Sound Signalling Devices and Appliances

Sound travels well over water. Thus, sound signaling devices are an excellent means of:

  • Communicating your maneuvering intention;
  • Alerting others of your presence in restricted visibility; and
  • Drawing attention to emergencies.

Sound signals are sent by emitting a continuous or intermittent sound with a horn, whistle or explosive signal.


Difference between Sound Signalling Appliance and Device

  • Sound-Signalling Appliance – Is permanently fitted on the vessel (i.e. horn, gong or bell).
  • Sound Signalling Device – Is simply carried on board – this can be a gas horn or a pealess whistle.


Vessels must have an efficient means of producing sound signals based on the vessel’s length:

  • Vessels less than 12m (39.4 feet) in length not already fitted with a sound signalling appliance must carry a sound signalling device such as a pealess whistle or a horn (electric or compressed gas);
  • Vessels 12m (39.4 feet) or more in length must carry a sound signalling appliance (whistle) on board;
  • Vessels 20m (65.6 feet) or more in length must have a fitted bell in addition to a whistle.
REMEMBER: A sound signalling device or appliance is required on all pleasure craft.