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Boating Safety
Required Safety Equipment

All recreational boats are required to have size-specific safety equipment on board. Required equipment may include: life jackets, fire extinguisher, visual distress signal, sound-producing device, backfire flame control and navigation lights.

Best Practices

Read BoatBeat’s General Best Practices, in addition to the following tips, for more recommendation and information. 

  • Vessel Safety Check: This is an opportunity to encourage boaters to get a Vessel Safety Check (VSC). A VSC is a courtesy examination of the boat to verify the presence and condition of certain safety equipment required by state and federal regulations. It is conducted by a volunteer trained specialist member of the U.S. Power Power Squadrons or the US Coast Guard Auxiliary. Examinations are not a boarding or law enforcement issue. No citations will be given during a VSC.
  • Avoid Overloading: Mention how to be careful to not overload the boat. A boat may be overloaded with weight or passengers or both.
  • Avoid Falls: Share about the possibility for a boater to fall overboard and the importance of wearing a life jacket at all times.

Fact Sheets

Boating Safety Tips

Boating Safety Equipment Check List

Carriage of Fire Extinguishers

Emergency Engine Cut-Off Devices

Emergency Engine Cut-Off Devices FAQs

Reporters Play a Critical Role in Boating Safety

Sun Safe Boating

Vessel Safety Checks

Browse All Fact Sheets

Expert Sources

U.S. Coast Guard, Office of Auxiliary & Boating Safety

National Safe Boating Council (NSBC)

National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA)

National Weather Service

American Boat & Yacht Council, Inc.

Browse Federal and State Point-of-Contacts


Case Study Sources