ADMIRALTY / MARITIME LAW

Required Louisiana boating equipment

| Jun 11, 2020 | Maritime Law |

As summer rolls around, recreational boating is a great way to get outside while keeping cool during the hot Louisiana summers. Whether you’re going out to the lake, the Mississippi or the bayou, you need to be aware of the required equipment you must have on board.

Personal watercrafts, like jet skis

  • Registration and validation decals
  • Personal floatation devices worn by everyone: Type I, II, III
  • Engine cut-off switch
  • Type B fire extinguishers
  • Backfire flame arrestor
  • Ventilation
  • Muffler or underwater exhaust

Boats less than 16 feet, like canoes, kayaks and smaller vessels

  • Registration and validation decals
  • Personal floatation devices worn by everyone: Type I, II, III
  • Engine cut-off switch
  • Type B fire extinguishers
  • Navigation lights
  • Nighttime visual distress signals when in federal waters
  • Backfire flame arrestor
  • Ventilation system
  • Muffler or underwater exhaust

Boats between 16 and 26 feet

  • Registration and validation decals
  • Personal floatation devices available for everyone and worn by children ages 16 and under: Type I, II, III, IV
  • Engine cut-off switch
  • Type B fire extinguishers
  • Navigation lights
  • Horn, whistle or bell
  • Daytime visual distress signals when in federal waters
  • Nighttime visual distress signals when in federal waters
  • Backfire flame arrestor
  • Ventilation system
  • Muffler or underwater exhaust

To properly understand the required safety equipment, we must also provide a few definitions, starting with personal floatation devices. Type I includes offshore life jackets that are meant to turn an unconscious person over in the water. Type II are near-shore vests meant for quick assistance and rescue. Type III are floatation vest aids meant for water sports. Type IV are throwable rings. It’s important to always have the correct floatation devices on board.

It’s also important to mention that personal watercrafts do not require navigation lights or nighttime distress signals because you cannot use them after sunset or before sunrise.

It’s important to be aware of these regulations not only for your own safety, but also the safety of your passengers and others on the water. Ensuring that you properly follow Louisiana’s safety rules can reduce your risk of injury and support you in any legal situations if there is an accident.