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Required Equipment for Ohio Boaters
Safe Boat Operation begins by making sure your boat and required equipment are together and in good working order before you get out on the water. We have provided a list of required safety equipment to help you make sure you are ready.

Ohio's minimum requirements for specific equipment and documents to carry on board while the vessel is in use include:

Your Ohio Boater's Certificate / Card (For all boaters born on or after 01/01/1982)

Certificate of Registration Number (To deter theft, don't leave it on the boat)

Personal Flotation Devices: Coast Guard approved Type I, II and III in appropriate sizes for all on board.

PFDs Type IV - Cushions & Life Ring Buoys are only required to be aboard boats longer than 16'.

Ignition Safety Switch must be installed on all PWCs

Type B-1 Fire Extinguisher for boats less than 26' long. (Requirements differ for boats over 25' 11)

Flame Arrestor on each carburetor (For gas-powered motors excluding outboards)

Ventilation System at least 2 ventilation ducts fitted with cowls must be properly installed. (Engine and fuel tank compartments)

Muffler all engines must have a working muffler or underground exhaust. (Boat noise must not prevent sound signals from being heard)

Horn, Whistle Or Bell Must be audible for to 1 miles depending on the size of your boat.

Daytime Visual Distress Signals for all except open sailboats under 26'. (Pyrotechnic devices and an orange flag)

Night Time Visual Distress Signals for all vessels except PWCs becaues they may not operate between sunset & sunrise. (Flares, meteors, electric lights)

Navigation Lights (Required to be used from sunset to sunrise and in low visibility)

Boats over 39' 4" must carry a copy of the USCG Navigation Rules aboard. They must also display Garbage and Oil Pollution Placards.

Personal Flotation devices (PFDs)

Enough can not be said about the importance of wearing life jackets. Most boating fatalities are the result of victims not wearing a life jacket. Federal law requires every boat to be equipped with an adequate supply of good quality Coast Guard approved Life Jackets available in sizes that fit every passenger and crew member properly.

Ohio's Life Jacket regulations are state-specific regarding when, where and who is required by law to wear a Life Jacket.

  • All children under 10 years old must wear a life jacket while in the open portion of a boat under 18 feet on Ohio waters.
  • Anyone being towed on skis, a tube, wake board or the like.
  • Anyone riding on a Personal Watercraft (PWC) and

In addition to abiding the law, PFDs should ALWAYS be worn by:

  • Children of all ages
  • Windsurfers
  • Everyone on the boat during rough weather
  • Everyone on the boat during heavy water traffic
  • Anyone who cannot swim
  • You! when you're boating alone