Boat Massachusetts - Your Guide to Boating Laws and Responsibilities
The Official Boating Handbook of the Massachusetts Department of Natural Resources
Table of Contents
Required Equipment Checklist
|Boats Less Than 16 Ft. & PWCs Class A 12||Boats 16 Ft. or Longer Class 1||Class 2 Boats||Class 3 Boats||Non-Motorized|
|Vessel Registration On Board 1||✓||✓||✓||✓||n/a|
|Validation Decal Displayed 1||✓||✓||✓||✓||n/a|
|Registration Numbers 1||✓||✓||✓||✓||n/a|
|Boating Safety Certificate 2||✓||✓||✓||✓||n/a|
|PFDs: Type I, II, or III(one per person)||✓3||✓3||✓3||✓3||✓10|
|PFD: Type IV||✓9||✓||✓||✓|
|Fire Extinguisher(s) 4||(1)B1||(1)B1||(2)B1 or
|Backfire Flame Arrestor 5||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Horn, Whistle, or Bell||✓||✓||✓6||✓6||✓13|
|Daytime Visual Distress Signals||✓||✓||✓|
|Nighttime Visual Distress Signals 7||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Navigation Lights 8||✓12||✓||✓||✓||13,14|
|Anchor, Line, or Manual Bailer||✓9||✓||✓||✓|
|Boarding Ladder 11||✓12||✓||✓||✓||n/a|
- Vessels documented by the U.S. Coast Guard are exempt from Massachusetts registration and titling requirements.
- Required if operator is 12 through 15 years of age. Required for PWC operators 16 or 17 years of age. Those under 16 years of age cannot operate a PWC in Massachusetts.
- Those on personal watercraft must wear a life jacket (personal flotation device) at all times.Children under 12 years of age are required to wear U.S. Coast Guard–approved life jackets in Massachusetts State when above deck on any vessel that is underway. Type V PFD use authorized forthose on PWCs and children less than 12 years of age.
- A fixed extinguishing system in machinery space can be substituted for one B-I. One B-II can replace two B-I extinguishers. Outboard motorboats less than 26', of open construction, not carrying passengers for hire, and not on federally controlled waters are not required to carry fire extinguishers.
- Required on all gasoline engines except outboard engines.
- Vessels 26 feet up to 65 feet are required to carry on board a whistle or horn, and a bell.
- VDSs are required only on coastal waters. Coastal waters are defined on page 51.
- Vessels without proper navigation lights may not operate between the hours of sunset and sunrise.
- PWCs are exempt. Vessels less than 16ft. also must also carry a paddle or oar.
- All persons on board a canoe or kayak from September 15 to May 15 must wear a USCG–approved Type I, II, or III PFD at all times.
- Ladder, steps, platform, or similar device is required if towing a person on skis or other device.
- PWCs may not be operated between sunset and sunrise. PWCs may not be used to tow anyone.
- Applies to MA coastal waters only.
- At least one lantern or flashlight.