Boating is a fantastic hobby, and being on the open water provides endless opportunities for fun and relaxation. However, it can also be a dangerous pastime if everything is not checked and maintained, which is why taking the appropriate safety measures is an absolute must. Properly stocked safety kits, as well as other simple safety measures, can provide all the tools necessary to ensure your time on the boat is spent safely and that you are properly prepared for any situation that may arise.
There is a wide variety of boat safety equipment available and this article aims to help you determine what equipment should be on board your boat, and how to spend your time on the water safely.
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What Should Be Aboard your Boat?
All boats are required by law to carry the appropriate safety equipment. However, the necessary equipment is required will vary, depending on the type and size of your boat. It is your responsibility to fully understand the specifications of your vessel and possess the proper equipment at all times.
It is imperative that all items be present and properly maintained, as a boat owner you should take the time to check this regularly and replace as necessary.
The most important piece of equipment on any boat is a life jacket or personal flotation device. Wearing a flotation device while aboard a boat is essential for personal safety and everyone on the boat needs to have one that properly fits.
Lifejackets and PFDs are available in a multitude of sizes, colours and varieties to suit every individual comfortably. Wearing a life jacket is especially important when in a smaller boat as the majority of documented incidents occur during small vessel excursions.
Buoyant Heaving Line
A buoyant heaving line is specifically designed to be thrown to a person overboard, and is equipped with a buoy or float at one end, providing aid to the person in the water. Be sure to have one of these with you when out on the water.
Valid Boating Certificate
It is incredibly important that the person responsible for the boat be in possession of an up to date, valid boaters license. Courses cover all of the basics and necessities in order to operate safely and manoeuvre a boat. Therefore, it is important to be educated on how to safely navigate your boat amongst others, and to ensure you have readiness training on how to correctly respond to an emergency scenario.
The importance of having an emergency kit aboard your boat cannot be stressed enough.
A good emergency kit is stored in a watertight container and kept in an easily acceptable location. A good and complete kit will include some or all of the following:
- A first aid kit with antiseptic and plenty of clean, dry bandages
- Bottled water and emergency rations for everyone on board
- Sunglasses, sunscreen, hats and other UV protection
- A properly working VHF radio onboard
- Basic tools and spare parts so you don’t get stranded
- Proper fuel amounts or plans of a refuel location
- Maps and charts or a GPS tool to assure exact location at all times
- Emergency flares and flashlights for signalling in distress
When it comes to preparedness on the water, there is no such thing as too much. Implementing all of these safety measures, as well as giving the vessel and boat safety equipment a full inspection before departure, can help assure your boating trip if full of fun and that you are properly prepared to handle anything that comes your way on the water. Happy Sailing!
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