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Old 15-06-2021, 17:33   #1
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Onboard safety equipment requirements [US]

Howdy Sailors,


I am researching what equipment (safety or otherwise) are needed onboard recreational vessels that cruise in US waters (both coastal and offshore). To my surprise, it seems like USCG does not seem to require safety equipment such as EPIRBs, GPS, or even radio. Google did not return a requirement for such electronic safety devices - this is the only resource I am able to find: https://www.uscgboating.org/images/420.PDF. Am I missing something or can anyone confirm?


Thanks!
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Old 15-06-2021, 18:22   #2
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Re: Onboard safety equipment requirements [US]

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Originally Posted by unlimited View Post
Howdy Sailors,
I am researching what equipment (safety or otherwise) are needed onboard recreational vessels that cruise in US waters (both coastal and offshore). To my surprise, it seems like USCG does not seem to require safety equipment such as EPIRBs, GPS, or even radio. Google did not return a requirement for such electronic safety devices - this is the only resource I am able to find: https://www.uscgboating.org/images/420.PDF. Am I missing something or can anyone confirm? Thanks!
This is a copy of our USCG inspection before we "set sail."

It doesn't include a life raft or EPIRB, but they (USCG) may have this form for all boaters, both inland and offshore. But, it's a start. Hope it's helpful.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Vessel Safety Check.pdf (979.8 KB, 161 views)
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Old 15-06-2021, 18:26   #3
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Re: Onboard safety equipment requirements [US]

Pretty sure you're not missing anything. The required items so far as I know are what's listed in your link: visual distress signals, fire extinguishers, and PFDs. But, as your link also points out, those are very much minimums and you should probably aim for a bit more.

If your research is to help you assemble a list (of emergency kit, or simply spares to have), I think you'll find a few similar threads created in recent weeks. If it's to help you collect the various regulations, then you'd need to go state by state to see which, if any, have stricter requirements.

Edit: page 70 of your booklet has a decent list you can use to get started. There's also a float plan template you can download from https://floatplancentral.cgaux.org/ to leave with any emergency contacts.
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Old 15-06-2021, 19:05   #4
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Re: Onboard safety equipment requirements [US]

there may be something here of interest
https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...it-251929.html
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Old 16-06-2021, 09:09   #5
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Re: Onboard safety equipment requirements [US]

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Originally Posted by unlimited View Post
.........seems like USCG does not seem to require safety equipment such as EPIRBs, GPS, or even radio...........this is the only resource I am able to find: https://www.uscgboating.org/images/420.PDF. Am I missing something or can anyone confirm?........
You are correct that the USCG does not require safety equipment such as EPIRBs, GPS, or even radio and the link you found is my reference. Recommend EPIRB, fixed and handheld vhf radio's with DSC and GPS, 2 separate navigation displays with GPS, AIS, extra throwable life ring, life raft and man-overboard electronic devices, ditch bag, etc. For a sailboat additionally recommend harness, tether and jacklines. I have these on both my powerboat and sailboat, except we have dinghy ready to deploy in lieu of a life raft since we sail/motor in the protected waters in San Francisco Bay and California Delta.
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Old 16-06-2021, 11:17   #6
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Re: Onboard safety equipment requirements [US]

Sailor67's list is a "safety check" only a few of these items are required by regulation. Note: If you are a foreign (EU) flag vessel operating in US waters your EU approved safety devices may, or may not, meet USCG regulations. Check it out first.

I bought a foreign built vessel and flagged it "US Recreational" which had EU approved life jackets on it. These were definitely not allowed on a us flagged vessel regardless of manufacture.
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Old 16-06-2021, 14:26   #7
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Re: Onboard safety equipment requirements [US]

Unaware that USCG has any mandatory requirements for safety equipment offshore...but if you entertain entering an offshore race, then the organizer will typically have a safety checklist that describes required equipment...so depending upon what type of sailing you are going to do, on/off shore, may determine what you have on board. thanks
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Old 17-06-2021, 01:48   #8
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Re: Onboard safety equipment requirements [US]

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I bought a foreign built vessel and flagged it "US Recreational" which had EU approved life jackets on it. These were definitely not allowed on a us flagged vessel regardless of manufacture.
For the avoidance of doubt there is no prohibition on non USCG approved PFD's on board a US flagged boat but you will still need to carry USCG approved versions.
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Old 17-06-2021, 02:09   #9
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Re: Onboard safety equipment requirements [US]

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Sailor67's list is a "safety check" only a few of these items are required by regulation. Note: If you are a foreign (EU) flag vessel operating in US waters your EU approved safety devices may, or may not, meet USCG regulations. Check it out first.

I bought a foreign built vessel and flagged it "US Recreational" which had EU approved life jackets on it. These were definitely not allowed on a us flagged vessel regardless of manufacture.

To avoid confusion "if a "foreign" flagged vessel is operating in US waters" the vessel has to satisfy the safety requirements of the "flag" country not the US or any other country the vessel is in. When you "re-flagged" your vessel in the US the vessel was required to comply with the flag safety requirements of the US.
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Old 17-06-2021, 10:00   #10
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Onboard safety equipment requirements [US]

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Originally Posted by Tupaia View Post
To avoid confusion "if a "foreign" flagged vessel is operating in US waters" the vessel has to satisfy the safety requirements of the "flag" country not the US or any other country the vessel is in. When you "re-flagged" your vessel in the US the vessel was required to comply with the flag safety requirements of the US.


This is not the case. Domestic law applies to all vessels within the national boundary irrespective of flag. However Comity usually applies but may not

For example French yacht safety rules applies to any yacht inside French territorial waters. Likewise Irish mandatory life jacket legislation applies to all pleasure vessels inside the 12 mile limit.

