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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.

The following requirements apply to vessels operating on New Mexico state waters.

  • Vessels less than 26 feet in length, which includes canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, and rubber rafts,, must carry a mouth-, hand-, or power-operated whistle or other mechanical device audible for at least one-half mile.
  • Vessels that are 26 feet to less than 40 feet in length must carry a hand- or power-operated horn or whistle audible for at least one mile. The vessel also must carry a bell.
  • Vessels that are 40 feet or more in length must carry a power-operated horn or whistle audible for at least one mile. The vessel also must carry a bell.

These requirements apply to vessels operating on federally controlled waters.

  • Vessels less than 65.6 feet (20 meters) in length, which includes PWC, are required to carry on board a whistle or horn or some other means to make an efficient sound signal audible for at least one-half mile.
  • Vessels that are 65.6 feet (20 meters) or more in length are required to carry on board a whistle or horn, and a bell that are audible for at least one mile.

Vessels may not carry a siren unless so authorized in writing by the Director of the State Parks Division.