Originally Posted by treerat
There is no requirement on a private vessel to legally carry said kit, and no way to enforce it.
I've been on RIB.net for 9 years, and I never realized this.
In the US, we are required to have:
Noisemaker (horn, whistle, empty pot and a spoon) audible to 1 mile (I think)
Daytime distress signal (flag, smoke, don't remember what else is acceptable; see next)
If operating at night, night distress signal (3 flares, aerial or handheld; I don't think any electronics qualify; night signals can replace the daytime signal)
PFD (lifejacket) for each person on board (under 12 has to be wearing, unless in a cabin - the last may be a California thing)
Vessel with a built in fuel tank, or over 16': fire extinguisher
That's all I can think of off the top of my head.
State or local law can require additional stuff. USCG enforces federal mandated equipment; local law enforcement enforces federal and local requirements.