Boating Safety Requirements

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.

Legal Requirements

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 ISAF World Sailing Racing 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
comparison of traditional man overboard buoy and dan buoy

Old MOB pole or new dan buoy?

Safety at Sea Resources

The following resources reflect long experience and careful research on maritime safety. Please explore them.

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
Arctic Voyaging
Station Rules of the joint German-French Arctic Research Base in Ny-Ålesund
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!

Boating Safety Requirements was last modified: March 30th, 2016 by Philip Thompson
This entry was posted by Philip Thompson. Bookmark the permalink.

About Philip Thompson

is an accomplished sailor and businessman who hails from Australia. He has raced boats from Lasers to handicap fleet keelboats and skippered the America’s Cup yachts South Australia (KA-8), Steak ’n Kidney (KA-14), and Challenge Australia (AUS-17).

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