As most boating on lakes is recreational, don't ever underestimate the importance of safety for yourself and your passengers. It is often too common that one tiny mistake makes for a fun planned day go wrong. So, let's all help each other and keep our waters, vessels, passengers and each other safe!
Top 10 Items To Have Onboard:
1. PFDs - always make absolutely certain you have at minimum the same number of PFDs (personal flotation device, i.e. life jacket) on board to equal that of souls and total passengers on board. Don't forget about yourself too! Also, make sure that your PFD ratings are qualified for the person's weight and certified level as required per your local laws and regulations.
2. First-Aid Kit - this is a very inexpensive item that many boaters fail to carry. Not because they're careless, but simply because many forget that a simple bandage or sting relief medication can change your day from ending or continuing. This, along with most of your preparedness items should be one of good quality with the additional accessories needed at any moment. Remember, you may be in a situation that doesn't allow EMS or other agencies to be in contact with you for upwards to an hour.
3. Air Horn - don't leave the dock without it! It's simple, it's effective if needed and you may save yourself and others by having this with you!
4. Boat Stick / Paddle - some boat sticks are only that, some come with a paddle attached. If you can get both, excellent! Now you have a boat stick that expands to assist a person in the water, yourself docking, or picking up prop-wash out of the waterway. And if it has a paddle too, then in the event you are without any power or propulsion, you now have a fighting chance to control your vessel.
5. Flare Gun - pretty darn simple ;) have a flare gun kit. Not to shoot at people, and not to be used as fireworks. But, to be used to signal emergency personnel or other boaters to head your way in the event of an emergency you are experiencing.
6. Whistle - a whistle can be crucial in certain situations. There will most likely never be a situation that you need it (in emergency), but having it is a great safety device. Your entire vessel can be without power along with no other warning devices. But, your whistle sound will travel far on water to signal other boaters. Up to and including a vessel or object underway in your path.
7. Fire Extinguishers - depending on the size of your vessel, you should have atleast two on board. One as a main, one as a back up and that same to be additional if needed. With the first two on board, you should have an additional extinguisher for every 10' after a BOA of 20'.
8. Throw-able Float - make sure you have a throwable float/cushion readily available for you or the next mate in charge. Should anyone go overboard, or you incur someone in need, this item may save a life!
9. Flashlight - most boaters go out during the day and don't worry about when the sun goes down. But, if you're ever in a scenario where you are in the dark, a flashlight can be the difference of fixing the problem and not. A freshly charged flashlight onboard your vessel should always be a priority. And, you'll feel very confident knowing you have that equipment on board.
10. Additional Anchor - an additional anchor is a great item to have for a few reasons. One, if you lose your primary to something catching it underwater, you have another one. And, it's great to put your main anchor out and place an aft anchor out to maintain your position should you want to be in that location for an extended period of time.
Happy boating, we love our customers and motor boating :)
Your Nice Aft Family