Boat safety is KEY! While rules and regulations for boating are similar, they do vary from state to state. Fall is a great time to take inventory of the items you currently have on your boat and check to see what you may be missing.
Here's a list of what you must have on your boat in Oregon. Please make sure you look up the exact requirements for your own state.
1. Wearable Life Jackets The U.S. Coast Guard requires boats under 26 feet need to carry properly-fitting life jackets. These approved wearable life jacket(s) need to be available for every person on board. These life jackets must be readily accessible. The boat must also carry a Type IV throwable cushion. All children 12 and younger are required to wear a life jacket while on an open deck or cockpit when a boat is underway or being towed.
Motorboats less than 16 feet in length and all paddlecraft need to carry properly-fitting, U.S. Coast Guard-Approved life jacket(s), for each person on board and the life jacket must be readily accessible, but are not required to carry a Type IV throwable cushion.
*Make sure your life jackets are up to date and in good working condition.
2. Sound Devices A sound producing device such as a whistle or compressed air horn must be carried on boats less than 39 feet 4 inches (12 meters). It's easy to attach a whistle to a life jacket. Both are required equipment.
3. Fire Extinguisher Marine-approved fire extinguishers are required. Every motorboat, except outboard motorboats less than 26 feet in length of open construction, shall carry on board a fully charged and in serviceable condition a B-I (or 5-B) type hand portable,
4. Carburetor Backfire Flame Arrestor A backfire flame arrestor is required for inboard motors not exposed to the atmosphere above the gunwale.
5. Muffling System This system is required for the Exhaust of each internal combustion engine.
6. Ventilation System It is vital to have a ventilation system on all boats. The particular type of ventilation system depends on when the boat was built. Carbon monoxide is a risk when boating. You can get a marine carbon monoxide detector.
7. Navigation Lighting Lights are required only when the boat is underway or at anchor between sunset and sunrise and during restricted visibility.
(Remember to inspect your boat lines and dock ties and replace as needed. Boat lines and dock ties weather and weaken over time.)