Boats must have safety equipment

Boats must have safety equipment Most boat owners know they need to have safety equipment on board when they're on the water, but Game, Fish and Parks officials say there is some confusion about what exactly is required by law.

Boating Safety Specialist Bill Shattuck said the most common boating violation occurs when boaters do not have a throwable flotation device in their boat.

"Both U.S.Coast Guard and Game, Fish, and Parks regulations require that boats 16 feet or longer must have a U.S. Coast Guard approved throwable flotation device (Type IV cushion or ring buoy) on board," Shattuck said. "Many boaters may not be fully aware that this requirement is in addition to the need for a personal flotation device for each person with the boat. Cooler lids and extra life jackets do not qualify as throwables."

The following list of boats describes the equipment required by law:

Class A Boats

Those under 16 feet long, and all canoes and kayaks, must have: Properly displayed boat numbers and current license decals (three inches high with block style lettering) if motorized or longer than 12 feet; a U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device sized appropriately for each person; at least one Coast Guard or UL approved fire extinguisher of B-1 type or larger (unless the construction of the boat will not permit the entrapment of explosive or flammable gases or vapors); proper lights displayed when on the water between sunset and sunrise. (Note � Personal watercraft operators and riders must wear their life jackets.)

Class 1 Boats

Boats 16 feet or longer and less than 26 feet in length must have the formerly mentioned items on board, plus: A Coast Guard approved Type IV throwable flotation device; a whistle or other sound-producing mechanical device capable of a two-second blast audible for a least one-half mile.

Class 2 Boats

Boats 26 feet in length or over, and less than 40 feet long need another B-1 or larger fire extinguisher, and the whistle must be audible for one mile.

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