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Boating Safety: Part 2 of 16 – Safety Equipment

Both the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) have a required list of safety equipment that must be present on all vessels when anchored or underway.  As stated in Chapman’s Piloting these requirements are the minimum safety equipment and the prudent captain will have back up for many of these.  What equipment required varies on vessel size and type.  Below is a list of these items but some may require more clarification.  To read all details you can find safety equipment requirements on the following sites:

http://myfwc.com/boating/regulations

www.uscgboating.org/assets/1/workflow_staging/Publications/420.PDF

Personal Flotation Devices (PFD) – life jackets

PFD’s are required by all aboard motorized and non-motorized vessels.  The type of PFD depends on the size of the vessel and the activity the boater is participating in.  There are some general rules:

ALL PFD’s must be within easy reach of all boaters and should be correct size for each person

PFD’s must be worn by boaters on Personal Watercraft, skiers, and sailboarders

ALL vessels greater than 16’ are required to have 1 Type IV PFD (throw-able) for man-overboard

ALL children under the age of 6 must WEAR their PFD while the boat is underway

Inflatable PFD’s can be used for boaters older than 15 years and they must be in good condition

Type I             designed for offshore; will flip unconscious boaters into vertical position

Type II            designed for near shore waters; will flip unconscious boater

Type III          designed for inland waters; will NOT flip unconscious boater

Type IV           designed to be thrown to boater overboard

 

Visual Distress Signals (VDS)

Day only – orange flag

Night only – electric light that sends SOS

Day/Night – flares

 

Vessel Classifications

Class A             less than 16 ft.            Class 2            26 – 39.9 ft.

Class 1             16 – 25.9 ft.                 Class 3            40 – 65 ft.

 

Class

A

1

2

3

PFD I,   II, or III I,   II, or III, and IV I,   II, or III, and IV I,   II, or III and IV

 

Fire   Extinguisher Required   if enclosed compartment that could hold fume B-I   required if enclosed compartment that could hold fume 2   B-I or

1   B-I and 1 B-II

3   B-I and

B-II

Visual   Distress Signal Night   only

Only   in coastal waters1

Day   and night required in coastal waters Day   and night required Day   and night required
Sound   Device Whistle,   horn, or bell Whistle,   horn, or bell Whistle,   horn, or bell Whistle,   horn, or bell
Backfire   Flame Control Required   if engine or fuel is in enclosed compartment Required   if engine or fuel is in enclosed compartment Required   if engine or fuel is in enclosed compartment Required   if engine or fuel is in enclosed compartment
Ventilation

Specifications vary with age2

For   enclosed engines or fuel For   enclosed engines or fuel For   enclosed engines or fuel For   enclosed engines or fuel

 

1 Coastal Waters – waters whose shores are 2 miles across

2 Ventilation – differs for vessels built before and after Aug 1, 1980 – see myfwc.com website above

 

Navigation   Lights  
Motor   boat 40-160’ Port   (red / left) and Starboard (green / right) each side of bow

Stern   (white)

Masthead   (white)

Motor   boat < 40’ Port   / Starboard can be one or two units

Stern

Sailboat   23-66’

Sailboats motoring = motor boat

Port   / Starboard can be one or two units

Stern   or mast (can be white or red/green)

Sailboat   < 23’ White   flashlight shining upwards or on sail

 

Powered   by paddles White   flashlight shining upwards

 

At   Anchor Masthead   (white)

 

 

Recommended Safety Equipment

An anchor and sufficient amount of anchor line (rode)

Manuel or electric bilge pump – or some form to bail water

Paddle

 

If you have questions or need clarification you can contact Rick O’Connor at roc1@ufl.edu

475-5230.