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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.

Use the chart below to determine what is required based on your vessel’s length.

If on State Waters If on Federally Controlled Waters
16 feet up to 26 feet long and under engine power Whistle capable of producing a blast of two seconds or more and audible for at least one-half mile is required. Less than 65.6 feet long (includes PWC) Whistle or horn audible for at least one-half mile is required.
26 feet or longer and under engine power Whistle audible for at least one mile is required. 65.6 feet long or longer Whistle or horn and a bell audible for at least one mile is required.