Motorboat Noise
[Table 4.3]

 

State

Is there a maximum noise level for motorboats in your state?

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, please give the levels and standard used.

Is there a factory muffling alteration law in your state?

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, what is the law?

Is boat noise governed by local ordinance in your state?

If you answered "Yes" to the previous question, what is the local ordinance?

Alabama

Yes 

cannot exceed a noise level of 86 decibels measured at a distance of 50 feet form the vessel 

Yes 

33-5-23(a) The exhaust of every internal combustion engine used on any vessel shall be effectively muffled by equipment so constructed and used as to muffle the noise of the exhaust in a reasonable manner. The use of cutouts is prohibited, except for vessels competing in a regatta or official boat race, and for such vessels while on trial runs. 

No 

 

Alaska

No 

 

No 

 

No 

 

American Samoa

Yes 

federal regulations enforced 

 

 

 

 

Arizona

Yes 

It is illegal to operate a vessel that produces a sound level exceeding 86 decibels on the ‚ÄúA‚Äù weighted scale as measured from a distance of 50 feet or more from the vessel unless a special permit has been obtained. 

No 

 

No 

 

Arkansas

No 

 

Yes 

The use of dry stack headers or pipes extending directly from the engine of a motorboat which does not have any type of muffler is prohibited 

No 

 

Australia

 

 

 

 

 

 

British Columbia

 

 

 

 

 

 

California

Yes 

Vessels built on of after 1/1/93 88 dB(A) using SAE J2005 75 bB(A) using SAE J1970 86 dbA for engines manufactured before Janyary 1, 1976 84 dbA for engines manufactured on or after January 1, 1976 and before January 1, 1978 82 dbA for engines manugactured on or after January 1, 1978 

Yes 

No vessel may be sold in CA if it does not come equipped with a muffler or mufling system 

Yes 

Local ordinace may be stricter than state levels, e.g., may prohibit motorized vessels or restrict areas of operation 

Colorado

yes 

86 dBA when measured from a distance of 50 or more feet from the vessel 

yes 

Except for motorboats competing in a sanctioned race, a stock factory muffler underwater or other device capable of adequately muffling the engine's exhaust sounds is required.  

yes 

varies 

Connecticut

Yes 

90 dB boats builtprior to 1993 88 dB boats built 1993 to present SAE standard 

Yes 

some cut out devices may be approved (none are as of yet) all vessels must have effective muffling devices 

No 

 

Delaware

No 

 

Yes 

must have a backfire flame arrester and no open exhaust 

No 

 

District of Columbia

Yes 

A vessel that is propelled by internal combustion engines shall be equipped with mufflers constructed and maintained to prevent any unnecessary, intense, or prolonged noise in the operation or management of the vessel. 

Yes 

Mufflers shall not be removed or rendered inoperative for any purpose whatsoever; provided, that during regattas, races, or similar events subject to regulation under ¬ß 1039 of this chapter, a participating vessel shall be exempt from the requirements of this section. 

Yes  

District of Columbia Municipal Regulations, Title 19, Chapter 10, Section 35 (Mufflers and Noise Control) 

Florida

No 

 

No 

 

Yes 

Sound level at 50 feet can‚Äôt exceed 90 dBA. 

Georgia

 

 

No 

 

No 

 

Guam

No 

 

No 

 

No 

 

Hawaii

Yes 

muffled or suppressed as to not create excessive or unusual noise. 

No 

 

No 

 

Idaho

Yes 

Vessels built before Jan 1, 1995 must not exceed 90dB(A). Vessels built on or after Jan 1, 1995 must not exceed 88dB(A). While operating on lakes and rivers wider than 500', it is unlawful to exceed 75dB(A). 

No 

 

Yes 

 

Illinois

Yes  

SAE J2005 Surface Vehicle Recommended Practice (SAE International) 90 decibles (stationary) 75 decibles (shoreline) 0 to 1 db over (pass) 1 to 2 db (written warning) 2 or more (citation)  

No  

 

No 

 

Indiana

No 

 

Yes 

Illegal to operate with a muffler cut-out, bypass or similar device. 

No 

 

Iowa

Yes 

Engines manfcturd before Jan. 1, 1993 may not exceed a 90 dB level. Those manfctured after 1993 shall not exceed 88 dB. Tests are SAE J2005 and J1970. 

No 

 

No 

 

Kansas

Yes 

86 on the pass-by test and 91 on the stationary 

Yes 

No vessel may be equipped with any cut-out devices. 

No 

 

Kentucky

No 

 

Yes 

It shall be illegal to operate any motorboat withou an effective exhaust muffling system, or in any manner which renders the exhaust muffling system ineffective... 

