10 Safety Items Every Boater Should Have

As fun as boating is, when problems arise on the water, things can get really bad, really fast. That’s why it’s important to be prepared by having appropriate safety gear on your boat. Here are 10 items every boater should have on his or her boat.

  1. PFDs – According to the Coast Guard, 80 percent of boating fatalities could be prevented by people wearing personal floatation devices. Make sure everyone onboard has PFDs that fit correctly, and have throwable floatation devices readily available.
  2. Fire extinguisher – This is a requirement for any boat with gas or diesel. Regularly check to make sure your extinguisher hasn’t passed its expiration date and that it is in good working order.
  3. First aid kit – If you have an injury on the water, immediate medical help might not be available. You should be prepared to treat yourself or a passenger.
  4. Signaling devices – Boaters should have both sound and visual signaling devices onboard, such as air horns, flares and whistles.
  5. Waterproof flashlight – You should have multiple waterproof lights onboard for problems at night or for poorly lit areas of your boat.
  6. Tool kit – When your boat has mechanical problems, having a decent tool kit onboard comes in handy. It’s a good idea to have some spare parts in there, including fuses.
  7. Communication devices – It’s important to have a way to contact help. Make sure you have a VHF radio and a cell phone.
  8. Tow line – If you breakdown, having a tow line onboard can mean getting fast help from a friend or passing boat rather than waiting what may be a long time for a professional tow.
  9. Bailer – Leaks happen. So be prepared to get rid of any water by having a bailer onboard.
  10. Extra food and water – If you ever get stuck on the water, you may end up waiting awhile for help. It’s a good idea to have some extra food and water stashed away for just such an occasion.