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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 this chart to determine the sound-producing devices required for your vessel.

On State Waters
Vessel less than 16 feet long and under engine power Hand, mouth, or power whistle
Vessel 16 feet to less than 26 feet long and under engine power Hand, mouth, or power whistle audible for one-half mile
Vessel 26 feet to less than 40 feet long and under engine power A bell and a hand or power whistle audible for one mile
Vessel 40 feet or longer and under engine power A bell and a power whistle audible for one mile
On Federally Controlled Waters
Vessel less than 65.6 feet long (includes PWCs and “ski craft”) Whistle or horn audible for one-half mile
Vessel 65.6 feet long or longer Whistle or horn and a bell audible for one mile