With more people heading back out on the water, it’s a good time to check your boat safety gear and ensure that you have the right kit.
With Covid restrictions easing up and the weather (mostly) getting better, you’d be forgiven for wanting to dust off your boat and get back out on the open water. However, before you climb aboard and set out on your next adventure, it’s important to take the time to check that you have the right safety kit in place in case of an emergency. If you need a refresher, we’ve got the information you need to enjoy some safe, boating fun!
Organising the Basics
The first thing you should do is check that all your basic equipment is in good working order and is ready to be used. Items you should always keep onboard include:
- Life jackets – no matter how well everyone can swim, life jackets are an essential part of a boating kit, especially if you are caught in an accident and cannot keep yourself afloat.
- Sunscreen – waterproof cover-up is the best type, and making sure you have enough to keep everyone topped up is essential.
- Dry bags – storing your keys, phone, purse, and other important items in a dry and safe place is essential, especially if the water is a bit choppy.
Legal Requirements for Boating Gear
When it comes to leaving the dock, there are a number of items you will need to have on your boat and in good working order to adhere to legal requirements. The items that you must have include:
- Fire Extinguisher – if your boat is less than 26 feet long, then you must have a B-1 fire extinguisher onboard. If your vessel is over 26 feet, then you need two B-1 extinguishers or one B-2 extinguisher on board. They must be in date and not used, and each person that goes on the boat is required to know how to use them.
- Floatation Devices – in addition to life jackets, you have to have a minimum of one throwable floatation device on your boat. You can choose from a cushion, ring buoy or similar, and while you are only required to have one, it is advisable to have more, especially if you are taking lots of people out on the water.
- Sound Signalling Tool – if you ever find yourself in trouble, then a sound signalling tool will help you get the support you need, especially if you are caught in the dark, or there is fog or mist around. These tools include bells, whistles, portable and fixed horns.
- Visual Signalling Device – these include tools like flares, flags or strobes and different sized vessels have different requirements, so make sure you research what you need before you head out.
Other Important Kit
When you have all the major items in place, you will also need to get smaller safety items that will prove themselves to be invaluable if they are ever needed. Make sure to check that they are all in good working order before you set sail:
- First aid kit
- Phone and radio to call for help
- Snorkel mask
With everything in place, you are now ready to get back out on the open water!