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It's the Law

Sound-Producing 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.

Sound producing devices

Arizona state law does not require that vessels carry a sound-producing device; however, it is always a good idea to have one on board.

Five or more short blasts mean danger or doubt, which is very important for all boaters to remember.

Federal law requires that vessels operating on federally controlled waters, such as the Colorado River and Lake System, be equipped with sound-producing device(s). On federally controlled waters:

  • Vessels less than 65.6 ft. (20 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 65.6 ft. (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.