Massachusetts regulations

Does anyone know whether Massachusetts has implemented regulations requiring compasses and whistles on all kayaks?



Is not an audible signaling device
a Coast Guard regulation?

true but
that’s federal law and the states can still tack on further requirements so long as it doesn’t violate federal law - massachusetts had some knee jerk bill that was going to mandate additional gear after 2 women died off shore in the fog. the thinking, such as it is, is that with a compass and a whistle they would have been able to find shore and make some noise to help locate them…government trying to save us from ourselves…oh, goody.

to answer the question though, i believe that it expired on the floor of the state senate without being passed but i don’t know for sure…

it’s similar to the coasties (federales) requiring on boats our size only light enough at night to signal and avoid collision and nh mandating a 4 foot high mast with a white light visible for 360 degree’s.


– Last Updated: Jun-23-05 1:20 PM EST –

Refered to Public Safety and Homeland Security,,,but...

they only list senate bills....

then hearing on 27 April...last I can find...

I got one of those 4’ masts…
and I’m in Alabama…

but then I’m Kayaking Navigable Rivers and Lakes…(Tennessee River…)Lotsa huge Yachts and Barge traffic…AND…I’m Yaking at night…so…

A 4’ mast???
I’ve never heard of that as a requirement for kayaks and I live in NH. It IS required that you have a light that’s visible from 360 degrees on inland waters, but my understanding is that CG regs apply on the ocean, since it’s CG patrolled and they’re not empowered to enforce state regulations.

CG Regs
The regulations state that there is an exception for manually powered craft, that allows them to just have a single white light.

However, I just tested out my new regulation running lights tuesday night, and was very impressed! They’re flashlight sized and LED, so batteries last a long time. Mounts ont he deck with a suction cup, and the whole unit floats if if comes off. A power boat saw me from about a quarter mile, and changed course away from me. Some friends on shore said they saw them from about the same distance & couldn’t distinguish me from a power boat at first.

I’m going to use them all the time at night from now on.


NH Law…
Saf-C 403.16 Lights on Non-Power Boats.

(a) Boats propelled by oars, paddles or other human or natural device except sails, operated on any public water, shall, between sunset and sunrise, display one white light in a conspicuous position, so placed as to show all around the horizon.

(b) Any other type of non-motorized vessel, when propelled by sail alone, shall carry only the combined light or separate side lights as appropriate to its class. Additionally, one white light at the stern so constructed that it shall show an unbroken light over an area of the horizon of 12 points of the compass so fixed as to show the light 6 point from right aft on each side of the vessel.

Source. #2351, eff 4-25-83; ss by #3010, eff 5-2-85; ss by #4562, eff 1-3-89; ss by #5936, INTERIM, eff 1-3-95, EXPIRES, 5-3-95 (formerly Saf-C 403.18); ss by #6005, eff 3-24-95, EXPIRED:


New. #7904, INTERIM, eff 6-24-03, EXPIRED: 12-21-03

New. #8093, EMERGENCY, eff 5-28-04, EXPIRES: 11-24-04; ss and moved by #8172, eff 9-21-04 (from Saf-C 403.15)

No Mast in the law…

– Last Updated: Jun-23-05 4:50 PM EST –

Unless you just extrapolate to say if you are 3 1/2 feet tall sitting in the boat, and your body will block the light from the 360 degrees of view required, how high will the light need to be to be legal?....02 cents...

But I have one made of half inch CPVC anyway, when the light is on, it lights the area around the boat from just behind my left shoulder (so it doesn't blind me...); It stows away during the day.

Just mount the light on your hat
That’s all that’s necessary.

Written and Oral testimony, for and against, was presented at the joint committee hearing. It is now up to the committee memebers to report it to the “floor” if they are recommending enactment, to table it pending further study, or do nothing.

In the last session (2003-2004) they did nothing and the bill “died”. The current session goes thru 2006.

Interested folks need to keep watch (using the links you posted).

Here is the link to whole page
from the CG web site.