All Vessels - General


46 CFR 67

Applies to all documented vessels.

Official Number Marking - 46 CFR 67.121

Name and Hailing Port - 46 CFR 67.123

Document on Board - 46 CFR 67.313


  1. Name of the vessel must be -
    1. marked in clearly legible letters
    2. not less than 4 inches in height
    3. on port & starboard bow and the vessel stern.
  2. Hailing port of the vessel must be-
    1. marked in clearly legible letters
    2. not less than 4 inches in height
    3. on stern of the vessel.
  3. Official number of the vessel must be -
    1. affixed in clearly legible numbers
    2. not less than 3 inches in height
    3. permanently affixed to some clearly visible structural part of the hull, such as an internal deck beam.
  4. The original Certificate of Documentation must be maintained on board the vessel.


Display of Letters

  • 4 inch minimum height
  • Name on port & starboard bow and stern
  • Hailing port on stern
  • Permanently affixed

Display of Official Number

  • 3 inch minimum height
  • Preceded by the abbreviation "No."
  • Clearly visible structure of the hull
  • Permanently affixed

Sound Signals


Applies to: All vessels.


Vessel Length Overall Sound Devices Required
Less than 39.4 ft (12 m) a means of making an efficient sound signal
39.4 ft (12 m) or more a whistle and a bell
328.1 ft (100 m) or more a whistle, a bell and a gong

Note:The bell or gong may be replaced by other equipment having the same respective sound characteristics, provided that the signal can be sounded manually if necessary.

Bell Size (minimum):

  • 7.9 inches (200 mm) for vessels 39.4 ft (12 m) to less than 65.6 ft (20 m) in length overall.
  • 11.8 inches (300 mm) for vessels 65.6 ft (20 m) or more in length overall

Backfire Flame Control

46 CFR 25.35-1

Applies to: All vessels with installed gasoline engines.


Installed gasoline engines must be equipped with backfire flame control of:

  1. Backfire flame arrestor
    1. CG Approval 162.015 or 162.041, or
    2. Marine type SAE J-1928 or UL 1111.
  2. Engine air and fuel induction systems
    1. CG Approval 162.015 or 162.042,
    2. Meet 46 CFR 58.10.


  • Devices must be mark with the CG approval number OR marine type complying with SAE J-1928 or UL 1111.
  • Devices must be installed on the engine, clean, and in good and serviceable condition.


46 CFR 25.40

Applies to:All vessels with closed compartments which use gasoline for electric generation, mechanical power, or propulsion.


  • Vessels manufactured after 1940 must have at least adequate natural ventilation in each fuel and engine compartment having an ignition source.

Note: A fuel level sensing unit is not an ignition source.


  1. A. Natural ventilation:
    1. Intake duct below level of carburetor.
    2. Exhaust duct extended to lower portion of the bilge, below starter level.
    3. Cowls trimmed so as not to re-circulate fumes.
  2. B. Power Ventilation, if vessel is equipped with it:
    1. Motor must be operational.
    2. Ducting must be intact.
    3. System must discharge adequate volumes of air.

Operating a Vessel While Intoxicated

33 CFR 95

Applies to: All vessels.


An individual operating the vessel is intoxicated when:

  • having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 percent by weight or more, or
  • the effects of the intoxicant(s) on the person’s manner, disposition, speech, muscular movement, general appearance or behavior is apparent by observation.

PFD’s/Immersion Suits

46 CFR 28.110, 46 CFR 25.25

Criteria Type Required
Documented vessel seaward of Boundary Line and north of 32 o N or south of 32 o S Immersion or exposure suit.
All vessels on Coastal Waters or beyond on the West Coast of the U.S. north of Point Reyes, CA Immersion or exposure suit.
Vessels 40 feet of more, all other waters Type I, V, or immersion suit.
Vessel under 40 feet, all other waters Type I, II, III, V or immersion suit.

Acceptability Requirements:

  • At least one device of the proper size per individual.
  • Each device stowed so as to be readily accessible.
  • Each device is Coast Guard approved, and in good and serviceable condition.
  • Immersion suit approval no. 46 CFR 160.171
  • Exposure suit approval found in 46 CFR 160.071.
  • Note: Older non-approved suits are allowed as long as they are in good and serviceable condition.

Serviceable Personal Flotation Device (PFD) lights, CG approval 46 CFR 161.012 or 161.121, must be on PFD’s or immersion suits on vessels on coastwise or ocean voyages. Lights having an expiration date must be unexpired and still servicable.

Ring Life Buoys

46 CFR 28.115

Vessel length type required
Vessels under 16 feet None
Vessels 16 feet to less than 26 feet 1 cushion or ring life buoy
Vessels 26 feet to less than 65 feet 1 orange ring life buoy, 24 inch in diameter
Vessels 65 feet or more 3 orange ring life buoys, 24 inch in diameter

Commercial LifeSling: May be substituted for one ring life buoy if:

  1. It is the CG Approved model,
  2. Vessel has a 10 ft high (above the deck) lifting point, and
  3. 150 ft of line attached.

Acceptability Requirements:

  • Cushions used on vessels 16 to 26 ft must be CG approved type IV.
  • Ring life buoys must be CG approved and at least 24 inches on vessels over 26 ft.
  • An approved 20 inch or larger ring life buoy installed prior to 15 Sep 91 and in good and serviceable condition, may be used on vessels less than 65 ft in length.
  • At least one ring life buoy must have a line attached.
    (Vsl less than 65 ft, a line 60 ft or longer)
    (Vsl 65ft or more, a line 90 ft or longer)