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Sound Signal Devices

During periods of reduced visibility or whenever a boat operator needs to signal his or her intentions or position, a sound-producing device is essential. The requirements for sound signals are:

  • A vessel of 12 meters (39.4 feet) or more in length shall be provided with a power whistle or power horn and a bell.
  • A vessel less than 12 meters in length shall not be obliged to carry the sound devices described above. However, the vessel must be provided with a means of making an efficient sound signal.
  • A vessel that is propelled by human muscular effort, a sailing vessel, and a power-driven vessel less than 16 feet in length, when using waters other than Lake Erie, the Ohio River, or the Muskingum River, shall not be obliged to carry the sound devices stipulated above or produce the sound signals prescribed in the Ohio Administrative Code

Audibility of Sound Signals

  • For boats less than 65.6 feet (20 meters) in length, sound signals should be audible for at least ½ mile.
  • For boats over 65.6 feet (20 meters) in length, sound signals should be audible for at least 1 mile.