Get A Vessel Safety Check

Take A Boating Class

What Do I Need On My Boat?



What Equipment Do I Need For My Boat?

Required Boating Equipment

Capsized Boat At Lake LahontanEach vessel operated in Nevada or Federal waters, must meet certain safety requirements. A Vessel Safety Check can be performed by a Vessel Examiner from one of our Flotillas. This check will review the required items and make suggestions for your boat. Every state has slightly different rules although most follow federal regulations in most circumstances. Check Nevada Boating Laws for more information.




The following items are those required to pass the Vessel Safety Check and comply with Coast Guard Requirements:

Video Available Required Items Description of Required Item
video camera Correct Display of Numbers These must be at least 3" inch block style letters and numbers and in a contrasing color to the boat hull. Black letters are recommended.
  State Registration or Federal Documentation The Nevada Department of Wildlife registration must be on the vessel. If it is a Federally documented vessel this documentation must be on the vessel.
video camera Life Jackets There must be on each vessel one life jacket for each person on board. The life jacket must fit the person wearing it. For example, if there are children on board, they must be wearing a life jacket suitable for a child. In Nevada, children 12 and under must be wearing the life jacket. If inflatable type life jackets are onboard, they must be worn to count as a life jacket available for use!
video camera Visual Distress Signals Boats that are 16 feet or longer are required to carry visual distress signals. Three flares will meet the requirements for visual distress signals. They must be in date. Most flares expire 42 months after their date of manufacture.
video camera Fire Extinguishers Many boats are required to carry fire extinguishers. Although recommended, it is not required that they be mounted. Boats with inboard engines, boats with enclosed compartments where flammable substances are stored, boats with closed living spaces and boats 26 feet or longer with outboard motors are all required to carry fire extinguishers. These must be Coast Guard Approved. Boats under 26 feet in length must carry at least one B1 extinguisher unless they have a fixed halon type of system installed.
video camera Ventilation Vessels that contain an engine and fuel tank in an enclosed compartment must have a powered ventilation system. This ventilator should be operated before starting the engine.
video camera Backfire Flame Control All boats constructed after April 25, 1940 that operate with a gasoline engine, must have a backfire flame control device. This is usually installed above the carburetor, in boats so equipped while fuel injected engines must have this control installed above the air intake.
video camera Sound Producing Device Nevada differs from Federal law in that all vessels 26 feet or longer must have a horn and a bell. Federal law only requires this in vessels over 39.4 feet. Vessels operated in Nevada that are under 26 feet in length, must have some efficient sound producing device. An athletic whistle would be acceptable.
video camera Navigation Lights Boats longer than 16 feet must have navigation lights installed and in working order. The number and type vary with the size of vessel and its construction.
  Pollution Placard Vessels larger than 26 feet must display a pollution placard.
  MARPOL Trash Placard The Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships requires boats longer than 26 feet to display this placard which indicates what materials may be thrown overboard. It is illegal to throw overboard any plastic type of material in the ocean or waters of the United States.
  Marine Sanitation Devices All recreational vessels with installed toilet facilities must have an operable marine sanitation device on board. Direct discharge toilets are illegal.
  Navigation Rules Vessels 39.4 feet or longer must carry a copy on board of the Navigation Rules. These are available at many bookstores.
  Specific State Requirements The state of Nevada differs in some respects from Federal Law. Check our Nevada Boating Laws page for further information.
  Overall Vessel Condition The boat must be in good overall condition. The bilge area must be clean, the deck free of hazards, electrical and fuel systems in good condition and galley and heating systems operating correctly.

There are many other items that are not required but recommended for the safe operation of your boat. Those items may be viewed on the Suggested Equipment page.