20.0320 Safety equipment required.

Cite as [A.S.C.A. § 20.0320]

(a) Every vessel shall have aboard such safety equipment as shall be set out in the rules and regulations of the Department of Public Safety. Such safety equipment may consist of, but shall not be limited to, the following:

(1) one life preserver, buoyant vest, ring buoy or buoyant cushion, of a type approved by the Commandant of the United States Coast Guard and in good and serviceable condition, for each person on board;

(2) when in operation between sunset and sunrise, a light or lights, sufficient as determined by the Director of Public Safety, to make the vessel’s presence and location known to any and all other vessels within a reasonable distance;

(3) each vessel shall have a backfire flame arrester; one approved device on each carburetor of all gasoline engines except outboard motors;

(4) if carrying or using any inflammable or toxic fluid in an enclosure for any purpose, and if not an entirely open vessel, an efficient natural or mechanical ventilation system, which shall be capable of removing resulting gases prior to, and during, the time such vessel is occupied by a person; when no fixed extinguishing system is installed in machinery spaces, at least one B-1 type approved hand portable fire extinguisher;

(5) each additional equipment designed to promote the safety of navigation and of persons as the Department of Public Safety may find to be appropriate and for which it has provided in its rules and regulations.

(b) Vessels of the following types should have the following distress signal devices:

(1) Vessels 16 feet in length should have the following distress signal devices:

(A) Pyrotechnic red flares, hand held or aerial;

(B) Pyrotechnic orange smoke, hand held or floating;

(C) Launchers for aerial red meters or parachute flares;

(D) Orange distress flag;

(E) Electric distress light;

(2) Vessels 16 feet to less than 26 feet in length shall have the following devices and distress signal devices:

(A) One life jacket or personal floatation device (PFD) for each person on board;

(B) Back-fire flame arrester;

(C) Portable/Fire extinguisher;

(D) Three hand-held red flares for day and night use;

(E) One electric distress light for night;

(F) One hand-held red flare and two parachute flares for day and night use;

(G) One hand-held smoke signal, two floating orange smoke signals and one electric distress light for day and night use;

(3) Vessels 26 feet to less than 40 feet in length shall have the following devices and distress signal devices;

(A) One life jacket or PFD for each person on board;

(B) Back-fire flame arrester;

(C) Portable/Fire extinguisher, at least two B-1 Type approved hand portable fire extinguishers; or at least two B-1 Type approved portable fire extinguishers or at least one B-11 Type approved;

(D) Three hand-held red flares;

(E) One electric distress light;

(F) One hand-held red flare and two parachute flares for day and night use;

(G) One hand-held smoke signal, two floating orange smoke signals and one electric distress light for day and night;

(H) No person may operate a boat built after July 31, 1980, that has a gasoline engine unless it is equipped with an operable ventilation system. For boats built after April 25, 1940, and before August 1, 1980 (with engines using gasoline fuel and other fuels having a flashpoint of 110° F or less) the following is required:

(i) At least two ventilating ducts fitted with cowls or their equivalent for the purposes of properly and efficiently ventilating the bilges of every engine and fuel tank compartment. There shall be at least one exhaust duct installed so as to extend to the lower portion of the bilge.

(ii) For boats which are built after July 31, 1978, but prior to August 1, 1980, there is no requirement for ventilation of the fuel tank compartment if there is no electrical source in the compartment and if the fuel tank vents to the outside of the boat. The operator of a vessel is required to keep the system in operating condition;

(iii) Visual distress signal requirements shall be the same as for vessels 26 feet to 40 feet in length.

(4) Vessels between 40 feet and 65 feet in length shall have the following devices and distress signal devices:

(A) One life jacket or PFD for each person on board and one type IV PFD;

(B) Back-fire flame arrester requirement is same as for 26 feet to 40 feet vessels stated above;

(C) Ventilation requirements is the same as those of 26 feet to 40 feet vessels;

(D) Portable/Fire extinguisher shall be at least three B-1 Type approved portable fire extinguishers; when an approved fixed system is installed, one less B-1 Type is required.

(E) Visual distress signal is same as for vessels 26 to 40 feet in length.

(c) No person may operate or give permission for the operation of a vessel which is not required by this section or modification thereof.

