If you are new to the world of boat ownership, then you might not realize just how many rules and regulations there are surrounding the vessel that you can now boast as your own. In an ideal world, it would just be a case of paying your money and getting out there on the open water, but we all know that it takes more than that to be certified and legal!
There are certain rules that commercial vessels need to follow, and these can be very different from the rules that are in place for smaller recreational vessels and it is important you know and comply with the regulations. Here is some essential information about Coast Guard Regulations regarding recreational boats.
Documentation And Registration
Depending on the size of your vessel, you may or may not need to register it with your state’s boating agency. The general rule is that smaller vessels usually only require registration with the state, while larger vessels that engage in any interstate or even international commerce require more extensive USCG documentation. Check if your boat meets the needs to be registered with the coast guard.
A lot of the regulations for recreational boats involve the safety equipment that you need on board. This includes things like life jackets, fire extinguishers, throwable floatation devices, navigation lights, visual distress signals and more. The exact requirements that you need to meet will depend on the size of your vessel and the type of waterway that you are going to be operating on.
To keep on the right side of the USCG, you will need to adhere to the navigation rules that are outlined in the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGs). These are rules that dictate how boats should navigate when out on the water, and involve factors like understanding right of way, crossing situations and overtaking.
Alcohol And Drugs
It should go without saying that operating a recreational (or any type) of vessel while under the influence is prohibited. The legal blood alcohol content limit for boaters is the same as drivers and that is generally 0.08%.
Make sure that you have studied the waterways where you are going to be operating and understand the speed limits in those areas. This is vital for boater safety and also in order to protect any sensitive natural environments. If you are found to not be adhering to these speed limits, you will soon find yourself in trouble with the United States Coast Guard, and your documentation may become in danger of termination.
If you are in need of more information regarding the specific paperwork and admin that needs to be completed for your type of vessel or any other aspect of coast guard regulations, then everything you are looking for can be found at the US Vessel Registrar. Consult the site for the answers that you are seeking, and don’t be hesitant to get in touch with a member of the team if you still want clarification on certain aspects of your ownership. We look forward to hearing from you and being able to help.