Safety equipment is a name for several devices which save lives. It is better to have and don’t need than need and don’t have. To make a legal base of safety equipment for boats, there are regulations, rules, documents and amendments to them all over the world. The lists of necessary safety equipment have some differences with various significance in the EU countries and in the USA. We will start with the EU countries.


According to French regulations regarding necessary boat equipment, there are 2 lists. The boats are divided into between 2.5m to 24m length and over 24m. Here you can see a small check-list of necessary equipment for boats in these 2 categories.

Between 2.5m and 24m length:

  • Ground tackle (anchor, chain and rode) adapted to the length of the boat
  • Two mooring lines of more than 5 meters, at least equal to the length of the boat
  • Two oars, or a paddle and an oar (boats under 8 meters)
  • A boat-hook
  • A horseshoe lifebuoy or life-ring
  • One lifejacket per person on-board (lifejackets must be worn on sports boats)
  • An air pump – inflatable boats
  • An ignition safety cut-off device – sports boats
  • One or more CE type approved fire extinguishers
  • A bailer (attached) – boats of 5 meters or less
  • A rigid 7 liter bucket – boats over 5 meters
  • A first aid kit (bandages, gauze, tape, topical antiseptic, etc.).

Over 24m length:

  • Ground tackle (anchor, chain and rode)
  • Floating fenders
  • Three wire cables (100, 60 and 30 meters) or hawsers
  • Equipment required for visual and sound signals and the marking of vessels
  • Emergency lights (for signaling stationary grounded or sunken vessels)
  • A blue flag
  • Minimum 3 extinguishers (6kg) appropriate to risks
  • A rescue tarpaulin (can be subject to dispensation)
  • A passerelle (0.40m x 4m) with handrails
  • A boat hook
  • Binoculars
  • A first aid kit
  • An axe
  • Two horse-shoe lifebuoys or life-rings
  • One container with lid for storing oily rags,
  • A man overboard notice
  • A megaphone
  • A boarding ladder (if freeboard is greater than 1.5m).
  • One EN395 type approved life jacket per person on-board
  • An emergency dinghy  


And here you can see an expanded description of safety equipment with an extra criterion: type of your trip. Sea trips are divided into coastal (<6 nautical miles from shelter) and high seas (>6 nautical miles from shelter).

General: 3 in-date fire extinguishers must be on board of each vessel. Other items and devices to fix some onboard incidents are: a rigid bucket, a set of wooden cones (or sth else to plug a hole in the hull), a Bilge Pump and a kit of tools to deal with minor breakdowns yourself. Another important thing is a first aid kit which includes bandages, gauze, tape, topical antiseptic and other things.

Ground tackle: an anchor, a warp and a boat hook.

Life jackets: wearing of jacket is obligatory in rocky areas and where there is a huge risk of falling in. There must be 1 jacket per person aboard at least What’s more, for coastal trips (>6 nautical miles) a lifejacket can be replaced by buoyancy aid which is inappropriate for high sea ones.

Flares and torches: at least 1 waterproof torch and 3 red hand flares should be on board of all categories of trips. For high seas (>6 nautical miles) there also should be parachute flares and floating smoke flares.

Buoys: all the vessels must be equipped with 1 mooring buoy (over 7m) and 1 horseshoe lifebuoy with automatic self-righting light for all the trip types.


For Spanish marine territory there are some principal differences in the list of necessary safety equipment. There are 7 navigation areas in Spain All they are based on the distance of operation. The areas are:

  • Area 1: unlimited distance
  • Area 2: Up to 60 miles
  • Area 3: Up to 25 miles
  • Area 4: Up to 12 miles
  • Area 5: Up to 5 miles
  • Area 6: Up to 2 miles
  • Area 7: Protected waters in general

All the equipment for on-board safety must be approved by the Spanish government and follow the state and international standards as FOM/1144/2003 and SOLAS (International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea).

The list of necessary equipment is different for the areas. For example, the most complete list is for area 1 and the smallest one is for area 7. Here you can see a table of necessary equipment for different areas.

