Gear Required by the United States Coast Guard When on Kayaks E-mail
Wednesday, 29 May 2013 00:00

USCG Shield For many of us, the encroaching warmth of summer signifies a seasonal increase in kayak angling opportunities. With the longer and brighter days, however, come tales of tragic and often preventable on-water disasters. For seasoned veterans and first time boaters alike, it is always a good idea to review the rules and regulations put forth to ensure our safety. The time is also right for kayak anglers to take stock of their existing safety gear, and to make sure that it is in top condition. A few minutes spent in preparation can truly make a world of difference on the water.

The rules governing navigation and navigable waters within the United States are governed by Title 33 of the Code For Regulations (CFR). Here is a list of equipment required while you are on the water kayak fishing.

  • A Personal Floatation Device (PFD) in good serviceable condition (see Title 33 CFR 175.15).
  • A Sound Producing Devices such as a whistle or horn (see Title 33 CFR 83.33).
  • "An electric torch or lighted lantern showing a white light which shall be exhibited in sufficient time to prevent collision" (see Title 33 CFR 83.25).
  • Visual Distress Signals at the very least suitable for night use if out between sunset and sunrise (see Title 33 CFR 175.110) if your kayak is less than 16 feet.

The specific sections of Title 33 CFR referenced above are linked to the actual wording included below.

 


§ 175.15 Personal flotation devices required.

Except as provided in § 175.17 and § 175.25 :

(a) No person may use a recreational vessel unless at least one PFD of the following types is on board for each person:

(1) Type I PFD;
(2) Type II PFD; or
(3) Type III PFD.

(b) No person may use a recreational vessel 16 feet or more in length unless one Type IV PFD is on board in addition to the total number of PFDs required in paragraph (a) of this section.

(c) No person may operate a recreational vessel under way with any child under 13 years old aboard unless each such child is either—

(1) Wearing an appropriate PFD approved by the Coast Guard; or
(2) Below decks or in an enclosed cabin.

[CGD 81-023, 55 FR 32034, Aug. 6, 1990, as amended by CGD 92-045, 58 FR 41608, Aug. 4, 1993; USCG-2000-8589, 67 FR 42493, June 24, 2002]


§ 175.17 Exemptions.

(a) A Type V PFD may be carried in lieu of any PFD required under § 175.15, provided:

(1) The approval label on the Type V PFD indicates that the device is approved:

(i) For the activity in which the vessel is being used; or
(ii) As a substitute for a PFD of the Type required on the vessel in use;

(2) The PFD is used in accordance with any requirements on the approval label; and
(3) The PFD is used in accordance with requirements in its owner's manual, if the approval label makes reference to such a manual.

(b) Canoes and kayaks 16 feet in length and over are exempted from the requirements for carriage of the additional Type IV PFD required under § 175.15(b).

(c) Racing shells, rowing sculls, racing canoes and racing kayaks are exempted from the requirements for carriage of any Type PFD required under § 175.15.

(d) Sailboards are exempted from the requirements for carriage of any Type PFD required under § 175.15.

(e) Vessels of the United States used by foreign competitors while practicing for or racing in competition are exempted from the carriage of any PFD required under § 175.15, provided the vessel carries one of the sponsoring foreign country's acceptable flotation devices for each foreign competitor on board.

[CGD 92-045, 58 FR 41608, Aug. 4, 1993; 58 FR 51576, Oct. 4, 1993, as amended by CGD 97-023, 62 FR 33365, June 19, 1997; USCG-1998-3799, 63 FR 35533, June 30, 1998]


§ 175.21 Condition; size and fit; approval marking.

No person may use a recreational boat unless each PFD required by § 175.15 of this part or allowed by § 175.17 of this part is:

(a) In serviceable condition as provided in § 175.23 ;

(b) Of an appropriate size and fit for the intended wearer, as marked on the approval label; and

(c) Legibly marked with its approval number, as specified in 46 CFR part 160.

[CGD 81-023, 55 FR 32034, Aug. 6, 1990, as amended by CGD93-055, 61 FR 13926, Mar. 28, 1996]


§ 175.23 Serviceable condition.

