Having a means of audible warning sounds while traveling via boat is a requirement under international and local marine laws. A boat horn is essential for marine safety but for some reason it’s often an overlooked vessel system.
But how do you find a boat horn that has a clear sound and meets marine safety requirements? You’ll find all the information you need in today’s article.
We’ll be reviewing seven of the best boat horns you can use on almost any vessel. We’ve also provided buying information after our reviews section to assist you with your buying decision. Let’s start with why you need a boat horn.
Why do You Need a Boat Horn?
According to the American Boating Association, all vessels bigger than 65.6ft must have a horn. Also, all recreational vessels are required to be equipped with a whistle or horn that’s audible for half a mile away. This is for safety reasons to avoid accidents with other boats on the water.
Recreational boats are required to use sound signals when there’s reduced visibility or when they’re anchored.
Navigation rules require audible sound signals to be made under certain situations such as the following:
- At a crossing
- Overtaking other vessels
- At a meeting
- In dense fog
Some boats come equipped with a horn but sometimes the sound of it isn’t loud enough. Other boats don’t have a horn installed. So if you have a horn that’s low quality or you don’t have one at all take a look at our seven reviews. Perhaps you’ll find a horn suitable for your boat so you can make a smart investment this year.
Here are the best boat horns you can buy in 2020:
1. Marinco Electric Hidden Horns
The Marinco Electric boat horn has a stainless steel structure for durability. It’s a retrofit boat horn that’s easy to install from the outside of your vessel since the grill has a quick snap on fit. You have to order the grill separately from the horn.
This boat horn has a drop-in fit which makes it effortless to install onto your boat. It’s an OEM product so there shouldn’t be any issues when mounting the device.
Marinco’s boat horn has a dB(A) rating of 105db at one mile which is the ideal sound for any recreational boat. You’re able to make audible warning signals and other boaters will clearly hear you coming.
The fundamental frequency of the Marinco electric boat horn is 440+/-20Hz that requires 12V DC power. It has a maximum amp draw of 3 amps.
2. Amarine Made 12v Marine Boat Stainless Steel Single Trumpet Horn
Best Trumpet Horn
The Amarine Made single trumpet horn is made completely out of stainless steel with a 304 non-magnetic grade. It has a durable structure that’s suitable for freshwater and saltwater vessels. This marine horn has a classic design for anyone who loves vintage aesthetics for their boats.
Amarine’s boat horn is designed for outside mounting and it can be installed on any transportation vehicle such as SUVs, trucks, RVs & boats with 12V power. It’s effortless to install because of the rubber gasket and stainless steel mounting equipment it comes with.
This Amarine stainless steel trumpet horn has 115dB of sound and draws 4 amps. It’s exceptionally loud so you’re able to signal to other boaters that are at least a mile and a half away.
3. SeaSense SS 12-Volt Horn
The SeaSense SS boat horn is a streamlined fixture that can be hidden. So if you don’t want the horn to stick out it can be easily concealed when you mount it. It comes with a mounting pad and harness for easy installation. SeaSense’s horn has two wiring systems with plenty of length to hook it up.
For durability, the SeaSense SS horn has a stainless steel structure so it’s able to withstand harsh conditions.
This horn is audible for at least two miles away because of its 120dB sound. The SeaSense SS horn is a 12V DC fixture that meets USCG requirements. It’s easy to operate but you will need to purchase a momentary switch to sound the horn.
4. SEACHOICE 14571 Hidden Boat Horn
If you live in an area with extreme weather conditions then you’ll need a boat horn that you can cover. That’s why the Seachoice boat horn is a hidden application: to protect it from the elements. Since it’s a hidden device it’s also practical to install on boats with limited space.
The Seachoice boat horn comes with a stainless steel cover to protect the device. It has two wire connectors that have plenty of length for easy installation. To fit this boat horn you’ll need a 3.5" x 2.5" cut-out.
Seachoice’s boat horn is a 12V DC fixture with 105dB audio that’s audible from one mile away. It’s suitable for small recreational boats as well as vehicles. What’s more, the Seachoice boat horn meets NMMA and ABYC specifications so you’re guaranteed a fixture that’s safe & durable.
5. Shoreline Marine Eco Air Horn
Best Air Horn
The Shoreline Marine Eco air horn is not a permanent fixture. It’s a portable horn that can easily fit inside your pocket. This is suitable for boaters who need an affordable alternative to permanent horn fixtures.
