Before you even consider heading out to sea for your next big adventure, you should make sure you have all the required equipment onboard. Even though most of them are required by law, you can still save yourself from a lot of trouble if you and your boat are properly equipped. Here are the top 5 things ever boater should have before heading out to sea:
VHF Radio or Cell Phone
It goes without saying a boater must invest in a VHF radio. As costly as they may seem, you get the ability to communicate with other boats, marinas, commercial vessels and even the US Coast Guard. The benefits of a having a VHF radio are many. For starters, you can communicate with others to find out more about the weather, including current information about waterways and the tides. Since you have a huge variety of radios to choose from, it would be wise to have a decent one with features you can count on in your time of need.
In case you do not have the required money to buy a VHF radio, you should take your cell phone with you just in case. There are literally few places that are out of reach of radio towers, this means you can call anyone you want out at sea. Since their range is relatively greater than a radio, you will have little difficulties contacting the authorities in your time of need.
If you are worried about dropping your phone, you should get a waterproof lock box. These are offered by almost any boating/marine supplier. It may seem a bit weird, but you do take your phone with you around everywhere else, right? There’s no harm in taking advantage of the existing technology to enjoy your time out at the sea.
Extra Lines and Ropes
In case of an emergency, extra lines can come in incredibly handy. Having additional lines onboard can help you overcome various obstacles. It can be used to tie your boat if you are in distress, tow other damaged or disabled boats and replace existing lines if they give way. One of the best things about this is that it can be fun for kids too. You can teach them to tie knots and let them practice to keep them entertained. At the very least, you may need some extra ropes. These ropes can come in handy when you want to tie your boat to the dock. They have various other uses as well, as they can be used as tent lines or for towing emergencies as well.
It is one of the most important pieces of equipment on a boat. If anything does go wrong, it can be used to keep your boat from moving. In case you cannot find a place to dock, you can use it stop your boat from moving so you can swim to shore and relax on the beach. Of course, you cannot go out to sea without an anchor, as it is the most basic piece of safety equipment available to you.
Personal Flotation Device/Devices
Depending on the number of people accompanying you on the trip, you need to have enough lifejackets as it can make a huge difference in life and death situations. Apart from reducing the risk of water accidents, it ensures you feel safe throughout your trip out at sea. However, it is important for you to place them where they can be easily accessed at any given time. Additionally, avoid keeping things on them as it can take even more time to retrieve these lifejackets when you need them the most.
According to the law, your boat needs to have a personal flotation device for each person onboard. However, you are not required to wear it at all times but they are similar to how seatbelts function in a car. They do not help anyone unless you wear them. Many boaters make the terrible mistake of speeding across the waterway without wearing their lifejacket. If they seem a bit expensive, consider investing in type-3 devices which are relatively cheaper.
First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is perhaps one of the most important supplies you will need on your boat. It contains all the basic supplies, including tape, antiseptic and band-aids. You may never know when these things can come in handy. You could also buy a dock box for your boat in order to store items that require safekeeping. Being far away from home without access to medical aid is quite risky. There’s no harm in brushing up on basics of first aid in order to treat yourself or a fellow passenger in case of an accident.
Multi-tools are incredibly handy, you may never know when you need to cut a line or need to tighten a bolt. Instead of carrying a full set of tools, you can get the next best thing. These multi-tools have been designed to handle various jobs. They have the required tools you would need, including a knife, screwdriver, scissors, wire stripper and even a bottle opener.
Before you head out, double check you have all the required equipment in place. Many people take things for granted and you need to make sure you do not do the same about you and your passenger’s safety as well. The best thing about the essentials mentioned above is they do not take up much space on your boat.
Rest assured, your trip will be more enjoyable and safer as having the aforementioned things on board can save you from a lot of hassle later on. Rather than taking unnecessary risks, it would be wise to prepare yourself for any and all unforeseen circumstances beforehand. Being unprepared in a strange and new environment does not come without its own perils, having these things on hand can ensure you have a safe trip and rest easy without having to worry about what to do should there be an emergency.