Must-Have Safety Equipment Checklist

When taking your boat out, there’s a couple things you’ll want to have with you ( link to our list) on your adventure. Some safety gear however, is required by law and essential to have on board. Here are some things to make sure you have aboard to keep you afloat if ever stopped by the US Coast Guard.

Sound Signaling Devices

In addition to the horn on a boat, something such as a whistle or a portable air horn may also count as a sound signal device. A sound signal device is extremely effective when getting into tough to navigate conditions like thick fog.


It is a requirement that every person on board your vessel have an accessible and wearable Type 1, 2, 3, personal flotation device. For clients of member marinas of Coastal Captains, you won't have to worry about remembering these––we provide up to 4 lifejackets for your trip at no additional fee. If you have any kids 12 or under on board, they must wear a life jacket at all times when the boat is underway.

Fire Extinguishers

Boats under 26 feet need at least one B-1 type extinguisher on board. If your boat is 26-40 feet you need 1 B-2 type or 2 B-1 type extinguishers to remain compliant. Make sure yourself and guests are familiar with how to operate the type of extinguisher you have––and always review safety equipment regularly.

Visual Signal Devices

Boats over 15 feet are required to carry visual signals for use both day and night. Flares and pyrotechnic devices, often emitting an orange or white smoke would count––as well as aerial light flares.

Throwable Flotation Devices

One type IV throwable flotation device is required to be on every vessel. There are many things that qualify as a type IV floating device, from something like a typical ring buoy to something more alternative like a cushion.

These are general guidelines and depending on the type and size of your boat, you may need additional items to the ones mentioned above. When you boat with Coastal Captains, a captain will always make sure the proper equipment is aboard. These safety checks will be available to you in your client profile.