Your flag is not an equivalence for diplomatic immunity
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Old 17-06-2021, 12:33   #11
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Re: Onboard safety equipment requirements [US]

For a thorough list of safety items you can review the World Sailing Categories. Most race requirements are for Cat 3 or 4 but when going offshore Cat 2, 1, or 0 are not uncommon. All the items mentioned by the OP are covered in these requirements. We have been inspected for these requirements numerous times prior to and after races and are often required to carry a checklist signed by the owner. These are not legal requirements (except if required by race organizers) but they are comprehensive and well thought out.

https://www.sailing.org/documents/of...regs/index.php

The World Sailing Offshore Special Regulations (OSR) govern offshore racing for monohulls and multihulls, structural features, yacht equipment, personal equipment and training.

Category 0

Trans-oceanic races, including races which pass through areas in which air or sea temperatures are likely to be less than 5°C (41°F) other than temporarily, where boats must be completely self-sufficient for very extended periods of time, capable of withstanding heavy storms and prepared to meet serious emergencies without the expectation of outside assistance

Category 1

Races of long distance and well offshore, where boats must be completely self-sufficient for extended periods of time, capable of withstanding heavy storms and prepared to meet serious emergencies without the expectation of outside assistance

Category 2

Races of extended duration along or not far removed from shorelines or in large unprotected bays or lakes, where a high degree of self-sufficiency is required of the boats

Category 3

Races across open water, most of which is relatively protected or close to shorelines.

Category 4

Short races, close to shore in relatively warm or protected waters normally held in daylight.
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Old 18-06-2021, 02:26   #12
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Re: Onboard safety equipment requirements [US]

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This is not the case. Domestic law applies to all vessels within the national boundary irrespective of flag. However Comity usually applies but may not

For example French yacht safety rules applies to any yacht inside French territorial waters. Likewise Irish mandatory life jacket legislation applies to all pleasure vessels inside the 12 mile limit.

Your flag is not an equivalence for diplomatic immunity
Under the UN Convention of the Sea countries agree to what is known as comity as mentioned previously.

With regards to the US

https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/33/175.1

§ 175.1 Applicability.
This part prescribes rules governing the use of boats on waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and on the high seas beyond the territorial seas for boats owned in the United States except:
(a) Foreign boats temporarily using waters subject to U.S. jurisdiction;

There was a legal case a few years ago involving the NZ government who were successfully sued for enforcing safety equipment checks on foreign vessels.

There may be enforcements for example on inland waterways or certain operating procedures that a skipper must comply with, ICC, floatplan, even circumstances where you must wear a life jacket or obey local laws as applied to persons, but as far as equipment goes this follows the requirements of the flagged state.
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Old 22-06-2021, 11:51   #13
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Re: Onboard safety equipment requirements [US]

Yes, USCG safety carriage requirements vary with boat length and are minimum legal requirements. Highly recommend additional safety equipment, for example, an anchor or two which are not required!
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Old 23-06-2021, 11:25   #14
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Re: Onboard safety equipment requirements [US]

A bit of reflection might reveal why certain items of equipment are not USCG mandatory safety items. Regulations generally require enforcement. What if “Vessel must posses working … VHF radio capable of ….” What? Can you specify range? Wattage? Functionality—it must actually be a working unit? What if you can’t get off a MAYDAY? Can’t give a location, or give a wrong one? If the boat sinks quickly, perhaps inadequate time for RDF locating. Thus, the VHF would be ineffectual. These items are not like flares or extinguishers which display expiration dates. PFDs that can be counted; classified, etc. Placards that can be seen and read, as with documentation certificates. Y-valves that can be seen as locked down or not. Are they going to test call using the VHF? Set off the EPIRB to see if it is working? Pull the cord on one’s LFR to make sure that it is working, etc.? What if it has been more than 3 yr since servicing? Does anyone wish a cruise to be cancelled b/c the LFR is one month “out of date?” Two? Fixing that is not like running down to WM the next day for a new flare or extinguisher. The USCG’s job is principally to rescue us, not our boat. Sure, it helps if they can find us quickly, but if we drown and sink they won’t find us at all. Hence the flare and PFD requirements!
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Old 23-06-2021, 12:22   #15
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Onboard safety equipment requirements [US]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tupaia View Post
Under the UN Convention of the Sea countries agree to what is known as comity as mentioned previously.

With regards to the US

https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/33/175.1

§ 175.1 Applicability.
This part prescribes rules governing the use of boats on waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and on the high seas beyond the territorial seas for boats owned in the United States except:
(a) Foreign boats temporarily using waters subject to U.S. jurisdiction;

There was a legal case a few years ago involving the NZ government who were successfully sued for enforcing safety equipment checks on foreign vessels.

There may be enforcements for example on inland waterways or certain operating procedures that a skipper must comply with, ICC, floatplan, even circumstances where you must wear a life jacket or obey local laws as applied to persons, but as far as equipment goes this follows the requirements of the flagged state.


The rules that apply to IMO ships are derived from agreements signed by partipating countries

Leisure vessels are not covered

The NZ case was dropped for various reasons

The legal situation is that within a nations territorial waters you are subject to ALL their laws irrespective or whether they choose to apply them to you or not.

This is true in Greek waters , French waters or Irish waters etc. The rules apply whether your flag state requires them or not

I agree ( and I mentioned it ) that comity normally applies, but comity is merely just that , a countries decision. Countries can and do revoke comity for particular reasons. I have cited a particular case solely applying to leisure vessels inside the 12 mile limit.

A French Maritime officer explained to me similarly , French safety standards apply to all leisure vessels within its territorial waters. The fact they don’t “ push it” is neither here nor there.

No more then Greece and Croatia require specific crew competency on leisure vessels even though the flag state may not have any such requirements
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