A PFD is considered to be in serviceable condition for purposes of § 175.21(a) only if the following conditions are met:

(a) No PFD may exhibit deterioration that could diminish the performance of the PFD, including—

(1) Metal or plastic hardware used to secure the PFD on the wearer that is broken, deformed, or weakened by corrosion;
(2) Webbings or straps used to secure the PFD on the wearer that are ripped, torn, or which have become separated from an attachment point on the PFD; orbr/>(3) Any other rotted or deteriorated structural component that fails when tugged.

(b) In addition to meeting the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section, no inherently buoyant PFD, including the inherently buoyant components of a hybrid inflatable PFD, may exhibit—

(1) Rips, tears, or open seams in fabric or coatings, that are large enough to allow the loss of buoyant material;(2) Buoyant material that has become hardened, non-resilient, permanently compressed, waterlogged, oil-soaked, or which shows evidence of fungus or mildew; or
(3) Loss of buoyant material or buoyant material that is not securely held in position.

(c) In addition to meeting the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section, an inflatable PFD, including the inflatable components of a hybrid inflatable PFD, must be equipped with—

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, a properly armed inflation mechanism, complete with a full inflation medium cartridge and all status indicators showing that the inflation mechanism is properly armed;
(2) Inflatable chambers that are all capable of holding air;
(3) Oral inflation tubes that are not blocked, detached, or broken;
(4) A manual inflation lanyard or lever that is not inaccessible, broken, or missing; and
(5) Inflator status indicators that are not broken or otherwise non-functional.

(d) The inflation system of an inflatable PFD need not be armed when the PFD is worn inflated and otherwise meets the requirements of paragraphs (a) and (c) of this section.

[CGD 93-055, 61 FR 13926, Mar. 28, 1996]



§ 83.25 Sailing vessels underway and vessels under oars (Rule 25).

(a) Sailing vessels underway. A sailing vessel underway shall exhibit:

(1) Sidelights; and
(2) A sternlight.

(b) Sailing vessels of less than 20 meters in length. In a sailing vessel of less than 20 meters in length the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of this Rule may be combined in one lantern carried at or near the top of the mast where it can best be seen.

(c) Additional lights. A sailing vessel underway may, in addition to the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of this Rule, exhibit at or near the top of the mast, where they can best be seen, two all-round lights in a vertical line, the upper being red and the lower green, but these lights shall not be exhibited in conjunction with the combined lantern permitted by paragraph (b) of this Rule.

(d) Sailing vessels of less than 7 meters in length; vessels under oars.

(1) A sailing vessel of less than 7 meters in length shall, if practicable, exhibit the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) or (b) of this Rule, but if she does not, she shall have ready at hand an electric torch or lighted lantern showing a white light which shall be exhibited in sufficient time to prevent collision.
(2) A vessel under oars may exhibit the lights prescribed in this Rule for sailing vessels, but if she does not, she shall have ready at hand an electric torch or lighted lantern showing a white light which shall be exhibited in sufficient time to prevent collision.

(e) Vessels proceeding under sail. A vessel proceeding under sail when also being propelled by machinery shall exhibit forward where it can best be seen a conical shape, apex downward. A vessel of less than 12 meters in length is not required to exhibit this shape, but may do so.


§ 83.33 Equipment for sound signals (Rule 33).

(a) Vessels of 12 meters or more in length. A vessel of 12 meters or more in length shall be provided with a whistle and a bell and a vessel of 100 meters or more in length shall, in addition, be provided with a gong, the tone and sound of which cannot be confused with that of the bell. The whistle, bell and gong shall comply with the specifications in Annex III (§ 86.05) to these Rules. The bell or gong or both may be replaced by other equipment having the same respective sound characteristics, provided that manual sounding of the prescribed signals shall always be possible.

(b) Vessels of less than 12 meters in length. A vessel of less than 12 meters in length shall not be obliged to carry the sound signaling appliances prescribed in paragraph (a) of this Rule but if she does not, she shall be provided with some other means of making an efficient sound signal.


§ 86.05 Sound signal intensity and range of audibility.

A whistle on a vessel shall provide, in the direction of the forward axis of the whistle and at a distance of 1 meter from it, a sound pressure level in at least one 1/3 -octave band of not less than the appropriate figure given in Table 86.05 within the following frequency ranges (±1 percent):

(a) 130-1200 Hz, for a vessel 75 meters or more in length;

(b) 250-1600 Hz, for a vessel 20 meters but less than 75 meters in length;

(c) 250-2100 Hz, for a vessel 12 meters but less than 20 meters in length.

