Required Equipment Checklist For Alabama

  PWC Boat Less Than 16 Ft. Boat 16 Ft. To Less Than 26 Ft.

Alabama Boat Operator License Onboard

Required Equipment Required Equipment Required Equipment

Certificate of Number Onboard

Required Equipment Required Equipment Required Equipment

Validation Decals Displayed

Required Equipment Required Equipment Required Equipment

PFDs: Type I, II, III or V

Required Equipment Required Equipment Required Equipment

PFDs: Type IV

    Required Equipment

Ignition Safety Switch

Required Equipment Required Equipment Required Equipment

Type B-1 Fire Extinguisher

Required Equipment Required Equipment Required Equipment

Flame Arrestor

Required Equipment Required Equipment Required Equipment

Ventilation System

Required Equipment Required Equipment Required Equipment

Muffler

Required Equipment Required Equipment Required Equipment

Horn, Whistle Or Bell

Required Equipment Required Equipment Required Equipment

Daytime Visual Distress System

    Required Equipment

Night Time Visual Distress System

Required Equipment Required Equipment Required Equipment

Navigation Lights

Required Equipment Required Equipment Required Equipment
  1. Those riding on PWC must wear a Personal Flotation Device. (Click here to read more about approved personal flotation devices.)
  2. Those under 8 years of age must wear a Personal Flotation Device, except when within an enclosed cabin. (Click here to read more about approved personal flotation devices.)
  3. PWC must either be equipped with an ignition safety switch or have a self-circling feature. If equipped with an ignition safety switch, the lanyard must be attached to the person, clothing or PFD of the operator. (Click here to read more about PWC requirements for ignition safety switches)
  4. Boats less than 24 feet in length, with an open cockpit and powered by more than 50 horsepower, must be equipped with an ignition safety switch with the lanyard attached to the person, clothing or PFD of the operator. (Click here to read more about requirements for ignition safety switches)
  5. Required on inboard and stern drives only.
  6. When boating on federally controlled waters. (Click here to read more about requirements for sound producing devices)
  7. When boating on federally controlled waters. (Click here to read more about requirements for visual distress signals)
  8. It is strongly recommended that PWC are not operated after dark. However, if one is operated at night, it has the same requirements for visual distress signals and navigation lights as boats less than 16 feet in length.

Click here to download the Required Equipment Checklist

The U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary will perform a Courtesy Marine Examination (CME) of your boat and equipment free of charge.  This inspection covers federal and state requirements. If your boat meets all CME requirements, you will receive a CME decal. If your boat fails to meet all requirements, no report is made to any law enforcement agency.

The text and graphics on this page are used by permission. Copyright © 2007 Boat Ed.

Equipment

Lights

All vessels must be equipped with prescribed navigation lights when operated at night in accordance with the Boating Safety Laws.
Operators of all vessels must comply with the requirements for the type and use of lights when anchored or underway from sunset to sunrise.

Personal Flotation Devices (PFD)

  • Vessels less than 4.9 meters (16 feet) in length will have aboard a type I, II, III, or V personal flotation device for each person. Vessels 4.9 meters (16 feet) and over in length shall have aboard a type I, II, III, or V personal flotation device for each person and at least one type IV on board as a throwable device.
  • Each person operating, riding on, or being towed by a personal watercraft must wear a personal flotation device approved by the U. S. Coast Guard.
  • All persons under eight (8) years of age, on any vessel, must, at all times, wear a U. S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device that must be strapped, snapped, or zipped securely in place; except, that no personal flotation device should be required when inside an enclosed cabin or enclosed sleeping space.

CAUTION: Personal flotation devices must be accessible and of the proper size. Those that are torn, rotted, or damaged, lose their approval.
CAUTION: A type V personal flotation device is a PFD approved for restricted uses. Type V PFD's must be worn in open boats and when on deck of larger boats in order to be classified as U. S. Coast Guard approved.

Fire Extinguishers

All vessels, as herein designated, must be equipped with a serviceable U. S. Coast Guard approved fire extinguisher of the type and capacity indicated.