No 

 

Louisiana

No 

 

Yes 

must have mufflers 

No 

 

Maine

Yes 

Watercraft that exceeds a noise level of 90 decibels when subjected to a stationary sound level test or a noise level of 75 decibels when subjected to an operational test may not be operated. 

Yes 

It is unlawful to tamper with a motorboat muffler system in any way which increases the sound decibels. 

No 

 

Manitoba (Canada)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maryland

Yes 

No louder than 90 decibels 

Yes 

 

 

 

Massachusetts

No 

 

Yes  

MA Ch. 90B, S6 - "The exhaust of every internal combustion engine on any motorboat shall have an effective muffler or approved underwater exhaust." 

Yes 

The town of Falmouth enforces a recent local by-law, based on Nasbla's model act. Not aware of any other towns with ordinance.  

Michigan

Yes 

Amuffler with noise in excess or 90 decibels at idle at 3 feet and 75 decibels measured from shore. 

No 

 

No 

 

Minnesota

Yes 

Boats built before Jan 1, 1982 - 84 dBA at 50 feet or 86 dBA stationary idle test. Boats built after Jan 1, 1982 - 82 dBA at 50 feet or 84 dBA stationary idle test. Also - No cutouts allowed. 

Yes 

It is unlawful to equip, sell, or operate a motorboat that exceeds the dBA levels. It is also unlawful to have an altered muffler, muffler cutout, muffler bypass, or any other device designed or installed so that it can bypass the effectiveness of a muffling system. 

No 

 

Mississippi

No 

 

No 

 

No 

 

Missouri

Yes 

Boats built on 1/1/96 or later must not exceed a noise level of 90 dBA when stationary at ilde and measured forma a distance of 3 feet, and; all motorboats must not exceed a noise level of 86 dBA when measured from a distance of 50 feet. 

Yes 

You may not remove or modify a muffler or muffling system if the result is increase noise level. 

No 

 

Montana

Yes 

90 dbA or less when measured at a distance of 1 meter from the muffler at idle speed. (SAE J2005) Flathead Lake, Echo Lake and Swan Lake can not exceed 75dbA measured at the Shoreline (SAE J1970) 

Yes 

The muffler may not be modified or altered, such as by a cutout. 

No 

 

Nebraska

Yes 

96 db, S1.4-1983 standard 

Yes 

The exhaust of every internal combustion engine used on any motorboat shall be effectively muffled by equipment so constructed andused to muffle the noise of the exhaust in a reasonable manner. 

No 

 

Nevada

Yes 

86 decible at back of boat 

Yes 

Must have installed muffler system 

No 

 

New Hampshire

Yes 

stationary test-90 db prior 1/1/91, 88 db on or after 1/1/91.moving test(at 50 feet)-84 db prior 1/1/91, 82 db on or after 1/1/91  

Yes 

Must be exhaust muffler or thru the water, no adjustable mufflers. 

No 

state law 

New Jersey

Yes 

90 DBA, measured at idle with all engines operating, measured not less than 4' above water at a point where transom gunwale and port or starboard gunwale intersect 

Yes 

equiped w muffler, no cutouts 

No 

 

New Mexico

Yes 

Aside from racing noise level may not generate complaints from other users in state parks 

Yes 

use of cutouts or non-muffled headesr is prohibited. All vessel engines must be equipped with an effective muffling device 

No  

 

New York

Yes 

90 db, J2005 75 db, J1970 

Yes 

can not sell a boat that is louded then what the law allows 

Yes 

¬ß 44. Noise levels on pleasure vessels. 1. The provisions of this section shall apply to the navigable waters of the state including all tidewaters bordering on and lying within the boundaries of Nassau and Suffolk counties. 2. (a) No person shall operate or give permission for the operation of any pleasure vessel in or upon the waters of this state in such a manner as to exceed a noise level of 90dB(A) when subjected to a stationary sound level test as prescribed by SAE J2005. (b) No person shall operate a pleasure vessel on the waters of this state in such a manner as to exceed a noise level of 75dB(A) measured as specified in SAE J1970. Provided, that such measurement shall not preclude a stationary sound level test as prescribed by SAE J2005. 3. Sale or manufacture. No person shall manufacture or offer for sale any pleasure vessel or engine for use in a pleasure vessel for use on the waters of this state if such vessel or engine, at the time of manufacture or sale, cannot be operated in such a manner so as to comply with the sound level requirements provided in this section. 4. No person shall operate or give permission for the operation of any pleasure vessel in or upon the waters of this state that is equipped with an altered muffler or a muffler cutout, bypass or otherwise reduce or eliminate the effectiveness of any muffler or muffler system installed in accordance with this section. 5. No person shall remove, alter or otherwise modify in any way a muffler or muffler system in a manner which will prevent it from being operated in accordance with this section. 6. Exceptions. The provisions of this section shall not apply to pleasure vessels designed, manufactured and sold for the sole purpose of competing in racing events and for no other purpose. Any such exemption or exception shall be so documented in any and every sale agreement and shall be formally acknowledged by signature on the part of both the buyer and the seller and copies of said agreement shall be maintained by both parties. A copy shall be kept on board whenever the pleasure vessel is operated. Any pleasure vessel sold under this exemption may only be operated on the waters of this state in accordance with this section. The provisions of this section shall also not apply to: (a) Pleasure vessels which are competing in or participating for a definite race over a given course held under the auspices of any bona fide club or racing association between the hours of nine o'clock in the morning and sunset, which has been approved pursuant to the provisions of section thirty-four of this chapter, and all provisions of such section have been complied with or pursuant to authorization by the commandant of the United States Coast Guard. (b) An authorized agent of the federal, state or municipal government when operating a pleasure vessel necessary to carry out his or her official duty of enforcement, search and rescue, firefighting or research programs. (c) A pleasure vessel being operated by a boat or marine engine manufacturer for the purposes of testing and/or development. (d) A pleasure vessel manufactured prior to nineteen hundred sixty-five. 7. Any officer authorized to enforce it goes on but this text box will not allow any more 

