Chris Edmonston: Hi! My name is Chris Edmonston. I am President of the BoatUS Foundation. Today we are going to look at some of the basic maintenance items that will be examined during a vessel's safety check. So let's start off by taking a look at the ventilation system. Boats with gasoline engines and closed compartments built after August 1, 1980 must have a powered ventilation system. Boats built prior to that date must have natural or powered ventilation as well. Boats with close fuel tank compartments built after August 1, 1978 must meet requirements by displaying a Certificate of Compliance. Boats built before that date must have either natural or powered ventilation in the fuel tank compartment. You will also need to show your Backfire Flame Control. All gasoline powered inboard/outboard or inboard motorboats must be equipped with an improved Backfire Flame Control device. To comply with navigation rules and for distress signaling purposes all boats must carry a sound producing device, such as a horn or siren, capable of a 4 second blast audible for half a mile. Boats larger than 39.
4 feet are also required to have a bell. Under a recent change, a vessel 12 meters to less than 20 meters is no longer required to carry a bell on board. Boats 16 feet or more in length must have properly installed working navigation lights and an all-around anchor light, capable of being lit independently from the red, green, and white running lights. By checking to make sure that everything works properly before your season even starts, you are going to save yourself time and headaches over the course of the year.