This air horn is ideal for most recreational sports for signalling races and football games. It’s used for celebrations and any other outdoor activities. Most importantly it’s designed for small recreational boats when traveling through dense fog or low light conditions.
The Shoreline Marine Eco produces 120dB sound that’s audible from a mile away. This horn is made with robust components that are able to withstand harsh conditions. It’s reliable and meets US Coast Guard & NMMA requirements. It’s also easy to operate and it’s powered by non-flammable aerosol for safe discharge when signalling to other fellow boaters.
6. Aqsi Horn W/Stainless Steel Cover
The Aqsi horn is designed for boats that are 39ft in size. This horn must be installed inside the boat to protect the components from water. It comes with a stainless steel cover that is durable and it further protects the horn from harsh environmental impact.
This electronic horn is easy to install and comes with a 2 1/4" hole saw. The inner components are prewired and polarity protected. The Aqsi horn is compact so you’re able to install it on boats with limited space.
Aqsi is a dual-tone horn with 12V DC and produces an audible sound of 106dB which can be heard from up to a mile away. This boat horn is USCG approved so you’re guaranteed a safe, reliable product that will give you the signalling capabilities you require.
7. FIAMM 5190512 Marine Horn
The Fiamm marine horn has a streamlined design that can be installed on the outside of your boat. It won’t change the aesthetics of your vessel because it’s small and comes with a grill to hide it. This boat horn is exceptionally durable so it can withstand harsh marine conditions and the elements.
Fiamm’s marine boat horn is easy to install because it comes with all the mounting components required to place this fixture neatly on your boat.
The Fiamm marine boat horn produces a loud 125dB sound that can be heard from two miles away. This boat horn is NMMA, ABYC and USCG approved so you’re guaranteed a safe & reliable boat horn that will always work when you need it.
Before you can purchase one of the boat horns we’ve reviewed it’s important to know which specs and features to look at first. This next section provides buying information to help you make a decision on which boat horn is suitable for your requirements.
Suggested Type Based on Boat Size
Sound signal equipment is based on the length of your boat. You must adhere to these requirements because they were put in place for your safety.
Boats Less than 39.4 Feet in Length
A boat that is smaller than 39.4ft in length must have a loud audible device onboard for signalling. These boats must either have a whistle, air horn or bell on board to signal to other boaters, or send a message in case of an emergency.
Boats Between 39.4 Feet and 65.6 Feet in Length
Boats between 39.4ft and 65.6ft in length must carry a whistle & a bell. The mouth of the bell should be 7.87" in diameter and the whistle must be audible for half a nautical mile.
Your boat horn must be audible between a half a mile and two miles away. Most importantly the larger your vessel is the louder the horn must be. For recreational boats, you must have a horn that’s between 109dB and 112dB that draws 2.5 to 5 amperes of current.
You’re allowed to use an air horn on a small boat too, provided is has the correct decibels and it’s a reliable product that won’t fail to work in emergency situations.
There are different types of sound signalling devices for boats. Air horns don’t need electrical components to operate but whistles and electronic horns will need power to function. Typically boat horns require 12V DC from the boat’s battery to operate and will draw 2.5 amperes of power.
Larger horns will need at least 10 amperes of power to operate but bigger devices aren’t needed for smaller recreational boats. You simply need a horn that’s able to produce an audible sound that can be heard from half a mile away. Smaller boat horns don’t need much power to operate.
USCG stands for United States Coast Guard which is an organization that has put together boat safety rules for people to follow. Your boat horn must meet USCG requirements for it to be legal to use on your vessel.
Installation and Placement
You can purchase an OEM boat horn for the model and make of your vessel. These horns are easy to mount. Ensure your horn comes with the correct mounting and wiring components so you can connect the device to your boat’s battery successfully.
It’s ideal to place the horn in a location where it can be heard in all directions. You should install your boat horn in the front of the vessel.
We hope that our buyer’s guide gave you the information you need to find a device suitable for your vessel. Pick one of the boat horns from our review section because all of them meet marine safety standards. But to chalk it down to the best out of all of them we recommend the Amarine Made single trumpet horn.
The Amarine Made single trumpet horn is a powerful device with robust construction. It can be used for any transportation vehicle such as SUVs, trucks and RVs. It’s easy to install and it produces a powerful 115dB of sound.
Now, stay safe on the water and ensure you buy a horn that meets USCG requirements. Safety first!