FEDERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR RECREATIONAL BOATS
FEDERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR RECREATIONAL BOATS
REGISTRATION, NUMBERING & DOCUMENTATION
REGISTRATION, NUMBERING & DOCUMENTATION
All undocumented vessels equipped with propulsion machinery must be registered in the State of principal use. A certificate of number will be issued upon registering the vessel. These numbers must be displayed on your vessel. The owner/operator of a vessel must carry a valid certificate of number whenever the vessel is in use. When moved to a new State of principal use, the certificate is valid for 60 days. Check with your State boating authority for numbering requirements. Some States require all vessels to be numbered. The Coast Guard issues the certificate of number in Alaska; all others are issued by the State.
Some larger recreational vessels may be documented. The certificate of documentation MUST be on board a documented vessel at all times.
A document serves as a certificate of nationality and an authorization for a specific trade. A documented vessel is not exempt from applicable State or Federal taxes, nor is its operator exempt from compliance with Federal or State equipment carriage requirements.
DISPLAY OF NUMBERS
Numbers must be painted or permanently attached to each side of the forward half of the vessel. The validation sticker must be affixed within six inches of the registration number. With the exception of the vessel fee decal, no other letters or numbers may be displayed nearby.
Notification of Changes to a Numbered Vessel
The owner of a vessel must notify the agency which issued the certificate of number within 15 days if:
- The vessel is transferred, destroyed, abandoned, lost, stolen or recovered.
- The certificate of number is lost, destroyed or the owner; address changes.
If the certificate of number becomes invalid for any reason, it must be surrendered in the manner prescribed to the issuing authority within 15 days.
A documented vessel must have the name and hailing port plainly marked on the exterior part of the hull in clearly legible letters not less than 4 inches in height.
In addition, the documented vessel must have the "Official Number" permanently affixed in block type, arabic numerals not less than 3 inches on some clearly visible interior structural part of the boat.
A vessel underway, when hailed by a Coast Guard vessel is required to heave to, or maneuver in such a manner that permits a boarding officer to come aboard.
Other Federal, State and local law enforcement officials may board and examine your vessel, whether it is numbered, unnumbered or documented. Coast Guard law enforcement personnel may also be found aboard other vessels.
The Coast Guard may impose a civil penalty up to $1,000 for failure to: comply with equipment requirements; report a boating accident; or comply with other Federal regulations. Failure to comply with the Inland Navigation Rules Act of 1980 can result in a civil penalty up to $5,000.
Improper use of a radio-telephone is a criminal offense. The use of obscene, indecent or profane language during radio communications is punishable by a $10,000 fine. Imprisonment for two years or both. Other penalties exist for misuse of a radio, such as improper use of Channel 16 VHF-FM.
Channel 16 is a calling and distress channel. It is not to be used for conversation or radio checks. Such traffic should be conducted on an authorized working channel.
Boating While Intoxicated (BWI)
Operating a Vessel While Intoxicated become a specific Federal offense effective January 1988.
The final rule set standards for determining when and individual is intoxicated. If the blood alcohol content (BAC) is .10% (.08% in some States) or higher for operators of recreational vessels being used only for pleasure, violators are subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000 in criminal penalty not to exceed $5,000, I year imprisonment or both.
Negligent or Grossly Negligent Operation of a vessel which endangers lives and/or property is prohibited by law. The Coast Guard may impose a civil penalty for negligent operation. Grossly Negligent Operation is a criminal offense and an operator may be fined up to $5,000, imprisoned for one year, or both. Some examples of actions that may constitute negligent or grossly negligent operation are.
- Operating a boat in a swimming area.
- Operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Excessive speed in the vicinity of other boats or in dangerous waters.
- Hazardous water skiing practices.
- Bowriding, also riding on seatback, gunwale, or transom.
Termination of Use
A Coast Guard boarding officer who observes a boat being operated in an UNSAFE CONDITION, specifically defined by law or regulation, and who determines that an ESPECIALLY HAZARDOUS CONDITION exists, may direct the operator to take immediate steps to correct the condition, including returning to port.
Termination for unsafe use may be imposed for:
- Insufficient number of C G Approved Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs).
- Insufficient fire extinguishers.
- Overloading beyond manufacturer’s recommended safe loading capacity.
- Improper navigation light display.
- Ventilation requirements for tank and engine spaces not met.
- Fuel leakage.
- Fuel in bilges.
- Improper backfire flame control.
- Operating in regulated boating areas during predetermined adverse conditions. (Applies in 13th S G District only).
