143035_DBW Course_r3

Chapter 2 X Boating Law, Navigational Rules and Navigational Aids

Visual Distress Signals (On Coastal Waters Only) Be prepared to use Coast Guard-approved visual distress signals. They include: ƒ An orange flag printed with a black square and ball, for day use only. ƒ A flashlight or electronic distress light to signal SOS, for night use only. ƒ A red, hand-held flare, for day or night use. ƒ An orange smoke signal, for day use only. ƒ Red meteor flares, for day and night use. The following boats do not have to carry night signal devices unless they are operating at night: ƒ Recreational boats less than 16 feet long. ƒ Boats propelled by hand, such as rowboats, canoes and kayaks. ƒ Open sailboats less than 26 feet long with no motors attached. ƒ Boats taking part in organized marine events. On coastal waters, boats 16 feet or longer must carry three daytime signals and three nighttime signals. One orange flag may be substituted for three daytime signals, and one SOS distress light may be substituted for three nighttime signals. All motorboats with enclosed gasoline engines, except those with outboard engines, must have a backfire flame arrestor on each carburetor. The backfire flame arrestor is designed to safeguard against fire and explosion in the engine compartment, and must meet Coast Guard standards. The flame arrestor screen on each carburetor should be kept clean of any oil or gasoline deposits to prevent ignition of a fire. Check the flame arrestor periodically for damage. If your gasoline engine does not have a carburetor, it must have a reed valve assembly or an air and fuel induction system installed in accordance with Coast Guard standards. Backfire Flame Arrestors Does your boat need a backfire flame arrestor?


orange flag

flashlight or electronic distress light

red flare*

orange smoke signal*

red meteor

* SAFETY NOTE: Red hand-held flares and orange smoke signals used to show distress, must be aimed (held) downwind over the side of the boat.

WEBSITE For more information about visual distress signals, visit dbw.parks. ca.gov/SafetyEquipment


California Course for Safe Boating

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