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In periods of reduced visibility or whenever a vessel operator needs to signal his or her intentions or position, a sound-producing device is essential. For example, sound signals are required when meeting head-on, crossing, or overtaking. Sound-producing devices must be capable of producing a blast that lasts at least four seconds.

  • The following requirements apply to vessels operating on Alaska state waters.
    • Vessels less than 39.4 feet (12 meters) in length, which includes PWCs, are required to carry on board a whistle or horn or some other means to make an efficient sound signal audible for at least one-half mile.
    • Vessels that are 39.4 feet (12 meters) or more in length are required to carry on board a whistle or horn that is audible for at least one mile.
  • These requirements apply to vessels operating on federally-controlled waters.
    • Vessels less than 65.6 feet (20 meters) in length, which includes PWCs, are required to carry on board a whistle or horn or some other means to make an efficient sound signal audible for at least one-half mile.
    • Vessels that are 65.6 feet (20 meters) or more in length are required to carry on board a whistle or horn, and a bell that are audible for at least one mile.
Sound Signal Devices