Requirements to Carry Visual Distress Signals (VDSs)
Visual distress signals (VDSs) are not required on inland waters in Maine, but watercraft operators are encouraged to have them on board as an additional safety measure.
- Watercraft on federally controlled waters must be equipped with VDSs that are USCG–approved, in serviceable condition, and readily accessible.
- All watercraft being operated on the ocean between sunset and sunrise, regardless of length or type, are required to carry a VDS that can be used as a night signal.
- Most watercraft being operated on the ocean are required to carry VDSs that can be used as a daytime signal. Exceptions are:
- Watercraft that are less than 16 feet in length.
- Non-motorized open sailboats that are less than 26 feet in length.
- Manually propelled watercraft.
- Watercraft competing in any organized marine parade, regatta, race, or similar event on coastal waters.