Safety

Must Have Boat Safety Equipment

Must Have Boat Safety Equipment

You may never find yourself in the middle of an emergency on your boat but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to be prepared for them anyway.  You probably already know you need a lifejacket but that is not the only piece of boat safety equipment that should be on your boat.  If you want to be prepared then here is some of the must have boat safety equipment.

Life Jackets

First and foremost you need to have a life jacket on board whether you’re on a yacht or a dory a life jacket is a must.  It all states it is the law and you need one for every person on the boat.  All of the PFDs must be Coast Guard Approved and in good working order.  They need to fit the users although you don’t need to wear them all the time.  Your PDF is the most important piece of safety equipment on the boat and they save lives.  Here is a look at the different types of life jackets.

Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are also a must have on your boat.  If you have a bigger boat then it is a requirement to have at least one of them on the boat.  You would be surprised at how frequently boats catch on fire and fatalities happen because of no extinguishers.

Flare Guns

Again bigger boats should have some type of flare gun or ability to send a visual distress signal.  There are different rules about what is required depending on where you are sailing.  Coastal water has different rules than open seas, there are also different devices for day and night time use so stock both.  Bear in mind that flare guns are also extremely dangerous if used improperly so learn when and where to use them before hitting the water.  A good flashlight and a whistle can also help when you are in distress.

First Aid Kits

You should at the very least have a basic first aid kit onboard, small accidents like bumps and cuts can happen anywhere and being prepared is everything.  If you are out at sea it could be hours before you make it back to shore and get much needed medical attention.

A Bailer

If your boat begins to take on water then having a bailer or some type of dewatering device can help you keep it afloat until you get to shore.  It can be something as simple as a bucket in a small boat or an expensive sophisticated device on bigger craft.

Having safety equipment on your boat can mean the difference between getting home safely or being lost at sea.  None of the equipment listed here is particularly expensive but all of it can save your life.

Make Sure You Have a Personal Flotation Device

Make Sure You Have a Personal Flotation Device

There is a lot of safety equipment that can be installed on a boat but none are quite as important as your personal flotation device or PFD.  The PFD does exactly what it says, it will keep you afloat if you land in the water during an emergency.  Not all personal flotation devices are created equal and there are several different kinds on the market from you to choose from.

It is the Law

In pretty much every state you are required by law to have personal flotation device on your watercraft, it must also have been approved by the US Coast Guard.  It must always be in good working order, it needs to be accessible at all times and it has to fit the person that is wearing it.  There are 5 different types of flotation devices that you have to choose from, each is meant for a different situation.  Here are they are:

  1. Offshore Life Jackets: These particular life jackets are meant for open water that is far from shore, where it can take a while before someone comes to your rescue. They are the most buoyant and even if you are unconscious they will force you upright so you don’t drown.  These are the biggest and bulkiest of the personal flotation devices
  2. Near Shore Life Jackets: These particular style of PFDs are meant to be used closer to shore where you won’t spend much time in the water and rescue will be relatively quick.
  3. Flotation Devices: Flotation Devices are used in and around pools and on beaches in the shallower water.  They are the water wings and such that you see kids wearing.  They can be worn all of the time and allow plenty of movement.
  4. Throwable Devices: These devices are the rings that lifeguards use to help people in distress, you will also see them as part of the safety equipment on most boats. They are not designed to help people who can’t swim or are unconscious.
  5. Custom Devices: These type of PFDs are meant for specific activities like when you go waterskiing or canoeing.

It doesn’t matter what style of PFD you are going to purchase you need to make sure that it fits properly.  Sizing is not universal and it can vary by manufacturer so either use a sizing chart if you’re buying online or try them on if you’re buying from a store.  You want a snug fit but not too tight.

Not only is having a PDF on your boat the law, but this is not the piece of safety equipment you ever want to scrimp on the life of you and your family could depend on it.

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