Navigation area 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

1 per maximal people on board

no no no no
Life jacket 1 per person on board (+10% of total in Area 1)
Life buoy 2 1 1 1 no no no
Parachute flare 6 6 6 6 no no no
Hand flare 6 6 6 6 3 3 no
Buoyant smoke 2 2 1 1 no no no
Portable distinguisher The number of distinguishers depends on your vessel’s length. It is for vessels with a closed cabin and length <10m, type 21 B. L here is the length of your vessel.
10m<L<15m - 1 distinguisher
15m<L<20m - 2 distinguishers
20m<L<24m - 3 distinguishers
Fire buckets 2 2 1 1 no no no
Scoop 2 2 2 1 1 1 no
Extractor fan Inland engines with electric start should be equipped with a ventilation electric fan
Blige pump 2 2 2 1 1 1 1
Fixed installation Vessels equipped with engines using group 1 fuels (with a flash point less than 55 degrees) should be equipped with a fixed fire extinguishing installation. It should not use halogen gasses, it can be manually operated from the outside of the compartment and never be used in habitable areas.
Gas detector Vessels with fuel gas installations, in whole or in part within the hull, must carry out gas detection means centralized in the command post, be automatic, have direct power supply and have both light and sound systems.
Mooring line 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Boat hook 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Oar 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Repearing set necessary for all areas
First aid kit necessary for all areas, there are kits for each area


According to the U.S. officials, all the recreation vessels are divided into 4 classes: A, 1, 2 and 3. All the safety equipment devices must be approved by the United States Coast Guard. 

  • Class A is for less that 4,9m/16ft length vessels (e.g. Canoes and Kayaks). 
  • Class 1 is 4,9-7,9m/16-26ft length vessels. 
  • Class 2 is 7,9-12,2m/26-40ft length vessels. 
  • Class 3 is 12,2-19,8m/40-65ft length vessels.

The parts of safety equipment are necessary for all the classes of vessels. They are: personal flotation devices (PFDs) - 1 per person on board; Fire extinguisher, visual distress signal; sound producing device (bell, horn, whistle, etc.); backfire flame control, ventilation and vessel lighting. All the equipment parts must be approved by the United States Coast Guard (USCG).

Speaking of PFDs or life jackets, they should be worn at all times when the vessel is underway. Inflatable PFDs are prohibited for water skier use.

Ventilation. It is necessary for boats equipped with gasoline engines. The requirements are different for boats built prior to August, 1, 1980 and after. At least 2 ventilator ducts fitted with cowls for closed gasoline engines for boats prior to Aug, 1, 1980. And also 2 ventilation ducts with a gasoline tank at least of every closed compartment (exception: if an engine is basically equipped with a gasoline tank vent outside the boat and contains no unprotected electric devices or units). 

Vessel lighting: All the recreational vessels must be equipped with navigation lights between the sunset and sunrise and in periods of reduced visibility (rain, haze, fog, etc.). For classes A, 1 and 2 (vessels under 12m) there should be sidelights, combination lights and stern light. Sidelights are colored ones (red on port, green on starboard) that must show an arc of the horizon of 112,5 degrees, from dead ahead to 22.5 degrees on each side. They can be provided by a combinated lights device mounted at the centerline of the vessel. A stern light is a white light showing over an unbroken arc of 135 degrees.

Signaling. Visual distress signaling (VDS) devices approved by USCG must be used in all the US aquatory including the Great Lakes. VDS devices are not required when the water is less than 2 nautical miles wide. VDS can be pyrotechnical and non-pyrotechnical.

Pyrotechnical devices approved by the USCG include hand-held or aerial red flares for day and night use, orange smoke (only day use) and launchers for aerial devices.

Non-pyrotechnical visual devices should also be certified by the USCG. They include a 3x3ft (at least) orange flag for day use and electric distress light for night period. The electric light should automatically flash the international SOS distress code (...---...). They also should be marked as items following the requirements of 46 CFR 160.072 and 161.013 respectively.

Fire extinguishers. Fire extinguishers for marine use are required on boats where a fire hazard could be expected from the fuel systems and engines. There are 2 types of fire extinguishers: B-I and B-II. They differ by the size and amount of agents, so B-II is bigger and heavier. 

The number of fire extinguishers depends on the presence of an approved fixed fire extinguishing system on board. If USCG approved the system mounted on your vessel, the number of necessary fire extinguishers is less.

For Class A and Class 1 vessels without a fixed system, 1 B-I extinguisher will be enough. For Class 2 there should be 2 B-I or 1 B-II ones for vessels without a fixed system and 1 B-I for vessels with approved fixed systems. 

And for Class 3 there should be 3 B-I or 1 B-I plus 1 B-II for vessels without a fixed system and 2 B-I or 1 B-II for ones with approved fixed systems.

Blackflame fire control. Gasoline engines for vessels installed after April, 25, 1940, must be equipped with acceptable means of blackfire flame control (except outboard motors) A blackflame fire arrestor (BFA) must be secured to the air intake with a flame-tight connection and follow the SAE J-1928 or UL 1111 standards or be approved by the USCG. 

Whatever requirements the country of your marina have, we have everything necessary for equipping your boat. All our safety equipment is certified and checked to provide a maximum safety level for our clients. If you are going to equip your boat - just contact us.