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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. The navigation rules for meeting head-on, crossing, and overtaking situations are examples of when sound signals are required.

  • On Kansas state waters, follow these requirements for sound-producing devices.
    • All power-driven vessels, including PWCs, must have a whistle, horn, or other mechanical sound-producing device that can be heard up to one mile away.
    • Power-driven vessels that are 40 feet or longer must carry a bell also.
  • On federally controlled waters, follow these requirements for sound-producing devices.
    • Vessels less than 65.6 feet (20 meters) in length, which includes PWCs, must have a mouth, hand, or power-operated 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 must have a bell
      and a whistle or horn that are audible for at least one mile.
  • No vessel may be equipped with a siren except vessels used by law enforcement officers.