The weather is pleasant, and you are thinking about cruising with your family. It’s been months since you took the boat out for a leisure trip. You tell your spouse about your plan, and they are onboard too. You pack a cooler with drinks and some sandwiches and snacks for the trip while the kids are getting ready. There’s excitement in the air, and you can’t wait to grab the wheel once again.
While we don’t want to put a damper on your fun, have you packed your survival gear?
Yes, you are not going too far or long, but dozens of things can happen, such as your boat’s engine might not start, you hit a rock, causing the boat to fill water, etc. Why take the risk and get stranded on the water when a couple of items can help you get back home in an emergency?
Commercial boats are legally required to have safety supplies. The same doesn’t apply to personal boats. Before we get down to the list, here’s a little tip that will keep you prepared at all times:
Pack a Grab-Bag
A grab-back is a waterproof bag that contains only life essentials. These include:
- Important documents like ID, passport, and boating license
- Personal medication
- Sun cream and sunglasses
- Satellite telephone or handheld radio, and extra batteries
- Food items
Survival Gear Checklist
Survival at Sea Handbook
Get a survival manual to know what you need to do in emergencies. This booklet gives you step-by-step instructions on how to help passengers, organize a rescue, operate the lifeboat, and more. You’ll also learn navigation tips and first-aid procedures.
- Buoyant Oars: To move the boat manually if the engine fails.
- Engine tools: To make minor repairs and adjustments.
- Fire Extinguishers: To put out any oil-based fires.
- Buckets: To remove excess water.
- First Aid Kit: For treating minor injuries.
- Compass: To plan a rescue mission.
- Jack-Knife and Hatchets: Survival tools that help gut fish, cut rope and wood, etc.
- Sea-Anchor: Stabilize the lifeboat in case there’s a storm.
- Fishing Tackle: To do some fishing if you get stranded and run out of food you packed for the trip.
- Freshwater: At least 3 liters of water/person in portable containers that can fit on the lifeboat. (Optional: Desalinator)
- Thermal Protective Aids: For keeping passengers safe in hot and cold weather.
- Food Rations: Airtight packages that distribute meals equating to 10kJ/person.
- Whistle: To signal other vessels for rescue.
- Smoke Signals and Flares: For drawing the attention of rescue parties so that they can pinpoint your location.
- Portable Searchlight/Torch: For locating passengers that fell off the boat.
- Signaling Mirror: Allows you to communicate with other boats during daylight.
- Radar Reflector: Allows you to show your lifeboat as a target on another boat’s radar.
- Waterproof Torches: To signal in Morse code at night.
And there you have it — a complete checklist of all the essentials you might need in case you get into an accident while boating.
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