Taking your boat out on an excursion means seeing to your own safety during the voyage. You would rather prepare for any problem than find yourself hurt or stranded as a result of an unexpected problem. Consider some of the essential safety items you should load onto the boat before casting off.
No piece of safety gear is more essential than a life jacket. On almost every public waterway, pleasure boaters must wear life jackets, also called personal flotation devices (PFDs). There are three types (I, II, III) approved for boaters to comply with these laws. Choose life jackets that will fit everyone who will travel on the boat. If you will take along small children, then they will need a child’s life jacket.
Most children must wear their jackets at all times. Some adults can take off their life jackets as long as the vessel is not moving. However, it is better to always wear one. Typically, life jackets will last for many years, but they will begin to wear out eventually. Do not use the life jacket as a cushion, which can compress the foam that will help keep you float.
A life preserver is a bit different from a life jacket. It is a flotation device, usually shaped like a tube or a ring, that is not wearable. You can use this device to toss to someone who falls overboard or needs help in the water. Keep the life preserver attached to a rope and secured to the vessel. It can function as a lifeline to guide someone in distress back to the vessel.
Fires can break out from a variety of hazards on the boat. By having a working fire extinguisher, you might be able to quickly get a fire under control.
Some boat owners choose to carry life rafts. Often, these inflate instantly and allow escape routes in case you have to abandon ship. Your life raft can also include oars, which can not only benefit the raft, but also the boat itself. In the event of a mechanical breakdown, you might be able to use the oars to guide the boat back to shore.
First Aid Kit
A well-stocked first aid kit is important to have even for the everyday injury. Boater kits can contain a variety of special equipment that can help with sea sickness, ingested sea water, potential spinal injuries and other water-related injuries.
Some boats have automatic pump systems that help bail water in case of flooding. However, by having a set of buckets on hand, you can still have a resource in case of significant emergencies.
Weather & Emergency Radios
All boaters need to maintain contact with land, especially in emergencies. While it’s a good idea to have your cell phone with you, remember that you might lose service when not close to land. Therefore, have an emergency radio that you always keep turned on. In the event of an accident, use it to call for help.
Many boaters also carry weather radios which can alert them to developing hazards. You’ll be able to get off the water before the issue gets worse.
Light & Sound Signals
Most boats today have built-in emergency lights and siren systems. However, keep on hand portable items like a flashlight, flares and a noisemaker like a bullhorn, air horn or whistle. You might need to use these items as signals if you have to abandon ship.
Don't Forget Boat Insurance
It’s also important to know what help you’ll have if an accident ever occurs. That’s why you need to have boat insurance from the get-go. The policy can provide liability, collision, comprehensive, medical payments and other beneficial protection whenever you take to the water. Call one of our dedicated agents today to learn more about getting a policy!