North Carolina

No 

 

No 

 

No 

 

North Dakota

No 

 

No 

 

No 

 

Northern Mariana Islands

No 

none 

No 

none 

No 

none 

Ohio

Yes 

90 decibein a stationary test measured at1 meter at idle. 75 deceibels from shoreline. 

Yes 

Can not alter or modify a muffler in any way. 

No 

 

Oklahoma

No 

 

Yes 

No person shall operate upon the waters of this state any vessel or motor which is not equipped with a muffler or muffler system in good working order. The use of cutouts, removal of mufflers or muffler baffles, cutting or punching holes in mufflers or otherwise modifying the original muffler or muffling system so as to increase or modify the noise level is prohibited. 

No 

 

Ontario (Canada)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oregon

Yes 

All motorboat engines must be mechanically muffled. Noise level maximum: 90dBA for engines built prior to 1/1/93...88dBA for those built after 1/1/93. Test specified is J-2005.  

No  

 

No 

 

Pennsylvania

Yes 

¬ß 119.5. Stationary test. (a) A person may not operate or give permission for the operation of a motorboat upon the waters of this Commonwealth that exceeds the following noise levels measured in accordance with SAE J2005: (1) A noise level of 90 dB(a) when subjected to a stationary sound level test for engines manufactured before January 1, 1993. (2) A noise level of 88 dB(a) when subjected to a stationary sound level test for engines manufactured on or after January 1, 1993. (b) Measurements will be made by a sound level meter which satisfies ANSI-S 1.4-1983, Type 2, or equivalent. (c) The noise emission test measurements shall be made with the sound level meter at a distance of at least 4 feet above the water at a point where the transom gunwale and port or starboard gunwale intersects. The vessel being tested shall operate its engine at low throttle setting in neutral gear. Personal watercraft and other boats which have no neutral gear shall operate at the lowest throttle setting with no or minimum headway motion.  

Yes 

§ 119.2. Mufflers. Every motorboat operated upon the waters of this Commonwealth shall be equipped with a muffler or a muffler system in good working order and in constant operation and effectively installed to prevent excessive or unusual noise. § 119.3. Prohibited acts. (a) A person may not operate and an owner may not give permission for the operation of a motorboat upon the waters of this Commonwealth that is equipped with an altered muffler or muffler cutout, bypass or other device designed or so installed so that it can be used continually or intermittently to bypass or otherwise reduce or eliminate the effectiveness of a muffler or muffler system installed under this chapter. (b) A person may not operate and an owner may not give permission to operate a boat that in the observation of two persons, one of whom shall be a waterways conservation officer, deputy waterways conservation officer or other law enforcement officer authorized to enforce the code, the sound or noise is so abnormally loud as to constitute a substantial and extraordinary annoyance or distraction to persons in the vicinity of the watercraft. (c) A person may not remove, alter or otherwise modify a muffler or muffler system in a manner which will prevent it from being operated in accordance with this chapter. § 119.4. Prohibition against sale of a vessel not equipped with a muffler in good working order. A person may not manufacture, sell or offer for sale a motorboat which is not equipped with a muffler or muffler system in good and constant working condition or which does not otherwise comply with this chapter. This chapter does not apply to power vessels designed, manufactured and sold for the sole purpose of competing in racing events and for no other purpose. An exemption or exception shall be so documented in every sales agreement and shall be formally acknowledged by signature on the part of both the buyer and seller. Copies of the agreement shall be kept by both parties. A copy shall also be kept onboard or be available when the boat is being operated. A motorboat sold under this exemption may only be operated on the waters of this Commonwealth in accordance with § 11