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California - Sailboats and Human Powered Vessels

Life jackets:

Vessels less than 16 feet in length and all canoes and kayaks, regardless of length, must carry one Type I, II, III or V Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person on board. Life jackets must be readily accessible and fit the intended wearer properly.

Vessels 16 feet and over, except canoes and kayaks, must have one Type I, II, III or V Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person aboard, plus at least one Type IV throw able device.
Note: An inflatable life jacket must be worn to be considered readily accessible.

Navigation Lights:

All vessels are required to display navigation lights between sunset and sunrise and during times of restricted visibility, such as:

  • An electric torch
  • Lighted lantern showing a white light which shall be exhibited in sufficient time to prevent collision.
  • Tricolored lantern (should not be used with all-round green and red lights)
  • All-Round green and red lights. (should not be used with tricolored lantern)

Sound Signaling Devices:

A whistle, bell or other means of making an efficient sound signal.

Visual Distress Signals (Coastal Waters Only):

Only devices that are suitable for night are required between sunset and sunrise. Which includes?

  • Hand red Flare, distress signals
  • Pistol projected parachute red flare distress signals
  • Hand-held rocket-propelled parachute red
  • Distress signal for boats, red aerial pyrotechnic flare
  • Electric distress light for boat

California State Parks Boating and Waterways

United States Coast Guard

NASBLA - National Association of State Boating Law Administrator

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