It’s important to know the boating laws. Following these laws and having the correct boat supplies can protect you from fines and penalties and will ensure safe travels. Whether you use your boat for fishing, cruising, or water sports, here are some of the most important laws to follow.
3 Essential Boating Laws in Ohio
1. Safety Equipment
Your boat supplies depend on the type and size of vessel you have, as well as if your boat is commercially used. The state of Ohio requires at least one Coast Guard-approved life jacket for every passenger on board or those being towed. There are several different classes of life jackets, life vests, and PFD’s designed for various uses and boating conditions. Each one should also be correctly sized for each passenger. Whether children under a certain age must be wearing their jackets depends on the size of the boat. Most boats also require a throwable flotation device (square cushion, ring buoy, or horseshoe buoy). Fire extinguishers, flares, distress flag, and horn or whistle are also required on most vessels. For a full listing of safety equipment required for your specific vessel, as well as rules of the road, stop in to Harbortown Marine for an Ohio Boat Operators’ Guide.
2. Boating License & Registration Laws
Just like your car, your boat has to be registered. Boats over 14’ also require a title (except canoes/kayaks). You can register it with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Watercraft, or with an agent. It is recommended that you call ahead so you know exactly what you’ll need for paperwork and payment, and hours for issuing registrations. The registration is a different process from obtaining the permanent hull identification number (HIN) displayed on the boat. A HIN is a 12 digit letter and number combination that indicates the manufacturer, model, and year. Most vessels come with a 12-digit HIN, but older boats may require a new HIN if they were issued with a shorter HIN. Once your vessel is registered, you need to keep the documentation on board and accessible. Unlike a car, the registration stays with the vessel, not the owner. So when you transfer ownership, the registration gets transferred also. In other words, the OH number stays with the vessel forever, even if it is moved to another state then returned to Ohio. Also, if you were born in 1982 or later, you have to complete a boating course or exam to operate a boat that is greater than ten horsepower.
3. New Distress Signals
The type and size of your craft also impact what kind of distress signals you need to have. Distress signals can save your life in the event of an emergency. These distress signals must be in prime working condition and easily accessible. Instead of buying hand-held flare replacements every 3 years, there is now a Coast Guard-approved LED SOS distress light than can be purchased, so you never have to replace your hand-held flares again.
If you need boat supplies and equipment, visit Harbortown Marine. They have served the Vermillion, OH, and the surrounding area for over 25 years as an industry leader. These professionals provide boat supplies, including both recreational items and quality service parts. For questions about their inventory, call (440) 967-8072 or reach out online.