- Manifestly unsafe voyage.
An operator who refuses to terminate the unsafe use of a vessel can be cited for failure to comply with the directions of a Coast Guard boarding officer, as well as for the specific violations which were the basis for the termination order. Violators may be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than one year or both.
Reporting Boating Accidents.
All boating accidents (or accidents which meet the criteria below), must be reported by the operator or owner of the vessel to the proper marine law enforcement authority for the State in which the accident occurred.
Immediate notification is required for fatal accidents. If a person dies or disappears as a result of a recreational boating accident, the nearest State boating authority must be notified without delay.
The following information must be provided:
If a person dies, or there are injuries requiring more than first aid, a formal report must be filed within 48 hours.
- Date, time and exact location of the accident;
- Name of each person who died or disappeared:
- Number and name of the vessel; and
- Name and address of the owner and operator.
A formal report must be made within 10 days for accidents involving more than $500.00 damage or complete loss of a vessel.
If you need further information regarding accident reporting, please call the Boating Safety Hotline, 800 368-5647.
The master or person in charge of a vessel is obligated by law to provide assistance that can be safely provided to any individual in danger at sea.
The master or person in charge is subject to a fine and/or imprisonment for failure to do so.
The Coast Guard sets minimum safety standards for vessels and associated equipment. To meet these standards some of the equipment must be Coast Guard approved. "Coast Guard Approved Equipment" has been determined to be in compliance with USCG specifications and regulations relating to performance, construction, or materials.
Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)
PFDs must be Coast Guard Approved in good and serviceable condition, and of appropriate size for the intended user. Wearable PFDs must be readily accessible, meaning you must be able to put them on in a reasonable amount of time in an emergency (vessel sinking, on fire, etc.) They should not be stowed in plastic bags, in locked or closed compartments or have other gear stowed on top of them.
Throwable devices must be immediately available for use. Though not required, a PFD should be worn at all times when the vessel is underway. A wearable PFD may save your life, but only if you wear it.
Boats less than 16 feet in length (including canoes and kayaks of any length) must be equipped with one Type I, II, III, IV, or V PFD for each person aboard.
Boats 16 feet and longer must be equipped with one Type I, II, III, or V PFD for each person aboard PLUS one Type IV.
Type V PFDs have use restriction marked on them which must be observed.
If a type V PFD is to be counted toward minimum carriage requirements, it must be worn.
Federal law does not require PFDs on racing shells, rowing skulls, and racing kayaks; State laws vary.
Remember, PFDs will keep you from sinking, but not necessarily from drowning. Extra time should be taken in selecting a properly sized PFD to insure a safe fit. Testing your PFD in shallow water or guarded swimming pool is a good and reassuring practice.
Types of PFD
A TYPE I PFD, or OFF-SHORE LIFE JACKET provides the most buoyancy. It is effective for all waters, especially open, rough, or remote waters where rescue may be delayed. It is designed to turn most unconscious wearers in the water to a face-up position. The Type I comes in two sizes. The adult size provides at least 22 pounds buoyancy, the child size, 11 pounds, minimum.
A TYPE II PFD, NEAR-SHORE BUOYANT VEST is intended for calm, inland water or where there is a good chance of quick rescue. This type will turn some unconscious wearers to a face-up position in the water. The turning action is not as pronounced and it will not turn as many persons to a face-up position under the same conditions as a Type I. An adult size device provides at least 15 ˝ pounds buoyancy, a medium child size provides 11 pounds. Infant and small child sizes each provide at least 7 pounds buoyancy.
A TYPE III PFD, or FLOTATION AID is good for calm, inland water, or where there is a good chance of quick rescue. It is designed so wearers can place themselves in a face-up position in the water The wearer may have to tilt their head back to avoid turning face-down in the water. The Type III has the same minimum buoyancy as a Type II pfd. It comes in many styles, colors, and sizes and is generally the most comfortable type for continuous wear. Float coats, fishing vests, and vests designed with features suitable for various sports activities are examples of this type PFD.
A TYPE IV PFD, or THROWABLE DEVICE is intended for calm. Inland water with heavy boat traffic, where help is always present. It is designed to be thrown to a person in the water and grasped and held by the user until rescued. It is not designed to be worn. Type IV devices include buoyant cushions, ring buoys, and horseshoe buoys.
A TYPE V PFD, or SPECIAL USE DEVICE is intended for specific activities and may be carried instead of another PFD only if used according to the approval condition on the label. Some Type V devices provide significant hypothermia protection. Varieties include deck suits, work vests, board sailing vests, and Hybrid PFDs.
