With more than 11 million recreational vessels registered in the U.S., millions of Americans are enjoying time on and in the water. Just be sure safety is foremost in your mind. You can’t always predict an emergency, so be prepared for any situation. Your boat safety kit should be kept on board no matter the size of your boat. ALWAYS check with authorities in the state you are operating in for what is required for your boat. Below are some essential items your safety kit should include.
- Flashlight – A flashlight and extra batteries can help you see around your boat in the dark and allow you to be seen if you run out of fuel or if your craft stalls.
- Duct tape – Great way to make temporary fixes to get you back to the dock safe.
- Bucket – Even if the boat isn’t leaking, water may otherwise enter the vessel. A bucket can help you bail it out.
- First aid kit – A properly equipped first aid kit, plus the knowledge on how to use it, is vital in case of an accident or medical emergency.
- Whistle – As a recognized signal calling for help on the water, a waterproof whistle is another must-have.
- Ropes – These are critical for pulling someone in who has fallen overboard, securing your craft to the dock and tying down loose items in extreme weather.
- Mirror – A mirror or any reflective object can signal for help.
- Garbage bags – Use them as rain ponchos and protection for items on board.
- Fire extinguisher – Just because you’re on the water doesn’t mean you can’t have an onboard fire. All passengers should know the location of your fire extinguisher and how to use it.
- Life jackets – You should have a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket for every person on board.
- Sunscreen – Being exposed on the water all day can lead to a nasty sunburn.
- Drinking water – Hydration is key to a fun day on the boat.
- U.S Coast Guard approved flares – All vessels, regardless of length or type, are required to carry night signals when operating between sunset and sunrise. Most vessels must carry day signals, also.
- Marine Radio and cell phone
No matter how much you prepare to keep yourself, passengers and your boat safe, accidents can happen. This is just one simple step to help protect you and your family in a boating emergency.