Safety Regulations for Houseboats



Exploring new waters and coves can be rather exciting each year. Experiencing the beautiful landscapes, great fishing, and warm sunbathing while on a houseboat, is truly an unique experience. Whether this is with your family, friends or alone, make sure your houseboat is following the safety regulations set forth by the lake’s marina and federal government. This will help to ensure your boat has the required equipment in case some type of emergency occurs.

There are many different items you will need to fulfill the regulations in regards to equipment on the houseboat. A life jacket must be readily available to each person on the boat, so have them hanging on the sides of the boat and not tucked in a storage unit inside the cabin. Have the life jackets checked each year, so you know they are working properly. A life ring is also required on all houseboats. This should also be readily available in the misfortune that a guest or family member goes overboard. Your houseboat is also required to carry safety flares. Some lakes are many miles wide and have hundreds of coastlines, so being able to alert other boaters to you is important in case you become stranded. Keep a few on your boat at all times and make sure you restock at the end of the season.

Your houseboat is required to have a fire extinguisher, so any small fires that may occur can be put out easily until you can reach the shoreline. It is best to have 1 in the engine room as well as in the cabin area and on top of the deck. Fire extinguishers need to be checked by a professional or you can replace them whenever the expiration date passes.


Each year, there are carbon monoxide poisonings due to poor ventilation and the lack of carbon monoxide detectors. Your boat is required to have ventilation systems, so those gases do not cause potential illness or death. It is a great idea to place a few detectors around the boat as a safety precaution to you and your family.

Even if you do not anchor your boat very often, it is required for you to have one. An anchor may be purchased for around $50, so check out your local boating store to see what kinds they have. You will also need to have a horn if your houseboat is longer than 32 feet. Make sure the horn you pick out alerts those up to a 1/2 mile away. It could be best to ask your local marina what they suggest to use.

Keeping your guests and family on your houseboat safe should high priority for all boaters. These are only a few regulations for houseboats, so check with your marina to keep your boat within the regulations.