5 Essential Boating Equipment
According to the Coast Guard 2020 Boat Safety Statistics report, of the accidents where victims died by drowning, 86% were not wearing life jackets.
There is safety equipment that you are required to have on board your vessel at all times. Knowing what boating equipment to carry with you and how to use it will help you and your passengers be safer on the water.
Read on for the 5 essential items you need to have on board!
1. Wearable Personal Flotation Device
You are required to have a personal floatation device, or life jacket, for every person on your boat or in the water. Children 12 and under must always have their life jackets on when the vessel is in motion.
Be sure that your life jackets are the right category for boating. They must be a Type I, II, or III flotation device.
2. Throwable Flotation Device
Type IV flotation devices are throwing flotation devices, such as a ring buoy. You are required to have at least one onboard every vessel, though you can’t go wrong with having more for larger vessels.
You can buy these throwing devices with or without a towing rope for pulling the person and device back to the boat.
3. Fire Extinguisher
Depending on the size of your craft, you need at least one fire extinguisher onboard. Vessels under 26 feet need one B-1 type extinguisher, those 26-40 feet need two B-1 type or 2 B-2 type extinguishers.
It is wise to make sure that all adults on the vessel know how to operate the extinguisher.
4. Visual Signaling Device
If your vessel is under 16 feet be sure to have a nighttime signaling device. This can be a slight flare or white smoke flare.
You should have both night and daytime signaling devices if your vessel is over 16 feet. There are great resources out there to discover more on boat size and requirements.
Daytime signaling devices are usually orange flags that need to be of a certain size depending on the size of your boat. This flag should be raised or displayed whenever someone is in the water where other boats may not see them.
5. Sound Signaling Device
Sound signaling devices such as an air horn or bell protect your vessel are particularly helpful during the night or if the weather turns foggy. Know the regulations for using your sound signaling device, particularly if you are a larger vessel in foggy conditions.
If your boat has a fixed horn then you are good to check off this requirement as long as it is operational.
Have a Boat Safety Checklist
Keep these items and other essentials you want to keep on your vessel on a boat safety checklist. Use this list to keep your items up-to-date, such as checking the expiration date of your flares and extinguishers. This checklist can also include keeping stock of items such as first aid kits or tools.
Include a section on your checklist for making sure that life jackets fit properly and adults are aware of where your safety equipment is and how to use it.
Your Boating Equipment Helps You
You are on the right track to make sure that your next boating adventure is fun and safe! Keeping your boating equipment in good order helps you ensure your and your passengers’ safety.