It's the Law

Sound-Producing 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.

Although sound-producing devices are not required but are highly recommended on most state waters, they are required on federally controlled waters. (See Enforcement for a definition of “federal waters.”) 

  • Vessels less than 39.4 feet in length must have some means of making an efficient sound signal (i.e., handheld air horn, athletic whistle, installed horn, etc.). A human voice or sound is not acceptable.
  • Vessels 39.4 feet or more in length must carry on board a sound-producing device capable of making an efficient sound signal, audible for at least one-half mile with a 4- to 6-second duration. These vessels also must carry a bell with a clapper.

No vessel may be equipped with a siren, except vessels used by law enforcement officers.