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Course Outline

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.
Visual Distress Signal Diagram
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  • Topic 11 of 19
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