply with all state and federal laws and a registration fee and display of validation sticker are still required in some states the main beam number must match the official number on the document and the name and hailing port of the boat must be displayed at least once on the hull at least four inches in height and contrasting in color to the hull periodically check to see that the numbers and decals are in good condition before getting underway you will need to ensure your boat has all the required safety equipment these requirements are the core requirements that all boater operators must follow when operating a boat on navigable waters in addition to the core requirements your state may have additional requirements lifejacket vest personal flotation device PFD whatever you call them they are the single most important piece of safety gear for all boaters the lifejacket like the inflatable one I'm wearing around my waist or the traditional model is a single most important piece of safety gear for any voter isn't that reason enough to buy a good quality life jacket and wear it always lifejackets come in a variety of shapes colors and materials some are made for rugged use while others are made to protect you from cold water no matter which lifejacket you choose be sure to get one that is right for you your planned activities and the water conditions you expect to encounter read the inside label of a lifejacket for restrictions size weight and Coast Guard approval most lifejackets are made for general boating activities but some are only for specific activities read the label to ensure the lifejacket is appropriate for the intended wearer and activity there must be a wearable Coast guard-approved lifejacket of type 1 2 3 or 5 for each person on a boat the type 4 throwable VFDs are special use devices they include seat cushions ring boys and horseshoe boy styles at least one type 4 must be on most boats 16 feet or longer in addition to the required wearable lifejackets check your manual for your state specific requirements to ensure the lifejacket you select fits properly follow these recommended steps put on the lifejacket ensuring all straps zippers and ties are fastened firmly and correctly raise your arms over your head and reach for the sky at the same time have someone firmly lift the lifejacket straight up by the shoulders the lifejacket must stay in place if it rises above your nose or mouth so will the water inflatable lifejackets are not to be worn by anyone under 16 years of age personal watercraft writers skiers tubers wakeboarders or while boating in whitewater the type 4 throwable PFDs are special use devices they are designed to be thrown to a person in the water they can be worn but only by holding the device to a person's chest keep your lifejacket in good and serviceable condition any deterioration could diminish the performance and it may not meet inspection requirements an inflatable lifejacket including the inflatable components of a hybrid inflatable must be equipped with a properly armed inflation mechanism complete with a full inflation co2 cartridge and all status indicators showing that the inflation mechanism is properly armed remember there must be a wearable lifejacket for each person on the boat it has to be Coast Guard approved in good and serviceable condition and of the appropriate size for the intended wearer wearable lifejackets must be readily accessible your type for throwable PFD must be immediately available each person on board a personal watercraft must wear a Coast Guard approved lifejacket and they are required while skiing wakeboarding or tubing see your manual for laws specific to your state federal law requires all children under the age of 13 to wear a lifejacket at all times while the boat is underway unless they are below deck or in an enclosed cabin additionally most states require children of certain ages and on certain length boats to wear a lifejacket check your state laws to ensure you are in compliance regardless of your age always consider wearing a life jacket when on or near the water there are no fire stations on the water then for this reason a Coast Guard approved fire extinguisher is required on boats where a fire hazard could be expected from the motors or the fuel system if required to carry a fire extinguisher it must be Coast guard-approved v1 or v2 classification and have a specific marine type mounting bracket look for the part of the label that says marine type Coast Guard and the type PC is indicated fire extinguishers are required if your boat has inboard engines close living spaces closed stowage compartments in which combustible or flammable materials are stored and if there are permanently installed fuel tanks the number of fire extinguishers required on a recreational boat is based on the overall length of the load your manual shows the number of extinguishers that are required in the case where a Coast Guard approved fire extinguishing system is installed the required number of handheld extinguishers may be reduced by one visual distress signals are only used when there is a true emergency and are designed to be seen from miles away especially aerial flares distress signals are required on coastal waters the Great Lakes territorial seas and those waters connected directly to them up to a point where a body of water is less than two miles wide there are a few vessels that are exempt and are not required to carry day signals but still must carry night signals when operating from sunset to sunrise the exempt vessels are recreational boats less than 16 feet in length boats participating in organized events such as races regattas or marine parades open sailboats less than 26 feet in length not equipped with propulsion machinery and manually propel boats there are two classifications of visual distress signals pyrotechnic and non pyrotechnic both types must be Coast Guard approved in serviceable condition and readily accessible pyrotechnic devices are marked with an expiration date check the date to ensure yours are not expired if pyrotechnic devices are selected a minimum of three are required that is three signals for day use and three signals for night some pyrotechnic signals meet both day and night use requirements and are called combination flares if you elect to carry the combination flares three are required non pyrotechnic visual distress signals are devices that do not create flame or smoke they need to be in serviceable condition readily accessible and certified by the manufacturer as complying with Coast Guard requirements they include orange distress flag which is a day type signal only it must be at least three feet by three feet with a black square and ball on an orange background look for the marking that indicates that it meets Coast Guard requirements electric distress lights are accepted for night use only they automatically flash the International SOS distress signal and must be marked with an indication that they meet Coast Guard requirements regulations prohibit display of visual distress signals on the water under any circumstances except when assistance is required to prevent immediate or potential danger two persons on board a vessel all boats using gasoline for electrical generation mechanical power or propulsion are required to be equipped with the ventilation system all blower motors installed and exhaust ducts must be in working condition of date of manufacture each exhaust opening or exhaust duct must originate in the lower 1/3 of the