  1. All inboard and inboard/outboard vessels, regardless of size, and all motor vessels having closed compartments wherein portable fuel tanks are stored or having permanently installed fuel tanks shall have a hand portable or semi-portable fire extinguisher using carbon dioxide (CO2), foam, or other chemical ingredient such as is commonly used for extinguishing gasoline fires or petroleum product fires. Such fire extinguisher shall be approved by the U. S. Coast Guard.
  2. All vessels equipped with any butane gas, propane gas, kerosene, gasoline or petroleum product consuming device except outboard motors, such as a stove or lantern shall have a hand portable or semi-portable fire extinguisher using carbon dioxide (CO2), foam, or other chemical ingredient such as is commonly used for extinguishing a fire produced by the use of such device. Such fire extinguisher shall be approved by the U. S. Coast Guard.
  3. All motor vessels having closed or semi-closed cabins and any vessel with sleeping accommodations shall have a hand portable fire extinguisher or semi-portable fire extinguisher using carbon dioxide (CO2), foam, or other chemical ingredient such as is commonly used for extinguishing fires. Such fire extinguisher shall be approved by the U. S. Coast Guard.

*Flammable liquids include gasoline, kerosene, oil and stove alcohol.

Flame Arrestor

Every motorboat using gasoline as fuel, except outboard motors, shall have the carburetor or carburetors of every engine therein equipped with a U. S. Coast Guard approved flame arrestor or backfire trap.

Emergency Cut-off Switch

No person shall operate or give permission to operate any vessel less than 7.3 meters (24 feet) in length, having an open cockpit and having more than fifty (50) horsepower, unless said vessel is equipped with an emergency engine or motor shut-off switch. The shut-off switch shall be a lanyard-type and shall be attached to the person, clothing, or personal flotation device of the operator. It shall be installed so that when any removal of the operator from the normal operating station will result in the immediate shut-off of the engine.
Any person operating a personal watercraft that does not have self-circling capabilities, must have a lanyard-type engine shut-off switch, which must be attached to the person, clothing, or personal flotation device of the operator.

Sound Device

All vessels 4.9 meters (16 feet) or more in length must have on board the proper signal device for use during nighttime operation or inclement weather where visibility is greatly reduced.

Visual Distress Signals (Flares)

Visual Distress Signals (VDSs) allow boat operators to signal for help in the event of an emergency. VDSs are classified as day signals (visible in bright sunlight), night signals (visible at night) or both day and night signals. VDSs are either pyrotechnic (smoke and flames) or non-pyrotechnic (non-combustible).

Pyrotechnic Visual Distress Signals

Orange Smoke
Day Signal

Red Meteor
Day and Night Signal

Red Flare
Day and Night Signal

Non-Pyrotechnic Visual Distress Signals

Electric Light 
Night Signal

Orange Flag
Day Signal

Arm Signal
Although not a U. S. Coast Guard approved VDS, use this arm action to summon help if you do not have other visual distress signals available.
  • All boats used on federally controlled waters must be equipped with U. S. Coast Guard-approved (day and night) visual distress signals.
  • All boats on federal waters are required to carry night signals when operating between sunset and sunrise. In addition, the following boats must also carry day signals:
    • Recreational boats 16 feet or longer
    • Non-motorized, open sailboats 26 feet or longer.
  • If pyrotechnic VDSs are used, a minimum of three must be carried in the boat. Pyrotechnic VDSs must be U. S. Coast Guard-approved, in serviceable condition, and readily accessible.
  • The following combinations of signals are examples of VDSs that could be carried onboard to satisfy U. S. Coast Guard requirements:
    • Three hand-held red flares (day and night) or...
    • Three orange smoke signals (day only) and one electric light (night only).
  • It is prohibited to display visual distress signals on the water except when assistance is required to prevent immediate or potential danger to persons onboard a boat.

Federally Controlled Waters

Boat and PWC operators must observe federal regulations when boating on:

  • Coastal waters
  • The Great Lakes
  • Territorial seas
  • Waters which are two miles wide or wider and are connected to one of the above.

The text and graphics on this page are used by permission. Copyright © 2007 Boat Ed.

Diver's Flag
The diver's flag will be at least 300 mm (12 inches) square, colored red with a white 500 mm (2 inch) stripe running diagonally from the top staff corner to the bottom fly corner. Boat owners will stay at least 30.5 meters (100 feet) away from displayed flag.