Regulations for Sailboat Safety Equipment

Regulations for Sailboat Safety Equipment
As the captain of your vessel, you should know the legal requirements of your state. Although individual states regulate the boating laws, the U.S. Coast Guard issues them making them uniform across the country.


Sailboats must have at least one lifejacket (PFD Type I, II, or III) for every person onboard. Vessels over 16 feet in length must also have a throwable PFD.

Fire Prevention

All boats with engines must have at least one Class B fire extinguisher. Boats with electrical equipment should also have a Class C fire extinguisher. Water will not put out either a gas or an electrical fire.

Extinguisher Requirements

Sailboats under 26 feet must have at least one Class B1, and boats over 26 feet must have at least two Class B1 or one Class B2. Boats over 40 feet must have three Class B1, or a combination of B1 and B2 to equal that level of protection.

Sound Device

Vessels over 39.4 feet must either have a sound device, horn, air horn or whistle that is audible up to 1 mile. Smaller sailboats must still have some form of sound alert device onboard.


Boats traveling at night must carry flairs for nighttime visibility. Flags or daytime flairs are fine for daylight hours.

Radar Reflectors

Sailboats should carry a radar reflector to allow larger boats in the area to see them when stranded in the water.

Article Written By Tami Parrington

Tami Parrington is the author of five novels along with being a successful SEO and content writer for the past three years. Parrington's journalism experience includes writing for eHow on medical, health and home-related topics as well as writing articles about the types of animals she has raised for years.

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