Spending a day on a boat out in the water can be one of the most relaxing and exciting things. Unfortunately, with water comes danger with the U.S Coast Guard reporting 4,463 boating accidents in 2016 that resulted in more than 700 deaths and almost 3000 injuries. So how do you prepare for such eventualities and keep your passengers safe? Here are 6 must-have essentials to carry while on board:
Personal floatation devices
PFDs are the most important essentials to carry when going on the water to protect you from drowning if the boat goes under. However, PFDs don’t come in one size fits all so you have to ensure you have the right size for every person and the right class and type for the temperature of that water body. The life jacket should not restrict you from moving comfortably and every passenger must know exactly when and how to wear them.
Under normal circumstances, people use cellphones to communicate. Unfortunately, they tend to lose signal when you go to open sea rendering them useless. The best communication device when onboard is a VHF radio using power on the boat and one that runs on batteries. Tune the radio to emergency channels 9 and 16 so other boats can find you easily and also you can hear them if anyone else needs help. You can also have a satellite phone and GPS on board for directions and directing rescue teams to your location.
Fire extinguisher and smoke detectors
For whatever reason, fires are very common in boats and they can go out of hand pretty fast because of oxygen. Smoke detectors will alert you early enough before the fire breaks out or gets big so you can put it out with the fire extinguisher. Make sure to check the batteries regularly.
Even if you have a radio to call for help in case of anything, it’s crucial to have some signal items so that other people can see you when they get close. Signals such as lights, air horn, flares, and whistles will not only make it easy to track you but also prevent other boats from crashing into your vessel.
Source of warmth
Even during summer, it can get very cold at night especially if you are on the water. A survival suit, blanket, warm jacket and fire starters can save you from hypothermia as you wait for help.
First aid kit
Make sure the kit has all the essentials including scissors, flashlight, and sunblock. Besides a first aid kit, stock up plenty of drinking water because people need water to live even in the absence of food.
Before leaving the dock, it’s important to have a general direction and route plan and ensure somebody else on shore knows about it as well as your timeline. It can take a lot of time to find a boat in open sea when you don’t know where to start.
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