Boat Gear Checklist

Gear up for great time on the water. Before you head out to the lakes, check to see what boat ramps are open.

Note: Gear marked by an asterisk * is required by Texas law.

  • Life jackets.* They are a sure way to keep from drowning. State law requirements:
    • Children under 13 years of age in motorboats under 26 feet must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket while under way.
    • All vessels under 16 feet (including canoes and kayaks) must be equipped with one Type I, II, III or V for each person on board. Read more.
    • Vessels 16 feet and longer, in addition to the Type I, II, III or V for each person on board, must have one Type IV, which must be readily accessible. Canoes and kayaks over 16 feet are exempt from the Type IV requirement.
  • Functioning navigational lights and mirrors for the boat.*
  • Sound-producing device.* A working horn or whistle.
  • Texas certificate of title.* An on-board copy is required by state law, with the numbers correctly affixed to the boat.
  • Working fire extinguisher that's easily accessible.* (Quick check: Does it take you 10 minutes to find because you’re not sure where it’s stowed? If so, it can't help you if you need it.)
  • Two-way marine radio. The best ones for mariners are water-resistant, battery-powered models with two-radio capability and a range of up to 12 miles.
  • First-aid kit. You never know when you or someone near you might need it.
  • Sunscreen. It's protection for your skin.
  • Water. Drink it, so you don't dehydrate.
  • All-hazards radio. Learn more about NOAA and all-hazards radios.