California - Motorboats 16 feet to less than 26 feet in length

Life jackets:

One Type I, II, III or V Coast Guard-approved wearable life jacket must be carried for each person aboard. Life jackets must be readily accessible and of an appropriate size for the intended wearer. In addition, the vessel must carry an approved Type IV throw able device, which should be immediately available.
Note: An inflatable life jacket must be worn to be considered readily accessible.

Fire Extinguisher:

One Type B-I Coast Guard-approved fire extinguisher must be carried when no fixed fire extinguishing system is installed in machinery spaces.

Backfire Flame Arrestor:

A Coast Guard-approved backfire flame arrestor is required for inboard gasoline motors that are not exposed to the atmosphere above the gunwale level.

Muffling System:

An effective muffling system is required for the exhaust of each internal combustion engine. Unmodified outboards usually meet legal requirements (see page 37).

Ventilation System:

All motorboats or motor vessels, except open boats made after 1940 and using gasoline as a fuel must have at least two ventilator ducts fitted with cowls or their equivalent for the efficient removal of explosive or flammable gases from all engine and fuel tank compartment bilges

Boats built after July 31, 1990, that have a gasoline engine for electrical generation, mechanical power or propulsion must be equipped with an operable ventilation system.

Sound Signaling Devices:

A vessel of less than 39 feet 4 inches (12 meters) must be able to provide a means of making an efficient sound signal, but is not required to carry a whistle or bell.

Visual Distress Signals (Coastal Waters Only):

All boats 16 feet or more in length must carry devices aboard at all times. Boaters must carry either of the following devices that are suitable for day or night use:

  • Hand red Flare, distress signals

  • Floating orange smoke distress signals (day)

  • Pistol projected parachute red flare distress signals

  • Hand-held rocket-propelled parachute red

  • Hand-held orange smoke distress signals (day only)

  • Distress signal for boats, red aerial pyrotechnic flare

  • Orange flag (day)

  • Electric distress light for boat (night)

Navigation Lights:

Navigation lights must be kept in serviceable condition and displayed between sunset and sunrise and at times of restricted visibility. If practicable, a sailing vessel may exhibit sidelights and a stern light or lighted lantern showing a white light, which must be exhibited in sufficient time to prevent collision.

California Required Boat Safety Equipment