Chris Edmonston: Hi! My name is Chris Edmonston with the BoatUS Foundation and today we're going to talk about legal requirements. The things that you're legally required to carry on your boat before you even leave the dock. Boaters are legally required to carry a wide variety of equipment based on how long your boat might be. So let's get to the specifics.
Every boat must have a way to make a sound signal, but just about anything will work that makes a sound like a portable air horn, even a whistle. Some common sound signals are to signal that you're leaving a dock or backing up as an example.
Now let's take a look at fire extinguishers. The number and size of fire extinguishers have must be carried or all determined by the length of your boat. Here on our boat we carry too. Extinguishers are also rated by the type of fire they can put out. That's a frequent ABC label that you might see on a fire extinguisher.
Moving on let's talk about life jackets. So just keep in mind that you must have a properly fitting and serviceable life jacket for everyone on your boat.
Now let's move onto ventilation systems. Boats within closed compartments, especially engine compartments must have built-in ventilation systems. Engine compartments must have a ventilation blower which is a fan used to remove gas fumes after fueling. You can't use just any old fan; it has to be marine rated for the purpose.
Finally, you must carry visual distress signals for the conditions in which you are operating. There are daytime-only signals such as, signal flags and smoke canisters and day/night combination signals such as flares. Flares which are pyrotechnic devices are the most common distress signal. Be careful though as they have an expiration date. Expired flares will not count towards your carriage requirements.
Now that we're done with required equipment let's take a look at life jackets the different sizes, types, and styles that you might want to consider when you buy a life jacket.