Sound Signaling Equipment

Recreational boats are required to carry sound producing devices. Collisions with other vessels are the most often-reported boating accident. Sound-signaling equipment can help boaters to avoid collisions by making it possible to signal their intentions to other watercraft in the area.

Under certain circumstances, the U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Rules require that sound signals be made, including in meeting, crossing and overtaking situations.

Sound producing devices required for each type of vessel is included below:

Vessels Less Than 12 Metres (39.4 Feet) Long 

Whistle and signal horn

Vessels Greater than  12 Metres (39.4 Feet) Long 

Bell and whistle, and signal horn

Below is a depiction of various passing situations with proper sounds:

Different boat passing situations with proper sounds

Head on situation with proper sound

Boat crossing situation with proper sound