The Recreational Boater’s Safety Checklist

Recreational boating activities are no doubt fun, and somewhat of a rarer experience to most – especially when compared with other types of recreational activities. It may be a simple cruise in the sea, or a lake, or even activities such as canoeing, kayaking and the like. Either way, these activities come together with an important factor that renders them more prone to accidents and risks than your usual everyday recreational activities – the fact that they take place in water bodies. As such, a number of safety precautions have to be followed when engaging in boating or similar activities; most states have included regulations on equipment that must be taken when civilians engage in boating activities. While these vary from state to state (and therefore, you should double-check with your state’s regulations before setting out in your boat), the below are the essentials in any recreational boater’s checklist:

1. PFD life jackets – life jackets are the first and foremost equipment required in any water-related activity that takes place at sea or in a lake. The general rule is that each passenger wears one life jacket, and that two more extra jackets are within the boat.

2. Sound producing devices – devices capable of producing a sound audible for at least one nautical mile (and for at least four continuous seconds), such as a horn, are another essential; besides this, each life jacket should also be equipped with an individual whistle or a similar sound producing device.

3. An EPIRB – an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) is basically a transmitter that relays your location to any relevant authorities during an emergency. These transmitters are registered to your vessel and depending on whether they are relying on GPS or not, are capable of identifying your location within a variable radius (with over hundred metres if they rely on GPS) during an emergency. EPIRB for sale are available at any boat-related specialized store, but you will have to separately register your beacon with the relevant authority. Check this website if you are looking for right EPIRB for sale. 

4. Distress signal equipment – besides an EPIRB, you will also need separate distress signal equipment to be used by the passengers. These include PLBs – basically EPIRBs which are registered to a person rather than a vessel – flares, signals, etc.

5. Fire extinguishers – unless your vessel is less than 26 ft. in length, government regulations also require vessels to carry at least two fire extinguishers on board.

6. Lights and Day shapes – proper lighting equipment, and day shapes, which are used to declare the status of your vessel and prevent collisions at sea with other vessels are also another essential.

7. Documents – last but not least, make sure to take with you all the required documents related to your vessel – such as registration documents and your license!