Boating Safety Equipment & Gear

Information on boating equipment, gear and requirements for boaters in the United States and Canada.

Distress Signals

Sound Signal Devices Sound signals are used to attract the attention of other boaters and to aid with navigation. A sound signalling device can be a whistle, a bell, a horn or a gong. All of these devices must be capable of sounding a four second-long blast. The bell or gong may be replaced by […]

Navigation Light Requirements

Navigation Light Equipment There will be mornings when the water looks like glass and you’ll want to head out for an early fishing trip. Or, you may return from visiting a friend’s cabin after sunset, or a heavy layer of fog may roll in while you’re out exploring a new area of the lake. These […]

Back-Fire Flame Control Devices and Ventilation Systems

Back-Fire Flame Control Devices If your boat is gasoline-powered and has an inboard engine that was installed after April 1940, it must have a Back-Fire Flame Arrestor (BFA) mounted to each carburetor. This device will help to muffle a spark in an enclosed engine space and prevent any sparks from causing a fire. The BFA […]

Fire Extinguisher Requirements and Maintenance

Fire Extinguisher Requirements for Boats Most powerboats operate using gasoline, which would explode if it came into contact with a flame. Fire emergencies will always be a risk for boaters, but fires can be fought with the right equipment. Although some boat types are not required to carry a fire extinguisher, you should always have […]

Life Jacket Sizing and Testing

Life Jackets: Laws for Children The laws regarding children wearing life jackets vary by state. However, federal law requires any child 12 years of age or younger to wear a Coast Guard- approved Type I, Type II or Type III life jacket while they’re underway on any kind of boat. The only time a child […]

Life Jackets and PFDs

Life Jacket Laws Always have the right safety equipment onboard your boat. It’s one of the most important things you can do for boating safety and it’s the law. Federal law requires that all boats be equipped with one wearable life jacket for each passenger onboard the boat (wearable life jackets include Types I, II, […]

New Mexico’s Life Jacket Requirements and Litter Laws

Tennessee’s Life Jacket Laws All boats, including canoes and kayaks, must be equipped with one, wearable life jacket for each person on board and for each person being towed on waterskis, etc. Boats 16 feet in length or over (except canoes and kayaks) must also be equipped with one Type IV (throwable) personal flotation device. […]

Michigan’s Life Jacket Laws

According the Michigan’s life jacket laws, and the USCG all boats less than 16 ft. in length (including canoes and kayaks) carry one approved Type I, II, III or IV personal flotation device (PFD) for each person on board. Boats less than 16 feet in length which are operated on the Great Lakes or connecting […]

Life Jacket Laws in Kentucky

Kentucky’s Life Jacket Laws Kentucky’s life jacket laws state that all boats must carry a Coast Guard-approved, Type I, II, or III life jacket for each passenger on board. Boats that are 16 feet in length and greater, excluding canoes and kayaks, must also carry one, Type IV throwable flotation device (such as a life […]

Life Jacket Laws in North Carolina

North Carolina’s Life Jacket Laws Life jacket laws vary from state to state. According to North Carolina’s life jacket laws, you are required to carry one Type I, II or III life jacket, of the appropriate size, for each person on board. Life jackets must be in good condition, and readily available on all recreational […]