U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Aug 14, 2020
(a) A vessel must have one or more ring life buoys as follows:
(1) A vessel of not more than 7.9 meters (26 feet) in length must carry a minimum of one life buoy of not less than 510 millimeters (20 inches) in diameter;
(2) A vessel of more than 7.9 meters (26 feet) in length, but not more than 19.8 meters (65 feet), must carry a minimum of one life buoy of not less than 610 millimeters (24 inches) in diameter; and
(3) A vessel of more than 19.8 meters (65 feet) in length must carry a minimum of three life buoys of not less than 610 millimeters (24 inches) in diameter.
(b) Each ring life buoy on a vessel must:
(1) Be approved in accordance with § 160.050 in subchapter Q of this chapter, or other standard specified by the Commandant, including, but not limited to, approval series 160.150;
(2) Be readily accessible;
(3) Be stowed in a way that it can be rapidly cast loose;
(4) Not be permanently secured in any way; and
(5) If on a vessel on an oceans or coastwise route, be orange in color.
(c) At least one ring life buoy must be fitted with a lifeline. If more than one ring life buoy is carried, at least one must not have a lifeline attached. Each lifeline on a ring life buoy must:
(1) Be buoyant;
(2) Be of at least 18.3 meters (60 feet) in length;
(3) Be non-kinking;
(4) Have a diameter of at least 7.9 millimeters (
(5) Have a breaking strength of at least 5 kilonewtons (1,124 pounds); and
(6) Be of a dark color if synthetic, or of a type certified to be resistant to deterioration from ultraviolet light.
(d) A vessel must carry one floating waterlight, unless it is limited to daytime operation, in which case no floating waterlight is required.
(1) Each floating waterlight must be approved in accordance with § 161.010 in subchapter Q of this chapter, or other standard specified by the Commandant, including, but not limited to, approval series 160.110.
(2) Each ring life buoy with a floating waterlight must have a lanyard of at least 910 millimeters (3 feet) in length, but not more than 1,830 millimeters (6 feet), securing the waterlight around the body of the ring life buoy.
(3) Each floating waterlight installed after March 11, 1997, on a vessel carrying only one ring buoy, must be attached to the lanyard with a corrosion-resistant clip. The clip must have a strength of at least 22.7 kilograms (50 pounds), and allow the waterlight to be quickly disconnected from the ring life buoy.