A TYPE V HYBRID INFLATABLE PFD is the least bulky of all PFD types. It contains a small amount of inherent buoyancy, and an inflatable chamber. Its performance is equal to a Type I, II, or III PFD (as noted on the PFD label) when inflated. Hybrid PFDs must be worn when underway to be acceptable.
Water Skiing and PFDs.
A water skier, is considered on board the vessel and a PFD is required for the purposes of compliance with the PFD carriage requirements. It is advisable and recommended for a skier to wear a PFD designed to withstand the impact of hitting the water at high speed. "Impact Class" marking on the label refers to PFD strength, not personal protection. Some State laws require skiers to wear a PFD.
Visual Distress Signals
All vessels, used on coastal waters, the Great Lakes, territorial seas, and those waters connected directly to the, up to a point where a body of water is less than two miles wide, must be equipped with U.S.C.G. Approved visual distress signals. Vessels owned in the United States operating on the high seas must be equipped with U.S.C.G. Approved visual distress signals. The following vessels are not required to carry day signals but must carry night signals when operating from sunset to sunrise;
- 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.
- Manually propelled boats.
Pyrotechnic Visual Distress Signals must be Coast Guard Approved, in serviceable condition, and readily accessible. They are marked with a date showing the service life, which must not have expired. Launchers manufactured before January 1, 1981, intended for use with approved signals, are not required to be Coast Guard Approved. 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 met both day and night use requirements. Pyrotechnic devices should be stored in a cool, dry location. A watertight container painted red or orange and prominently marked "DISTRESS SIGNALS" is recommended.
U.S.C.G. Approved Pyrotechnic Visual Distress Signals and associated devices include;
- Pyrotechnic red flares, hand-held or aerial.
- Pyrotechnic orange smoke, hand-held or floating.
- Launchers for aerial red meteors or parachute flares.
Non-Pyrotechnic Visual Distress Signals must be in serviceable condition, readily accessible, and certified by the manufacturer as complying with USCG requirements. They include:
- Orange distress flag
- Electric distress light.
The distress flag is a day signal only. It must be at least 3 x 3 feet with a black square and ball on an orange background. It is most distinctive when attached and waved on a paddle, boathook, or flown from a mast.
The electric distress light is accepted for night use only and must automatically flash the international SOS distress signal ( ... --- ... )
Under Inland Navigation Rules, a high intensity white light flashing at regular intervals from 50 - 70 times per minute is considered a distress signal.
Regulations prohibit display of visual distress signals on the water under any circumstances except when assistance is required to prevent immediate or potential danger to persons on board a vessel.
All distress signals have distinct advantages and disadvantages. No single device is ideal under all conditions or suitable for all purposes. Pyrotechnics are universally recognized as excellent distress signals. However, there is potential for injury and property damage if not properly handled. These devices produce a very hot flame and the residue can cause burns and ignite flammable material.
Pistol launched and hand-held parachute flares and meteors have many characteristics of a firearm and must be handled with caution. In some states they are considered a firearm and prohibited from use.
The following illustrates the variety and combination of devices which can be carried in order to meet the requirements:
- Three hand held red flares (day and night).
- One hand-held red flare and two parachute flares (day and night).
- One hand-held orange smoke signal, two floating orange smoke signals (day) and one electric distress light (night only).
Coast Guard Approved fire extinguishers are required on certain boats. Extinguishers are classified by a letter and number symbol. The letter indicates the type fire the unit is designed to extinguish (Type B for example are designed to extinguish flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil and grease fires). The number indicates the relative size of the extinguisher (minimum extinguishing agent weight).
Coast Guard Approved extinguishers are hand-portable, either B-I or B-II classification and have a specific marine type mounting bracket. It is recommended the extinguishers be mounted in a readily accessible position.
Fire extinguishers are required if any one or more of the following conditions exist:
Inspect extinguishers monthly to make sure that:
- Inboard engines.
- Closed compartments and compartments under seats where portable fuel tanks may be stored.
- Double bottoms not sealed to the hull or which are not completely filled with flotation materials.
- Closed Living spaces.
- Closed stowage compartments in which combustible or flammable materials are stored.
- Permanently installed fuel tanks. Fuel tanks secured so they cannot be moved in case of fire or other emergency are considered permanently installed. There are no gallon capacity limits to determine if a fuel tank is portable. If the weight of a fuel tank is such that persons on board cannot move it, the Coast Guard considers it permanently installed.
