The sun is shining. The drinks are packed. It’s the perfect day to get out on the water.
When you fire up your boat’s engine, the possibility of an emergency is probably the last thing on your mind. In reality, though, there are over 5,200 boating accidents every year in the U.S., resulting in nearly 3,200 injuries.
Is your boat safety kit ready for any emergency situation? Keep reading as we outline the essential items you need for boating safety.
Boat First Aid Kit
Regardless of the size of your boat or how far you travel, a boat first aid kit is essential. Make sure yours includes the following items:
- Antiseptic cream or ointment
- OTC pain relievers
- Emergency blankets
- Insect sting treatment
- Anti-nausea medication
- Spare prescription medications
Once you have your kit together, don’t just “set it and forget it.” Review the contents of your first aid kit regularly and discard (and replace) anything that’s expired.
Boater Safety Gear
Another cost of owning a boat (which you can learn about right here) is stocking it with safety gear. This should include:
- Fire extinguishers
- Small tool kit
- Non-perishable food
- Extra drinking water
- Manual bilge pump
- Waterproof matches
- Ponchos or raincoats
- A warm coat or jacket
- A dry change of clothes
- A sharp knife
- Portable fuel tanks
- Extra batteries
- Waterproof flashlights
You may need additional items depending on the climate — for example, a heat-reflecting blanket or electrolytes.
Boating Survival Gear
Hopefully, everyone who steps aboard your boat is a confident, strong swimmer. Still, anything can happen, especially if there’s severe weather or someone gets injured while they’re in the water.
Make sure you have enough lifejackets for everybody on board — and in suitable sizes (i.e., for children). You’ll also need a throwable flotation device, such as a lifebuoy securely attached to a line.
Most boats have built-in GPS trackers and radar systems to help you establish your location.
But what happens if your GPS malfunctions or stops working? What would you do if you lost sight of the shore, couldn’t track where you were, or got turned around in a storm?
Make sure you always have an old-fashioned magnetic compass, a ruler, and charts to manually keep track of your location. You may also want to carry some Emergency Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) onboard. Once activated, these send out distress signals others can use to track you via GPS.
In an emergency, you may have to signal a passing vessel or even the Coast Guard for assistance. You’ll want a variety of visual and sound distress signals, including:
- Light flares
- Smoke flares
- Waterproof flashlight
- Bright flags
- Air horn
Don’t rely only on the horn and bell attached to your boat. You’ll want to have portable, waterproof signaling devices in case you need to enter the water.
Organize Your Boat Safety Kit Today
Boating safety is nothing to take lightly. Prepare your boat safety kit today so you can relax when you’re out on the water, knowing you have everything you need to stay safe.
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