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PA Boating Handbook
Minimum Required Equipment / Recommended Equipment

Smart boaters ensure that their boats are equipped with the proper safety equipment.The chart below lists the minimum required equipment for motorboats.

EQUIPMENT Less than 16 feet 16 to less than
26 feet
26 to less than
40 feet
40 to not more than 65 feet
BACKFIRE FLAME CONTROL One approved device on each carburetor of all inboard gasoline engines.
SOUND PRODUCING DEVICE Some means of making an efficient sound signal audible for 1/2-mile. A whistle or horn must be readily accessible to the operator of boat or passengers. An athletic coach’s whistle is acceptable. Must carry a whistle and a bell audible for 1/2-mile.
PORTABLE FIRE EXTINGUISHER WHEN REQUIRED At least one B-I type Coast Guard approved portable marine fire extinguisher. Must be installed and immediately available, within arm's reach of the operators or passengers. At least two B-I type Coast Guard approved portable marine fire extinguishers or one B-II. At least three B-I type Coast Guard approved portable marine fire extinguishers or one B-I and one B-II.
NAVIGATION LIGHTS Must comply with Inland Navigation Rules and state regulations.
MUFFLING DEVICE Efficient muffling device required to prevent excessive or unusual noise.
PERSONAL FLOTATION DEVICES (PFDs, LIFE JACKETS, THROWABLE DEVICES) One USCG-approved life jacket for each person on board. Must be used in accordance with the requirement on the approval label. One USCG-approved life jacket on board for each person and, in addition, one throwable device must be used in accordance with the requirements on the approval label. Canoe and kayaks, regardless of length, are not required to carry a throwable device.
VENTILATION Boats with closed compartments or permanently installed fuel tanks must be equipped with an efficient natural or mechanical bilge ventilator or meet the applicable Coast Guard construction standards for fuel and electrical systems.
  • Paddles or oars
  • Anchors with sufficient line
  • Dock lines
  • Extra clothing
  • Food and water
  • Marine radio or cellular phone
  • Tool kit with spare spark plugs
  • Flashlight
  • Lanyard attached to motor cut-off switch
  • Bailer
  • Fenders
  • First aid kit
  • Charts and compass
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses
  • Spare fuses and bulbs
  • Gas can
  • Extra line or throw bag
  • Visual distress signals (required on Lake Erie)
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