Boating Safely & Boating Safety Equipment

Boating Safety Equipment

Boating Season is finally here and while we get ready to take advantage of our splendid spring-summer weather and water, there are a few things we feel you need to consider – the minimum required boating safety equipment for vessels 16-39 feet.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) minimum regulations are delineated below. But in the spirit of promoting boating safety, we believe there are additional considerations to keep in mind.  Specifically-
1). Check the weather before you head out. Here in Florida weather changes suddenly and can sometimes get pretty fierce. Check the weather before and during your trip. Be prepared to go another day if conditions are questionable.
2) Make a float plan. Review it with a friend you can trust to call the Coast Guard if you do not return on time.
3) Consider the ambient temperature and make a plan for getting shade or warmth, as needed.
4) Apply sunscreen (at least 50 SPF) frequently.
5) Bring plenty of water and food for everyone on board.
6) Make sure to have up to date charts of the waters where you will be cruising and know how to read them.
7) If you have a pet you must have shade and water on the boat.  Animals need sun protection and a shady cool place to rest. A doggie life jacket is a must too.
Minimum Required Safety Equipment for Class 1 Recreational Vessels (16 to less than 26ft)
Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)
One approved Type I, II, or III for each person on board or being towed on water skis etc., in addition, one throwable Type IV device
•    Must be USCG approved. Must be in serviceable condition. Must be properly stored.
•    NOTE: A Type V hybrid may substituted for any Type I, II, or III device, but it must actually be worn whenever the vessel is underway and the person is not in the cabin or other enclosed area.
•    Class I: Every person on board under the age of six (6) must wear an approved Type I, II, or III while the vessel is underway.
•    Water Skiers: Every person skiing or aquaplaning must wear an approved Type I, II, or III PFD. Inflatable PFDs are prohibited.
Fire Extinguisher
•    Must be USCG approved and in serviceable condition.
•    One USCG-approved B-1 type fire extinguisher is required for all recreational motorboats except outboard-powered motorboats less than 26 feet long if constructed in a manner that will not allow gas fumes to accumulate. If your boat has a built-in fuel tank, an inboard engine, compartments where portable fuel tanks may be stored, or open areas between the hull and deck where flammable or explosive gases could accumulate, you must carry a fire extinguisher. Non-motorized boats are exempt from the fire extinguisher requirements.
•    NOTE: When an approved fixed fire extinguishing system is installed in the machinery space(s), it may be counted in the place of one B-I type hand-held portable fire extinguisher. Some fire extinguishers require specific mounting brackets for approval. Read the label on your fire extinguisher for this information.
Visual Distress Signal
•    Required on the high sea and coastal waters only.
•    Must carry visual distress signal for both day and nighttime use.
•    NOTE: Coastal waters means the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and all bays, sounds, harbors, rivers, inlets, etc. where any entrance is over two (2) miles wide to the first point where the distance between shorelines narrows to 2 miles.
Sound Producing Device
•    A bell, horn OR whistle
•    Every vessel less than 12 meters (39.4 ft) in length must carry an efficient sound producing device. The sound-producing device need not meet any particular specifications, as long as the vessel can produce signals required by the navigational rules.
Backfire Flame Control
•    An effective means of controlling backfire flame of all gasoline engines installed after April 25, 1940, except outboard motors
•    Backfire flame arrestors must be USCG approved.
Ventilation (Boats built prior to August 1, 1980)
•    At least two ventilator ducts fitted with cowls or their equivalent for the purpose of properly and efficiently ventilating the bilges of every closed engine and fuel -tank compartment of boats constructed or decked over after April 25, 1940, using gasoline as fuel or other fuels having a flash point of 110 degrees or less.
Ventilation (Boats built after August 1, 1980)
•    At least two ventilator ducts for the purpose of efficiently ventilating every closed compartment that contains a gasoline engine and every closed compartment containing a gasoline tank, except for those having permanently installed tanks which vent outside the boat and contain no unprotected electrical devices. Also, engine compartments containing a gasoline engine having a cranking motor must contain power operated exhaust blowers which can be controlled from the instrument panel.
Vessel Lighting
Recreational vessels are required to display navigation lights between sunset and sunrise and during periods of reduced visibility (fog, rain, haze, etc). The U.S.C.G. Navigation Rules specify lighting requirements for every description of watercraft. The information provided in the attached link is for vessels less than 65.5 feet/20 meters in length.
Minimum Required Safety Equipment for Class 2 Recreational Vessels (26 to less than 40ft)
Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)
•    One approved Type I, II, or III for each person on board or being towed on waterskis etc., in addition, one throw able Type IV device.
•    Must be USCG approved. Must be in serviceable condition. Must be properly stored.
•    NOTE: A Type V hybrid may substituted for any Type I, II, or III device, but it must actually be worn whenever the vessel is underway and the person is not in the cabin or other enclosed area.
•    Water Skier: Every person skiing or aquaplaning must wear an approved Type I, II, or III PFD. Inflatable PFDs are prohibited.
Fire Extinguisher
•    Must be USCG approved Must be serviceable condition
•    At least two (2) B-I types approved hand-held portable fire extinguisher or at least one (1) B-II type approved hand-held portable fire extinguisher.
•    NOTE: When an approved fixed fire extinguishing system is installed in the machinery space(s), it may be counted in the place of one B-I type hand-held portable fire extinguisher. Some fire extinguishers require specific mounting brackets for approval. Read the label on your fire extinguisher for this information.
Visual Distress Signal
•    Required on the high sea and coastal waters only
•    Must carry visual distress signal for both day and nighttime use.
•    NOTE: Coastal waters means the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and all bays, sounds, harbors, rivers, inlets, etc. where any entrance is over two (2) miles wide to the first point where the distance between shorelines narrows to 2 miles.
Sound Producing Device
•    A bell, horn, OR whistle.
•    Every vessel less than 12 meters (39.4 ft) in length must carry an efficient sound-producing device. The sound-producing device need not meet any particular specifications, as long as the vessel can produce signals required by the navigational rules.
Backfire Flame Control
•    An effective means of controlling backfire flame of all gasoline engines installed after April 25, 1940, except outboard motors
•    Backfire flame arrestors must be USCG approved.
Ventilation (Boats built prior to August 1, 1980)
•    At least two ventilator ducts fitted with cowls or their equivalent for the purpose of properly and efficiently ventilating the bilges of every closed engine and fuel-tank compartment of boats constructed or decked over after April 25, 1940, using gasoline as fuel or other fuels having a flash point of 110 degrees or less.
Ventilation (Boats built after August 1, 1980)
•    At least two ventilator ducts for the purpose of efficiently ventilating every closed compartment that contains a gasoline engine and every closed compartment containing a gasoline tank, except for those having permanently installed tanks, which vent outside the boat and contain no unprotected electrical devices. Also, engine compartments containing a gasoline engine having a cranking motor must contain power operated exhaust blowers, which can be controlled from the instrument panel.
Vessel Lighting
•    Recreational vessels are required to display navigation lights between sunset and sunrise and during periods of reduced visibility (fog, rain, haze, etc). The U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Rules specify lighting requirements for every description of watercraft.
We also suggest that you equip your vessel with the following:
•    An anchor and a sufficient amount of anchor line
•    A de-watering device, such as a bilge pump in the event of flooding
•    An oar, paddle or other alternative means of propulsion in case your engine fails.
If the above equipment requirements and suggestions are met, you may be eligible to display an FWC or Coast Guard Auxiliary safety decal. For more information, please contact your local FWC office.
Happy Boating from The Crew at Cannons Marina.