compartment and must be above the normal accumulation of bilge water a powered ventilation system is required for each compartment in the boat that has a permanently installed gasoline engine all boat owners are responsible for keeping their boats ventilation systems in operating condition to prevent flames from entering the engine compartment all gasoline engines accept outboard motors must be equipped with an acceptable means of backfire flame control installations consisting of backfire flame arrestor x' approved by the Coast Guard are acceptable the flame arrestor must be suitably secured to the air intake with the flame type connection clean flame arrestor x' according to the manufacturer's recommendations vessels 39.4 feet or more in length are required to carry onboard a whistle or horn any vessel less than thirty nine point four feet in length may carry a whistle or horn or some other means to make an efficient sound signal examples of sound signals include whistles and freon or electric horns for power driven vessels less than thirty nine point four feet or 12 meters in length the masthead or all-round white light must be at least one meter above the sidelights site lights may be combined into one housing commonly called a combination bow light instead of two separate lights if your sailing vessel is less than sixty five point six feet in length that it must display navigation lights as shown if your sailboat is less than twenty three feet in length as an option your vessel may carry an electric torch such as a flashlight or lighted Lantern that can show a white light insufficient time to prevent collision if your vessel is propelled by oars then it should display lights for a sailboat at practical as an option your vessel may carry a flashlight or light Atlantic that can show a white light insufficient time to prevent collision vessels a tanker must display an anchor light from sunset to sunrise your recreational boat must have an all-round white light visible where it can best be seen from all directions if operating on federal navigable waters the vessel of 26 feet or longer must display in a prominent location a durable placard at least five by eight inches fixed in a conspicuous place in the machinery spaces or at the bilge pump control station regulations issued under the federal Water Pollution Control Act require all vessels with propulsion machinery have a capacity to retain oily mixtures on board and be equipped with the fixed or portable means to discharge these oily mixtures to a reception facility it is illegal to dump plastic trash anywhere in the ocean or navigable waters of the United States it is also illegal to discharge garbage in the navigable waters of the United States including inland waters as well as anywhere in the Great Lakes United States ocean-going vessels of 40 feet are longer which are equipped with the galley and berthing must have a written waste management plan all recreational boats with installed toilet facilities must have an operable marine sanitation device or MSD on board all installed MSD keys must be Coast Guard certified when operating a vessel on a body of water where the discharge of treated or untreated sewage is prohibited such as no discharge zones the operator must secure the device in a manner that prevents any overboard discharge most marinas have dedicated pump out stations available for removing sewage to help keep our waters clean and safe all boaters should pump out sewage holding tanks on a regular basis the manufacturers of recreational boats are required to construct boats using efficient muffling devices state laws prevent the use of boats without efficient muffling devices at many states require the devices to prevent noise levels that establish decibel ratings boat operators should always maintain muffling systems that prevent unacceptable noise levels the equipment requirements we discussed are essential for the safety of you and your passengers make sure your equipment is always in good and serviceable condition to meet the requirements treat your gear properly and it will be ready for use should you ever need it as the boat operator you are responsible for any action that has the potential of endangering life limb or property many actions may be deemed reckless whether intentional or not never allow any of the following unsafe actions bow riding sitting on the gunnels seat backs or high pedestal seats while the boat is in motion not carrying the required safety equipment in coastal areas crossing hazardous inlets and bars at certain times can be considered reckless as well as excessive speed in every state it is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs alcohol effects judgement vision balance and coordination it increases the likelihood of accidents you are considered to be under the influence if you have a point O 8% blood alcohol content or higher state and federal laws carry stringent penalties for violating this law penalties can include large fines suspension or revocation of boat operators privileges and jail terms no person under the age of 21 may have a measureable blood-alcohol concentration the fact that you are operating a boat implies that you consent to be tested for the presence of alcohol drugs or other intoxicating substances if requested by a law enforcement officer most states have minimum operator age requirements especially for personal watercraft and powerboat operators check your manual for your specific state requirements generally there are no age requirements to operate a non powered boat such as sailboats wind surfers canoes kayaks or row boats another common water sport is diving or snorkeling state laws require all persons involved in diving or snorkeling operations to clearly mark the area using the diver flag boat operators should always stay a minimum distance of 100 to 200 feet from any boat or any float showing the diver flag slow down to no wake speed and operate with caution anytime you observe underwater operations the operator of a vessel involved in a recreational boating accident must submit a casualty or accident report to the reporting authority in the state where the accident occurred a reportable accident means a person dies a person is injured and requires medical treatment beyond first aid damage to the vessel and other property totals more than two thousand dollars or as little as $200 in some states or a complete loss of the vessel or a person disappears from the vessel under circumstances that indicate death or injury due to increased security boaters are prohibited from coming within 100 yards of any naval vessel and within 500 yards you must slow your boat to no wake speed additionally you are not allowed to anchor under bridges recreational boaters are asked to report suspicious behavior or potential threats by calling 187 724 watch if in doubt or if it's an emergency situation call 9-1-1 or use channel 16 VHF FM

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6 thoughts on “Boating Laws and Safety Equipment

  1. They force me to get a license for a kayak with a trolling motor.💩. Im 56.
    Today i see the feds want to tax sweetened soda pop…no shit.
    Arent you the slave glad you have caring people controlling your life?
    Or do you even notice the cage they build for you.

  2. A LANDLUBBER S GUIDE TO RECREATIONAL BOATING LAW (FREE ON LINE): http://americanadmiraltybooks.blogspot.com/2018/02/a-landlubber-s-guide-to-recreational.html

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