Boat Marina Safety Inspection Checklist

by Althea Thompson

Boat marinas allow yacht and boat owners to dock their vessels year round, in most locations. Visitors to the marina also may rent boats for recreation. However, boat safety regulations must be followed before and after the vessel sets sail. These rules help to keep passengers and crew members safe.


Registration and documentation rules must be followed for boats to pass a marina safety inspection. Both documents must be on board the boat and properly displayed, according to the National Vessel Examiner. Documentation numbers should be permanently marked on the interior of the boat. The documented boat's name and hailing port must be displayed on the exterior, in letters less than four inches in height. The boat's registration number also should be attached to each side of the forward half of the boat. The registration number must be in plain, vertical, block lettering, not less than three inches in height. The color of the text must also contrast with the color of the boat. State tax stickers should be placed according to individual state policy.

Personal Flotation Devices

Flotation devices or life jackets must pass a U.S. Coast Guard inspection. Personal flotation devices should be in serviceable condition and of suitable size for each person on the boat, according to the National Vessel Examiner. Each child boarding the boat should have a properly fitted life jacket. The safety devices are required to be "immediately available." They cannot be stored away or in unopened packaging.

Distress Signals

Recreational boats over 16 feet are required to carry distress signal lighting. Distress signals differ between day and night use. Acceptable signals for the day are mirrors, red or orange flags and hand signals. However, night distress signals can consist of strobe lights, lanterns or flashlights.

Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are required on boats and must be readily accessible. Boats with inboard engines and closed compartments that store fuel tanks must have a fire extinguisher on board. This rule also applies to boats with a closed living space and a permanently installed fuel tank. These fire extinguisher regulations must be met for docking boats at the marina, and for traveling on the water.

Anchor states that anchors are part of a boat safety checklist. The anchor should be designed specifically for the type of bottom on the boat. Even small boats should have an anchor with a coated chain. The chain should be shackled to the anchor. However, a line that is too heavy for the boat will cause it to lose elasticity. The right anchor should absorb the shock when it is dropped into the water.

About the Author

Althea Thompson began writing professionally in 2002, and her work has appeared on CBN News and in the award-winning "Focus Magazine." She holds a Master of Arts in journalism from Regent University and a Bachelor of Arts in communication and writing from Houghton College.

Photo Credits

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