Table 86.05

Length of vessel in meters Fundamental frequency range (Hz) For measured frequencies (Hz) 1/3-octave band level at 1 meter in dB referred to 2×10 −5 N/m2 Audibility range in nautical miles
    130-180 145  
200 or more 70-200 180-250 143 2
    250-1200 140  
    130-180 140  
75 but less than 200 130-350 180-250 138 1.5
    250-1200 134  
    250-450 130  
20 but less than 75 250-525 450-800 125 1.0
    800-1600 121  
    250-450 120  
12 but less than 20 250-525 450-800 115 0.5
    800-2100 111  
Note. The range of audibility in the table above is for information and is approximately the range at which a whistle may usually be heard on its forward axis in conditions of still air on board a vessel having average background noise level at the listening posts (taken to be 68 dB in the octave band centered on 250 Hz and 63 dB in the octave band centered on 500 Hz).
In practice the range at which a whistle may be heard is extremely variable and depends critically on weather conditions; the values given can be regarded as typical but under conditions of strong wind or high ambient noise level at the listening post the range may be much reduced.

§ 175.110 Visual distress signals required.

(a) No person may use a boat 16 feet or more in length, or any boat operating as an uninspected passenger vessel subject to the requirements of 46 CFR chapter I, subchapter C, unless visual distress signals selected from the list in § 175.130 or the alternatives in §175.135, in the number required, are onboard. Devices suitable for day use and devices suitable for night use, or devices suitable for both day and night use, must be carried.

(b) Between sunset and sunrise, no person may use a boat less than 16 feet in length unless visual distress signals suitable for night use, selected from the list in § 175.130 or § 175.135, in the number required, are on board.

[CGD 76-183, 44 FR 73024, Dec. 17, 1979, as amended by USCG-1999-5040, 67 FR 34760, May 15, 2002]


§ 175.130 Visual distress signals accepted.

(a) Any of the following signals, when carried in the number required, can be used to meet the requirements of § 175.110 :

(1) An electric distress light meeting the standards of 46 CFR 161.013. One is required to meet the night only requirement.
(2) An orange flag meeting the standards of 46 CFR 160.072. One is required to meet the day only requirement.
(3) Pyrotechnics meeting the standards noted in Table 175.130.

(b) Any combination of signal devices selected from the types noted in paragraphs (a) (1), (2) and (3) of this section, when carried in the number required, may be used to meet both day and night requirements. Examples —the combination of two hand held red flares (160.021), and one parachute red flare (160.024 or 160.036) meets both day and night requirements. Three hand held orange smoke (160.037) with one electric distress light (161.013) meet both day and night requirements.

Table 175.130—Pyrotechnic Signal Devices

Approval number under 46 CFR Device description Meets requirement for Number required
160.021 Hand Held Red Flare Distress Signals3 Day and Night 3
160.022 Floating Orange Smoke Distress Signals Day Only 3
160.024 Parachute Red Flare Distress Signals Day and Night1 3
160.036 Hand-Held Rocket-Propelled Parachute Red Flare Distress Signals Day and Night 3
160.037 Hand-Held Orange Smoke Distress Signals Day Only 3
160.057 Floating Orange Smoke Distress Signals Day Only 3
160.066 Distress Signal for Boats, Red Aerial Pyrotechnic Flare Day and Night2 3
1 These signals require use in combination with a suitable launching device approved under 46 CFR 160.028 .
2 These devices may be either meteor or parachute assisted type. Some of these signals may require use in combination with a suitable launching device approved under 46 CFR160.028 .
3 Must have manufacture date of 1 Oct. 1980 or later.

[CGD 81-038-A, 47 FR 24548, June 7, 1982]


§ 175.135 Existing equipment.

Launchers manufactured before 1 January, 1981, which do not have approval numbers are acceptable for use with meteor or parachute signals listed in Table 175.130 under § 175.130 as long as they remain in serviceable condition.

[CGD 76-183, 44 FR 73024, Dec. 17, 1979, as amended by CGD 81-038-A, 47 FR 24548, June 7, 1982; USCG-1998-3799, 63 FR 35534, June 30, 1998]

 

 

 

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