The key to boating safety is education. Familiarity with safety and equipment requirements is a first step in the right direction. Incorporate regular training, or practice, with your crew on your boat, to make sailing as safe as possible. Note that while there are a number of agencies telling you how to use your boat more safely, the USCG requirements are clear and indisputable legal requirements for safe boating (in the USA). Lower on the page are safe boating requirements for sailboat racing, other recommendations, and more safe boating resources. We hope that even knowledgeable yachtsmen will find valuable information through this page.
This page is not intended to be your all-inclusive instruction manual for safety at sea. Read widely, study, take classes, anticipate, prepare, practice.
- USCG boating safety equipment requirements
- View as web page or download pdf
- Life preservers (PFDs)
- How to select a lifejacket
- When sailing farther away from shore than an emergency responder can reach in ten minutes, you need a Class I offshore life jacket for every person
- A Boater’s Guide to the Federal Requirements for Recreational Boats, from USCG
- State boating safety requirements
- AZ requirements (web page), Full pdf
- CA requirements (web page), Full pdf
- OR requirements (web page)
- WA requirements (web page), Full pdf
- Study for boating test or see safe boating requirements of other states
- ABYC & NFPA Recommendations
- GFCI AC outlets
- Smoke detectors
- Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors
- ELCI within ten feet of shorepower inlet
- There are many more! Refer to ABYC and NFPA sites
- Pay a visit to West Marine
- Shop for pfds at West Marine
- Shop for fire extinguishers
- Shop for visual distress signals
- Shop for horns
Additional Sailing Requirements for Racing
- Safety equipment required by
ISAFRacing Rules of Sailing (RRS)
- Click to the Racing Rules of Sailing, supplements, and appendices
- Click to the Offshore Special Regulations
- US Sailing US Safety Equipment Requirements
- Click to the US Sailing USSER latest release (web page)
Download effective 2014-04-23
- Or download here the 2016 SER
- Also see respective class association bylaws, and
- Class association web site
Safety at Sea Resources
The following resources reflect long experience and careful research on maritime safety. Please explore them.
- USCG Boating Safety Division
- Cruising Club of America (
CCA) Safety at Sea section
Ten Lessons Learned from Recent Incidents, Feb 2014, highly recommend
- CCA Seamanship section
- West Marine
- West Marine suggested cruising gear
- West Marine safe boating checklist
- BoatUS Boating Safety including EPIRB rental
- On this site: MOB gear inspection
Dealing with Man Overboard
Please click to information about preventing man overboard and what to do when you have a man overboard.
Boating Safety in Special Circumstances
Here is a listing of interesting boating safety requirements for special circumstances.
- Sailing Superyachts
- Suggested Checklists and Procedures for Racing Superyachts, ed. Captain Jonathan Kline (Jan 2012): Racing Safety Manual
- Other useful links
- Hans Anderson is a marine surveyor who has compiled a great page of links.
Have We Missed One of Your Favorites?
If you know of a great boating safety resource we should include here, please let us know in comments, below!