Coast Guard Requirements For Boats Over 16 Feet


Coast guard requirements for boats serve to keep us safe while we’re out on the water, boating. We’ve already been through Coast guard requirements needed for boats under 16 feet, and now it is time to go through the list of  Coast guard requirements for boats over 16 feet. So, if your boat is between 16 and 26 feet, this article will have all the needed information about the requirements you’ll have to fulfill. Most of the laws are the same, but some may be different in another size category. This, alongside the Coast guard boating safety checklist for all boats, will be enough to keep you safe during your trip.

State Registration

Any boat has to be registered within the state where it is used most often. You’ll receive a certificate you’re obliged to keep onboard during the usage. If you don’t know who to contact and ask about registration, call the Coast guard, they’ll help.

Numbering And Letters

Besides the above-mentioned certificate, after the registration, you’ll get a state number, and there are few rules when it comes to placing it properly:

  • It has to be attached to both forward halves of the boat
  • Its color must be in contrast to the color of the boat
  • It has to be at least 3 inches in height
  • Validation stickers have to be placed within 6 inches of the registration number
  • Nothing else can be placed close

Documentation Certificate

In case your vessel is documented, you’ll need to have an original certificate with you on board. The name of your boat must be placed on the exterior part of the hull, and it has to be at least 4 inches high. The official number should be always patched to the interior space of the vessel, and it should be at least 3 inches high.

Personal Flotation Device Or Life Jackets


Before every trip, check what life jackets the local Coast guard approves. There should be one for every passenger. Also, you’ll need to get Type V personal flotation device, in case someone falls into water, so you can throw it.

There are infant life jackets, you can also get life jackets for kids or swim vests for toddlers if your four-legged companion is with you look for the best dog life jackets, for ladies, there are women life jackets, or you may simply look for the best life jackets.

Visual Distress Signal

Boats from 16 do 26 feet are required to have a combination of these visual distress signal devices:

  • At least one orange distress flag
  • At least one electric distress light
  • Three hand-held or floating smoke signals
  • Three meteor or parachute type red flares that could be handheld, with at least one for the night and one for the day

Fire Extinguisher

In case the boat has a fuel container or any other flammable material stored onboard, it is required to have a USG B-I marine-type fire extinguisher.


This depends on the age of your vessel. If it was built after April 25, 1940, with gasoline in an enclosed engine or if it has a fuel tank section, it must have natural ventilation. If the vessel was built after July 31, 1980, it will need to have an exhaust blower.

Sound-Producing Device

In case of an emergency or simply lowered visibility, the only way you’ll be able to draw attention is with sound. That’s why it is required to have at least one device that could produce non-human noise, to prevent a possible collision, or to help someone locate you.

Navigation Lights For Night Ride

When the sun sets, or when the visibility is low, your navigation lights must be on. If everything is normal, they should be on from sunset to sunrise, while in the case of lowered visibility they should be on until it passes.

Sanitation Device

For every installed toilet there has to be a Coast guard-certified sanitation device.

Globo Surf Overview

Following these rules should help you get ready and enjoy your adventure full-time, without having to worry about something going wrong.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!