Boat marinas allow yacht and boat owners to dock their vessels year round, in most locations. Visitors to the marina also may rent boats for recreation. However, boat safety regulations must be followed before and after the vessel sets sail. These rules help to keep passengers and crew members safe.
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Registration and documentation rules must be followed for boats to pass a marina safety inspection. Both documents must be on board the boat and properly displayed, according to the National Vessel Examiner. Documentation numbers should be permanently marked on the interior of the boat. The documented boat's name and hailing port must be displayed on the exterior, in letters less than four inches in height. The boat's registration number also should be attached to each side of the forward half of the boat. The registration number must be in plain, vertical, block lettering, not less than three inches in height. The colour of the text must also contrast with the colour of the boat. State tax stickers should be placed according to individual state policy.
Personal Flotation Devices
Flotation devices or life jackets must pass a U.S. Coast Guard inspection. Personal flotation devices should be in serviceable condition and of suitable size for each person on the boat, according to the National Vessel Examiner. Each child boarding the boat should have a properly fitted life jacket. The safety devices are required to be "immediately available." They cannot be stored away or in unopened packaging.
Recreational boats over 16 feet are required to carry distress signal lighting. Distress signals differ between day and night use. Acceptable signals for the day are mirrors, red or orange flags and hand signals. However, night distress signals can consist of strobe lights, lanterns or flashlights.
Fire extinguishers are required on boats and must be readily accessible. Boats with inboard engines and closed compartments that store fuel tanks must have a fire extinguisher on board. This rule also applies to boats with a closed living space and a permanently installed fuel tank. These fire extinguisher regulations must be met for docking boats at the marina, and for travelling on the water.
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