System Checks & Inspections
To ensure optimal safety and compliance with boating regulations, inspections to see whether proper Coast Guard-approved life jackets, fire extinguishers, muffling systems, ventilation systems, engines and generator checks, backfire flame control devices, as well as a written inspection report with recommended repairs can all be done upon request.
California Boat Regulations
In the state of California, in order to operate a boat, one must be 16 years of age or older and have a California Boater Card to legally operate a water vessel with 15hp motor or more. Persons aged 12 to 15 may operate a vessel if supervised on board with someone who is 16 years of age or older and holds a California Boater Card.
There is no age restriction for operating a sailboat sized under 30 feet long with wind as a main source of propulsion or a dinghy used between a moored vessel and shore or between two moored vessels.
Recreational vessels must carry specified safety equipment, which may vary depending on types of propulsion and construction, area and time of use, and number of people on board. All required equipment must be:
On sailboats and manually propelled vessels, the following are required equipments. Life Jackets: Sailboats less than 16 feet in length and all canoes and kayaks, regardless of length, must carry one wearable Coast Guard-approved life jacket of a type and size appropriate for the conditions and the boating activity being engaged in for each person on board. Life jackets must be easily accessible and fit the wearer properly.
Navigation Lights: All vessels are required to display navigation lights between sunset and sunrise and during times of restricted visibility. In inland and international waters, sailing vessels under sail alone must exhibit navigation lights. The tricolored lantern and the all-around green and red lights should never be used together. A sailing vessel of less than 23 feet in length must, if practicable, exhibit those lights prescribed or have ready at hand an electric torch or lighted lantern showing a white light which shall be exhibited in sufficient time to prevent collision. A vessel under oars may display those lights prescribed for sailing vessels or have ready at hand an electric torch or lighted lantern showing a white light which shall be exhibited in sufficient time to prevent collision.
Sound Signaling Devices: A vessel of less than 39 feet 4 inches is not required to carry a whistle or bell, but must carry some other means of making an efficient sound signal.
Visual Distress Signals (Coastal Waters Only): Boats under 16 feet and sailboats under 26 feet that are manually propelled, and boats competing in an organized marine parade, regatta, race, or similar event are only required to carry aboard devices that are suitable for night use.
On motoboats less than 16 feet to less than 26 feet in length, the required equipment are:
On motoboats 26 feet to less than 40 feet in length, the required equipment are:
On motoboats less than 40 feet to 65 feet in length, the required equipment are:
Life Jackets and Flotation Devices: All life jackets and flotation devices must be used in accordance with the Coast Guard approval statement for intended use.
Underwater Maneuvering Devices: Use of an underwater maneuvering device exempts a person from wearing a life jacket. Any towed or self-powered apparatus designed for underwater use that someone can pilot through diving, turning, and surfacing maneuvers is an underwater maneuvering device.
Fire Extinguishers: Coast Guard-approved readily accessible fire extinguishers accepted for marine use are required on all motorboats. The size the number of extinguishers accepted depend on the size of the boat and whether a fixed extinguishing system is already installed on the boat.
Muffling Systems: Any motorboat operated on California inland waters or coastal waters to one mile from shore must be muffled or otherwise prevented from exceeding certain noise levels when measured by the Stationary Sould level Measurement. 90 dB (A) for engines manufactured before 1/1/1993 and 88dB (A) for engines manufactured on or after 1/1/1993. All motorboat noise must be below 75 dB (A) when measured by the Shoreline Sound Level Measurement Procedure (SEA J1970). Authorities generally agree that unbaffled pipes (stacks) do not meet any of the above noise level requirements.
Ventilation Systems: All motorboats made aftr 1940, except open boats, and using gasoline as a fuel must have at least two ventilator ducts fitted with cowls or their equivalent for the efficient removal of explosive or flammable gases from all engine and fuel tank compartment bilges. If engine and fuel talk compartments are closed and separated, two such ventillation systems are required.
Two-Stroke Engines: There is no prohibition on the use of high emission two-stroke vessel engines and there is no plan to prohibit them in the state of California. Some cities, counties, or districts have adopted ordinances on the use of high emission, carbureted or electronic fuel injection (EF) two-strone marine engines, so it is best to check.
Backfire Flame Control Devices: Vessels with gasoline engines must have at least one backfire flame control device installed on the engine. Outboard motors are exempt.
Running Lights: It is against the law to operate a boat without lights after sunset. There are no restrictions during daylight hours. All vessels must show required running lights between sunset and sunrise and during periods of restricted visibility.
Anchor Lights: Power-driven vessels and sailing vessels at anchor must display anchor lights where it can best be seen and is visible for two miles.
Visual Distress-Signaling Devices: Boats operating on coastal waters must carry Coast Guard-approved required number of visual distress-signaling devices that are readily accessible and in serviceable condition.
Marine Sanitation Devices: Not all vessels are required to have a marine toilet on board, however, if a vessel has one, that it must be connected to a Coast Gurd-approved Type I, II, or III marine sanitation device (MSD). Dumping sewage into waters is prohited by both Federal and State laws and doing so is considered a misdeanor.
Green Boating Guidelines
Boater Reponsibility: Laws alone cannot protect California's environment. Every boater must take responsibility for preventing pollution and minimize the environmental and public health impacts from boating activities.
Boat Maintenance: Because chemicals used in cleaning solutions used for decks and hulls can be toxic, proper care and maintenance must be executed to prevent polluting the waters and environement. Greener alternatives that are water-based, biodegradable, phoshate-free, and/or less toxic should be strongly considered. Proper handling of oil and gasoline, which are toxic due to hydrocarbons and heavy metals, should be managed. Prevent toxic oily bilge from being pumped overboard by keeping all hardware clean and well-maintained. Federal law requires all boats 26 feet or longer to display an Oily Waste Discharge Placard in the engine compartment or near the fuel tank. Boaters can also help prevent the introduction and spead of non-native aquatic invasive species from one body of water to another by cleaning, draining, and drying the boat frequently and carefully cleaning all areas of the boat and dosposing of hazardous waste and trash properly.
Federal law now requires all boats 26 feet or more in length, when operating in waters under U.S. jurisdiction, to display an informational placard on federal marine pollution prevention laws. You must display the required placard detailing these prohibitions in a prominent location where passengers and crew can read it. Water from onboard sinks, washers and showers is called graywater, which is discharged directly into the water without treatment. Graywater is often full of phosphates that pollute the water and encourage the growth of unwanted algae. The discharge of graywater is prohibited in some harbors and marinas. Always practice proper fish-cleaning methods and proper disposal of fish wastes.Use fish cleaning stations with trash receptacles and wastewater hookups. All U.S. vessels 40 feet or more in length and equipped with a galley and berthing must carry a written Waste Management Plan if the vessel operates beyond three miles from shore.
In 2012, California became a leader in ocean conservation by completing the first statewide network of marine protected areas (MPAs) in the United States. Today 124 MPAs stretch along the entire coast between the borders of Oregon and Mexico. These areas are closed to all watercraft in an effort to minimize wildlife disturbance.
Because there are several environmental hazards associated with old vessels, including used oil, solvents and used batteries, it is important that you properly dispose of your vessel at the appropriate time.
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