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Required Equipment Checklist


  Boats Less Than 16' & PWCs Class A 12 Boats 16' to Less Than 26' Class 1 Boats 26' to Less Than 40' Class 2 Boats 40' to Less Than 65' Class 3 Non-Motorized: Any Length
Vessel Registration On Board 1 n/a
Validation Decal
Displayed 1
n/a
Registration Numbers 1 n/a
Boating Safety Certificate 2 n/a
PFDs: Type I, II, or III (one per person) ✓3 ✓3 ✓3 ✓3 ✓10
PFD: Type IV ✓9  
Fire Extinguisher(s) 4 1 B-I 1 B-I 2 B-I or
1 B-II
3 B-I n/a
Backfire Flame Arrestor 5  
Ventilation System  
Muffler  
Horn, Whistle, or Bell ✓6 ✓6 ✓13
Daytime Visual Distress Signals    
Nighttime Visual Distress Signals 7
Navigation Lights 8 ✓12 13, 14
Anchor, Line, and Manual Bailer ✓9  
Boarding Ladder 11 ✓12 n/a
  1. Vessels documented by the U.S. Coast Guard are exempt from Massachusetts registration and titling requirements.
  2. Required if operator is 12 through 15 years of age. Required for PWC operators 16 or 17 years of age. Those under 16 years of age cannot operate a PWC in Massachusetts.
  3. Those on personal watercraft must wear a PFD (personal flotation device) at all times.Children under 12 years of age are required to wear U.S. Coast Guard–approved PFDs in Massachusetts State when above deck on any vessel that is underway. Type V PFD use authorized for those on PWCs and children less than 12 years of age.
  4. A fixed extinguishing system in machinery space can be substituted for one B-I. One B-II can replace two B-I extinguishers. Outboard motorboats less than 26', of open construction, not carrying passengers for hire, and not on federally controlled waters are not required to carry fire extinguishers.
  5. Required on all gasoline engines except outboard engines.
  6. Vessels 26 feet up to 65 feet are required to carry on board a whistle or horn, and a bell.
  7. VDSs are required only on coastal waters. Coastal waters are defined in Federally Controlled Waters.
  8. Vessels without proper navigation lights may not operate between the hours of sunset and sunrise.
  9. PWCs are exempt. Vessels less than 16 ft. also must carry a paddle or oar.
  10. All persons on board a canoe or kayak from September 15 to May 15 must wear a USCG–approved Type I, II, or III PFD at all times.
  11. Ladder, steps, platform, or similar device is required if towing a person on skis or other device.
  12. PWCs may not be operated between sunset and sunrise. PWCs may not be used to tow anyone.
  13. Applies to MA coastal waters only.
  14. At least one lantern or flashlight.