(d) The Refuse Act of 1899 prohibits the throwing, discharging or deposing of any refuse matter or any refuse matter of any kind (including trash, garbage, oil and other liquid pollutants into the waters of the United States and its territories to a distance of three miles from the coastline. The Federal Water Pollution Contract Act prohibits the discharge of oil or hazardous substances in quantities which may be harmful into U.S. and its Territorial navigable waters, the Contiguous Zone, and water within 200 miles in some cases. You must immediately notify the commissioner of public safety if your vessel or facility discharges oil or hazardous substances into the water. Federal regulation issued under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act requires that:

(1) no person may operate a vessel of less than 100 gross tons unless it has a fixed or portable means to discharge oil bilge slop to a reception facility. A bucket or bailer is considered a portable means.

(2) Vessels 26 feet in length and over must have posted a placard at least 5 by 8 inches, made of durable material, fixed in a conspicuous place in the machinery spaces, or at the bilge pump control station, stating the following: "THE DISCHARGE OF OIL PROHIBITED - THE FEDERAL WATER POLLUTION CONTROL ACT, PROHIBITS THE DISCHARGE OF OIL OR OILY WASTE INTO OR UPON THE NAVIGABLE WATERS OF THE UNITED STATES OR WATERS OF THE CONTIGUOUS ZONE, IF SUCH DISCHARGE CAUSES A FILM OR SHEEN UPON, OR DISCOLORATION OF THE SURFACE OF THE WATER, OR CAUSES A SLUDGE OR EMULSION BENEATH THE SURFACE OF THE WATER. VIOLATORS ARE SUBJECT TO A PENALTY OF $5,000.

(e) Marine sanitation devices.

All recreational boats with installed toilet facilities must have an installed operable marine sanitation device (MSD). Boats under 65 feet in length may use a Type I, II or III MSD. All installed MSD's must be Coast Guard certified devices and are so labeled except for holding tanks, which are already certified by definition under the regulation, if they store only sewage and flushwater at ambient air pressure and temperature.

(f) Ventilation requirements.

The purpose of the ventilation requirements is to prevent fires and explosions aboard gasoline powered pleasure boats by ventilating compartments which contain fuel vapors.

(1) All motorboats or motor vessels, except open boats, and as provided in paragraphs (d) and (e) of this section, the construction or decking over of which is commenced after April 25, 1940, and which use fuel having a flash point of 110° F or less, shall have at least two ventilator ducts, fitted with cowls or their equivalent for the efficient removal of explosive or flammable gases from the bilges of every engine and fuel tank compartment. There shall be at least one exhaust duct installed so as to extend from the open atmosphere to the lower portion of the bilge and at least one intake bilge below the level of the carburetor air intake. The cowls shall be located and trimmed for maximum effectiveness so as to prevent displaced fumes from being circulated.

(2) The term "open boats", means those motor boats or motor vessels with all engine and fuel tank compartments, and other spaces to which explosive or flammable gases and vapors from these compartments may flow, open to the atmosphere and so arranged as to prevent the entrapment of such gases and vapors within the vessel.

(3) Where alterations are needed for existing motorboats or motor vessels to comply with the requirements in this section, such alterations shall be accomplished as soon as practical but in any case shall be completed within six weeks of notification of discrepancy.

(4) Boats built after July 31, 1978, are exempted from the requirements of paragraph (a) for fuel tank compartments that:

(A) Contain a permanently installed fuel tank if each electrical component is ignition protected:

(B) Contain fuel tanks that vent to the outside of the boat;

(1) The current criteria for determination of an open compartment is that three conditions must be met in order to consider an engine or fuel compartment open to the atmosphere and therefore exempt from federal ventilation requirements. These three conditions are:

(A) Engine and fuel tank compartments shall have as a minimum 25 square inches of open area directly exposed to the atmosphere for each cubic foot of net compartment volume;

(B) There must be no long or narrow unventilated spaces accessible from such compartments in which a flame front could propagate;

(C) Long narrow compartments such as side panels if joining engine or fuel compartments and not serving as ducts thereto, shall have at least 15 square inch openings at 15 inch intervals along the length of the compartment formed. No person may operate a boat built after 31 July 1980, that has a gasoline engine for electrical generation, mechanical power, or propulsion unless it is equipped with an operable ventilation system that meets the requirements.

History: 1966, PL 9-35; amd 1993, PL 23-9.