Coast Guard Requirements For Boats Under 16 Feet


The key thing behind every fun trip and every great adventure is safety. As long as everyone is safe and sound, everything is allowed. This rule is equally important in swimming, diving, basically, any activity that happens on, in, or beside the water. Boating is no exception.

The Coast Guard has rules and it is recommended to learn them before every trip. They may differ not only from place to place but also in terms of boat size. There may be some additional rules, but in this article, you’ll learn the basic safety rules and Coast Guard requirements for boats under 16 feet because these are mostly used around the globe.

State Registration

Boat certificate or registration document must be on board every time the vessel is being used. This will include all important data about the vessel. By the rules of the US Coast Guard, only sailboats and motorboats have to be registered.

Number And Letter Decal

The second most important of Coast Guard requirements for boats is state numbering and letters written in a specific way. They have to be clearly visible, so the color should be totally contrasted from the boat, not less than three inches in height. Also, it is important to know that by the rules of and Coast Guard requirements for boats under 16 feet numbers and letters must be placed on both front sides of the boat. The state decal must be separated but kept within six inches from the registration number.

Life Jacket Or Personal Floatation Device, AKA PFD

Coast guard requirements for boats state that there should be a personal floating device for everyone on the vessel. There are life jackets for kids, if there will be a baby on board you should get the best infant life jacket. For the ladies, there are women’s life jackets, or simply choose some of the best life jackets available. If you’re going to have a dog with you on a vessel, it is not required but it is recommended to choose the best dog life jacket.

Distress Signal


Whether going bad when not supposed to may force you to stay out on the water for a longer period of time than firstly anticipated, and there may be a need for evacuation, or simply the need to draw attention. That’s why it is required to have electric distress light with you, followed by at least three red flares. The same goes with sound – anything that could create sound strong enough to draw someone’s attention will do – whistle, horn…

Fire Extinguisher

If your boat has an engine, room with fuels, and any other flammable material stored, or closed area intended for living, owning Marine Type USCG B-I fire extinguisher will do the trick.


This point of coast guard requirements for boats under 16 feet is divided by dates. If the boat was built after April 25, 1940, and is run by gasoline it must have natural ventilation. If it was built after July 31, 1980, you’ll need an exhaust blower.

Navigation Lights

These have to be turned on from sunset to sunrise for easier spotting. Marine GPS will also help.

Sanitation Device

For every vessel with a toilet, there has to be Marine Sanitation Device Type I, II, or III.

Globo Surf Overview

Coast Guard requirements for boats serve one purpose and one purpose only – to keep you safe and sound, so you can have fun while out on the water. Don’t be lazy, learn them, and be prepared before your next trip!

More Boat Reviews:

Globo Surf
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!