- Seals & tamper indicators are not broken or missing.
- Pressure gauges or indicators read I the operable range. (Note: CO2 extinguishers do not have gauges).
- There is no obvious physical damage, corrosion, leakage or clogged nozzles.
Minimum number of hand portable fire extinguishers required:
||No Fixed System
|Less than 25'
|25' to less than 40'
||2 B-I or 1 B-II
|40' to 65'
||3 B-I or
1 B-II and 1 B-I
|2 B-I or 1 B-II
Coast Guard Approved extinguishers are identified by the following marking on the label:
"Marine Type USCG Approved, Size…, Type;;;,162.028/…/", etc.
Weigh extinguishers annually to assure that the minimum weight is as stated on the extinguisher label.
For the CME, Halon units to be counted toward the minimum requirements must be inspected and tagged by a recognized authority within 6 months of the examination. The pressure gauge is not an accurate indicator that Halon extinguishers are full. The units should be checked regularly.
Al portable extinguishers must be mounted in a readily accessible position. The Auxiliary requires fire extinguishers on all motorboats and sailboats 16 ft. or longer.
All vessels built after April 25, 1940 which use gasoline for electrical generation, mechanical power or propulsion are required to be equipped with a ventilation system.
A natural ventilation system consists of at least two ventilator ducts, fitted with cowls or their equivalent:
A powered ventilation system consists of one or more exhaust blowers. Each intake duct for an exhaust blower should be in the owner one-third of the compartment and above the normal accumulation of bilge water.
- A minimum of one intake duct installed so as to extend from the open atmosphere to the lower portion of the bilge; and
- A minimum of one exhaust duct installed so as to extend to a point at least midway to the bilge or at least below the level of the carburetor air intake.
Between April 25, 1950 and July 31. 1978, the regulations covering ventilation systems applied to the owner/operator. If your boat was built between April 25, 1940 and July 31, 1978, a natural ventilation system is required for all engine and fuel tank compartments, and other spaces to which explosive or flammable gases and vapors from these compartments may flow, except compartments which are open to the atmosphere. There was no requirement for a powered ventilation system; however, some boats were equipped with a blower.
The Coast Guard Ventilation Standard, a manufacturer requirement, applies to all boats built on or after August 1, 1980. Some builders began manufacturing boats in compliance with the Ventilation Standard as early as August 1978. If you boat was built on or after August 1, 1978 it might have been equipped with either (1) a natural ventilation system, or (2) both a natural ventilation system and a powered ventilation system. If your boat bears a label containing the words, "This boat complies with U.S. Coast Guard safety standards," etc., you can assume that the design of your boat’s ventilation system meets applicable regulations.
Boats build after August 1, 1980 which comply with the Coast Guard Ventilation Standard must display at each ignition switch, a label which contains following information.
Gasoline vapor can explode. Before starting engine operate blower for at least 4 minutes and check engine compartment bilge for gasoline vapor.
All owners are responsible for keeping their boats’ ventilation system in operating condition. This means making sure openings are free of obstructions, ducts are not blocked or torn` blowers are operating properly and worn out components are replaced with equivalent marine type equipment.
For the CME, all blower motors installed in exhaust ducks must be in working conditions regardless of the date manufacture.
Backfire Flame Control
Gasoline engines installed in a vessel after April 25, 1940, except outboard motors, must be equipped with an acceptable means of backfire flame control. The device must be suitably attached to the air intake with a flametight connection and is required to be Coast Guard approved or comply with SAEJ-1928 or UL1111 standards and marked accordingly.
Sound Producing Devices
The navigation rules require sound signals to be made under certain circumstances. Meeting, crossing and overtaking situations described in the Navigation Rules section are examples of when sound signals are required. Recreational vessels are also required to sound for signals during periods of reduced visibility. Therefore, you must have some means of making and efficient sound signal. Although regulations do not specifically require vessels less than 12 meters to carry a whistle, horn or bell.
Vessels 12 meters or more in length are required to carry on board a power whistle or power horn and a bell.
Rules require vessels to display lights and shapes under certain conditions.
Recreational vessels are required to display navigation lights between sunset and sunrise and other periods of reduced visibility (fog, rain, haze etc.). The U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Rules, International-Inland encompasses lighting requirements for every description of watercraft. The information provided here is intended for power-driven and sailing vessels less than 20 meters.
Power-driven vessels of less than 20 meters, shall exhibit navigation lights as shown in Figure 1.
