When you embark on a boating trip, it’s always good to have the necessary safety gear. The boat may be used for any water-based activities such as fishing, wake surfing, day cruising, or skiing. Whatever the purpose is behind using the boat, it is extremely necessary that the safety equipment be kept onboard. The gear must be inspected periodically as well so that all the items remain in good working condition.
The items required might differ according to the kind and size of the vessel used. However, you’ll need the basic gear to keep yourself out of trouble. Here is the must-have equipment for you while enjoying your boating activities:
1. Wearable personal floating devices (PFDs)
A wearable personal floating device or PFD refers to a life jacket. It must be made available to every person on the boat. If you have a wake surfer or a skier behind the boat, that individual would also need a PFD. Children who are 12 years of age or under must also wear their PFD at all times.
In the same way, a person riding a personal watercraft must also wear a PFD. In case of an emergency, everyone on the boat must wear a life jacket. It is recommended that they put on the life jacket at the dock just before the departure.
2. Throwable floating devices
Besides the life jackets, you’ll need at least one Type IV floating device. You must be able to throw it to an individual in the water. This floating device is used for saving an individual who has got into the water. The device can be a ring buoy or a cushion.
You can have as many of these devices as you can on the boat. Some of these items may come with an attached line. This comes in handy for pulling an individual in the water closer to the boat. Once close enough, he or she can be rescued easily.
3. Visual signalling devices
When urgent help is needed, sending distress signals would be extremely necessary. Visual signalling devices come in a variety of packages according to different requirements. They can be required according to the size of the vessel and the place where the boat is sailing. Boats that are under 16 feet must have nighttime signals.
Those over 16 feet must have visual signalling devices for the day as well as night use. White smoke and aerial light flares are some of examples. Some of the flares can self-launch while there are others that need a flare gun. Strobe light and white flags can be used during the day as well as at night.
4. Fire extinguishers
Fire extinguishers come with different ratings and they are of different kinds. To keep it simple, the boats under 26 feet would need at least one B-1 type extinguisher. Boats that are in the range of 26 to 40 feet would need two B-1 types or one B-2 type fire extinguisher.
How the fire extinguisher is to be operated must be discussed with all passengers. They must be briefed on the use of the fire extinguisher before the boat’s departure.