Sailing on a boat is a fun experience, but it is also essential to ensure you and your passengers are safe. Emergencies can quickly turn your average day on the water into a potentially dangerous situation. You can’t control everything during your trip, but you can minimize these potential risks by being prepared and bringing the right equipment. Here are some essential things you should have on your boat at all times.
First Aid Kit
A basic first aid kit helps with minor accidents and injuries on the boat until you can get help. Your kit should always have bandages, antiseptic, pain relievers, and gauze, and you can add more things if necessary. If you have any allergies or get seasick, pack some medications in the kit.
You must have distress signals every time you sail. For some boats, it’s required by law, so it is best to keep them on board at all times. Signal flares are great for when you are stranded and need to be rescued. A sound signaling device is also ideal, especially if it’s foggy. Some flares require a gun, while others are self-launching.
Most states require at least one lifejacket for each person on board, but it’s always a good idea to have some spares just in case. Know your state’s life preserver requirements, follow these rules, and check any Coast Guard requirements before equipping your boat.
A fire extinguisher is another essential piece of equipment for your boat. Your vessel should already come with a fire extinguisher, but if not, don’t set sail until you get one. You never know when a fire will break out on board, and boat fires are notoriously hard to put out, so you should always have an extinguisher handy.
This two-way communication device allows you to radio for help in a disaster. You can call another boat nearby or contact someone on the coast to come and help. Sometimes the cell service isn’t great on the water, so using your mobile device may be out of the question, and the only thing that can help you in such a situation is a VHF radio.
A GPS device lets you know your exact location and what direction you’re going in. Today’s marine GPS technology offers more than what the standard GPS on your phone provides. From electronic charts to geocaching, fish finders, sonar, and more, marine GPS technology has improved significantly.
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