About the Study Guide

You are looking at a preview of what’s in the Rhode Island Boat Ed Course. Feel free to look around, but you’ll need to register to begin progress toward getting your Rhode Island Certificate of Boating Safety Education.

Learn More Register for the Course

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. For example, sound signals are required when meeting head-on, crossing, or overtaking. The sound-producing device may be a whistle, horn, or bell that is audible for one-half mile. The device must be readily accessible to the operator of the boat or the passengers.

These requirements apply to all vessels operating on Rhode Island waters and federal waters.

  • Vessels less than 39.4 feet in length, which includes PWC, are required to carry on board some means of making an efficient sound signal, such as a handheld air horn, athletic whistle, or installed horn. The device must be capable of a four second blast audible for one-half nautical mile. A human voice/sound is not acceptable.
  • Vessels that are 39.4 feet to less than 65.4 feet in length are required to carry on board a whistle audible for at least one-half nautical mile.
  • Vessels that are 65.6 feet or more in length are required to carry on board a whistle and a bell audible for one nautical mile.