Vessels of less than 12 meters in length, may show the lights in either Figure 1 or Figure 2.
Power-driven vessels of less than 7 meters whose maximum speed cannot exceed 7 knots may exhibit an all-around white light, and if praticable sidelights instead of the lights prescribed above, in International Waters only.
Sailing Vessels and Vessels Under Oars
Sailing vessels less than 20 meters may exhibit the navigation lights shown in Figures 3 or 4.
Another option for sailboats is to use a single combination lantern at the top of the mast as shown in Figure 5.
Sailing vessels less than 7 meters may carry an electric torch or lighted lantern showing a white light to be displayed in sufficient time to prevent collision (see Figure 6A). If practicable, the lights prescribed for sailing vessels less than 20 meters should be displayed.
Vessels under oars may display the lights prescribed for sailing vessels, but if not, must have ready at hand an electric torch or lighted lantern showing a white light to be displayed in sufficient time to prevent collision (see Figure 6B).
Shapes and Lights
To alert other vessels of conditions which may be hazardous, there are requirements to display lights at night and shapes during the day.
Power-driven vessels and sailing vessels at anchor must display anchor lights. An anchor light for a vessel less than 50 meters in length is an all-around white light visible for 2 miles exhibited where it can best be seen (see Figure 7). Also vessels at anchor shall exhibit forward where best seen, a ball shape (see Figure 8).
Vessels less than 7 meters are not required to display anchor lights unless anchored in or near a narrow channel, fairway or anchorage or where other vessels normally navigate.
Anchor lights are not required on vessels less than 20 meters. Anchored in special anchorages in Inland Waters designated by the Secretary of Transportation.
Sailing Vessels Under Power
Vessels under sail also being propelled by machinery, must exhibit forward, where best seen, a conical shape with the apex pointing down (See Figure 9). Vessels less than 12 meters are not required to exhibit the dayshape in Inland Waters.
Sailing vessels operating under machinery, or under sail and machinery are considered power-driven and must display the lights prescribed for a power-driven vessel.
The Navigation Rules require vessels restricted in their ability to maneuver to display appropriate day shapes or lights. To meet this requirement, recreational vessels engaged in diving activities may exhibit a rigid replica of the international code flag. "A: not less than one meter in height or at night display the navigation lights shown in Figure 10. This requirement does not affect the use of a red and white divers flag which may be required by State or local law to mark a diver’s location. The "A" flag is a navigation signal indicating the vessel’s restricted maneuverability and does not pertain to the diver.
For the CME. all vessels 16 feet or grater must have operable navigation lights and an all around anchor light at the time of the examination. Sailboats capable of both power and sail must be able to display navigation lights for both systems.
The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) requires a Ship Station License for all vessels equipped with marine VHF radios )Not CB), EPIRB, Radar, single sideband radios, plus some other telecommunication equipment. Coast Guard boarding officers, in cooperation with the FCC, will issue citations if the station license is not on board the vessel.
A license application (Form 506) can be obtained from any office of the FCC. There is a fee for the license.
A Restricted Radio Telephone Operator Permit may by required if you intend to visit foreign ports or communicate with foreign coast stations. The Operator Permit is not required in the United States. Contact the FCC for more details.
The Refuse Act of 1899prohibits throwing, discharging or depositing any refuse matter of any kind (including trash, garbage, oil and other liquid pollutants) into the waters of the United States.
The Federal Water Pollution Control Act prohibits the discharge of oil or hazardous substances which may be harmful into U.S. navigable waters.
Vessels 26 feet in length and over must display a placard at least 5 by 8 inches, made of durable material, fixed in a conspicuous place in the machinery spaces, or at the bilge pump control station, stating the following:
|Discharge Of Oil Prohibited
The Federal Water Pollution Control Act prohibits the discharge of oil or oily waste into or upon the navigable waters of the United States or the waters of the contiguous zone if such discharge causes a film or sheen upon, or discoloration of, the surface of the water, or causes a sludge or emulsion beneath the surface of the water. Violators are subject to a penalty of $5,000.
Regulations issued under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act require all vessels with propulsion machinery to have a capacity to retain oily mixtures on board. A field or portable means to discharge oily waste to a reception facility is required. A bucket or bailer is suitable as a portable means of discharging oily waste on recreational vessels. No person may intentionally drain oil or oily waste from any source into the bilge of any vessel.
