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Course Outline

Sound Signal Devices

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 PWC, 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 39.4 feet (12 meters), which includes PWC, must have some way of making an efficient sound signal. Examples are a handheld air horn, an athletic whistle, an installed horn, etc. A human voice is not acceptable.
  • Vessels that are 39.4 feet (12 meters) or more in length must have a sound-producing device that can produce an efficient sound signal. The sound signal should be audible for one-half mile and should last for 4 to 6 seconds.

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