Each year hundreds of lives are lost...
thousands are injured... and millions of dollars
of property damage occurs because of preventable
recreational boating accidents on U.S.
waterways. Too often pleasure outings turn
tragic. You — as a boat operator or passenger —
can make a difference.
The following boating resources are provided
for your convenience:
A Boater’s Guide to the Federal Requirements
for Recreational Boats And Safety Tips
Owners and operators of recreational boats
must make sure that their vessel carries the
required safety equipment (carriage
requirement) and is in compliance with
federal and state regulations. This
84-page booklet contains detailed
information on the minimum federal safety
equipment requirements, along with a Quick
Reference Chart, and Pre-Departure
Checklist, safety tips and additional safety
equipment recommendations. To ensure
compliance with state boating laws, you
should contact the appropriate boating
agency in your area for additional
Federal Law requires the operator -- or
owner, if the operator is deceased or unable
to make the report -- to file a boating
accident report with your State reporting
authority when, as a result of an occurence
that involves a boat or its equipment: a
person dies; a person disappears from the
vessel under circumstances that indicate
death or injury; a person is injured and
requires medical treatment beyond first aid;
damage to vessels and other property totals
$2,000 (lower amounts in some states and
territories) or more; the boat is destroyed.
Get the "Recreational
Boating Accident Report" form.
Boating Safety Courses
Operator errors account for 70% of boating
accidents. Courses are available for
everyone from skippers to crew — locate the
flotilla nearest you to make arrangements to
take a course.
Obtaining A Free
The MMSI number is a bit like a phone number
for your boat, and all DSC capable equipment
(including AIS units) associated with the
specific vessel should use the same MMSI
number, since the MMSI serves to identify
the vessel, not the equipment. If you
sell your boat, the MMSI number is normally
transferred with it. Without an MMSI,
the digital functions on a DSC-equipped VHF
radio will not function
In order to obtain an MMSI, mariners
not required to carry a marine radio (e.g.
recreational boaters) and who remain in U.S.
waters can obtain an MMSI through approved
organizations such as
SEA TOW 1-800-4SEATOW,
U.S. Power Squadron, and
Shine Micro (primarily for AIS).
Most of these organizations provide MMSIs at
no charge even to nonmembers.
U.S. 401MHz Beacon Registration
If you are planning to sail or cruse on a
lake, river, off-shore or make a run up or
down the coast or waterway, you need an
EPIRB onboard and PLBs on your life
jacket(s). This website will provide
you with all the information you need to
initially register beacon(s), periodically
update your registration information, or
dispose of your EPIRB and PLB.
Additional information includes FAQ,
information about the SARSAT system, and
U.S. Aids To Navigation System Guide
The U.S. Aids to Navigation System is a
system maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard,
consisting of visual, audible, and
electronic signals which are designed to
assist the prudent mariner in the process of
navigation. The aids to navigation
system is not intended to identify every
shoal or obstruction to navigation which
exists in the navigable waters of the United
States, but rather provides for reasonable
marking of marine features as resources
Coast Guard Boating Safety App
As the nation's recreational boating safety
coordinator, the Coast Guard works to
minimize loss of life, personal injury,
property damage, and environmental harm.
Our boating safety program involves public
education programs, regulation of boat
design and construction, approval of boating
safety equipment, and vessel safety checks
for compliance with federal and state safety
requirements. The Coast Guard Mobile
App supports these missions by providing the
essential services and information most
commonly requested by boaters.
The Boating Safety Mobile app was not
designed to replace a boater's marine VHF
radio, which the Coast Guard strongly
recommends all boaters have aboard their
vessels. The app was designed to
provide additional boating safety resources
for mobile device users.
Learn how a free annual vessel safety check
can help you ensure your vessel is properly
equipped and meets both federal and state
boating safety requirements.