You must immediately notify the U.S. Coast Guard if your vessel discharges oil or hazardous substances in the water. Call toll-free 800-424-8802. Report the following information:
The Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (MARPOL ANEX V) places limitations on the discharge of garbage from vessels. 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 the Great lakes. The discharge of other types of garbage is permitted outside of specific distances offshore as determined by the nature of that garbage.
- time observed
|Plastics - includes synthetic ropes, fishing nets, and plastic bags
||Prohibited in all areas
|Floating dunnage, lining and packing materials
||Prohibited less than 25 miles from nearest land
|Food waste, paper, rags, glass, metal, bottles, crockery, and similar refuse
||Prohibited less than 12 miles from nearest land
|Comminuted or ground food waste, paper, rags. glass, etc.
||Prohibited less than 3 miles from nearest land
United States vessels of 26 feet or longer must display in a prominent location, a durable placard at least 4 by 9 inches notifying the crew and passengers of the discharge restrictions.
United States oceangoing vessels of 40 feet or longer, which are engaged in commerce or are equipped with a galley and berthing must have a written Waste Management Plan describing the procedures for collecting, processing, storing, and discharging garbage; and designate the person who is in charge of carrying out the plan.
Marine Sanitation Devices
All recreational boats with installed toilet facilities must have an operable marine sanitation device )MSD) on board. Vessels 65 feet and under may use a Type I. II or III MSD. Vessels over 65 feet must install a Type II or III MSD. All installed MSDs must be Coast Guard certified. Coast Guard certified devices are so labeled except for some holding tanks, which are certified by definition under the regulations.
Additional Recommended Equipment
Besides meeting the legal requirements, prudent boaters carry additional safety equipment. The following additional items of equipment are suggested depending on the size, location, and use of your boat.
You may want to carry:
- VHF Radio
- Visual Distress Signals
- Spare Anchor
- Heaving Line
- First Aid Kit
- Sunburn Lotion
- Tool Kit Ring Buoy Whistle or Horn
- Fuel Tanks
- Spare Fuel
- Chart and Compass
- Boat Hook
- Spare Propeller
- Mooring Line
- Food & Water
- Spare Batteries
- Marine Hardware
- Extra Clothing
- Spare Parts
- Alternate Propulsion (Paddles)
- Dewatering Device (Pump or Bailer)
Vessels Operating Offshore
Boaters who operate offshore should seriously consider carrying an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB). In a distress situation should other communications fail, and EPIRB can quickly alert rescue forces and provide excellent vessel position information.
Consideration should also be given to carrying a life raft in offshore operations.
Required for Auxiliary CMD Decal
Alternate Means of Propulsion
Vessels less than 16 feet must carry alternate propulsion, such as a paddle or oars. If an alternate means of mechanical propulsion is carried it should use a separate fuel tank and starting source other than the main propulsion motor.
All vessels must be equipped with an anchor and line of suitable size and length for the vessel and waters in which it is being operated. Choose the right anchor for your vessel and the type of bottom where you expect to be anchoring.
All vessels must carry at least one effective manual device (portable bilge pump, bucket, scoop, etc.) for bailing water, in addition to any installed electric bilge pump.
Ensure portable fuel tanks are constructed of sturdy material and in good condition, free of excessive corrosion and do not leak. The vents on portable tanks must be operable and the tanks should have a vapor-tight, leak-proof cap. So not allow excessive movement of portable tanks. The Auxiliary recognizes seven gallons or less as portable. Permanent fuel tanks and lines should be free of corrosion and must not leak. Tanks must be vented to the outside of the hull. The fill pipe and plate must fit tightly and be located outside of closed compartments.
Galley and Heating Equipment
- Appliances and their fuel tanks must be properly secured, and the system must not leak (no odor of fuel must be detected when the system is turned on).
- There must be no flammable material in the vicinity of stoves or heaters.
- Only common appliance fuels must be used on vessels.
Gasoline, Naphtha or Benzene are not allowed due to their highly volatile nature.
- Appliance fuel shut off valves must be readily accessible.
- Adequate ventilation must be provided for appliances and their fuel supply.
- Wiring must be in good condition and properly installed. No exposed areas or deteriorated insulation is permitted.
- The electrical system must be protected by fuses or manual resetting circuit breakers. Switches and fuse panels must be protected from rain or spray.
- Batteries must be secured to prevent movement and the terminals covered to prevent accidental arcing.
To qualify for a CME decal, additional safety equipment required by the state where the CME is conducted must be on the vessel.
Boaters may contact the office of the State Boating Law Administrator for a list of current boating regulations.