Being out on the open water is surreal. The smell of the salty sea, the warm sun beating down on the deck, seagulls singing you a tune, how can it get any better? The ocean has a mind of its own sometimes and you need to be prepared for anything. Having proper boat insurance along with this short list of items will ensure you are ready to set sail!
Life Jackets: Under federal law you are required to carry at least 1 life jacket per person on your vessel. These life jackets must be approved and safety rated by the U.S. Coast Guard. Life jackets must be placed where they are easily and quickly accessible. Adults are required to wear life jackets any time they are jet skiing, water skiing, tubing, operating any personal watercraft, or being towed behind a boat. Children must wear a life jacket at ALL times!
Distress Flag: You should always have the universal SOS flag onboard. This is an orange flag with a dot above a line. You can raise this flag anytime you are lost or in trouble during daylight hours.
Fire Extinguisher: You may think since you are on the water you would be safe from a fire. This is not the case. Every boat is required to have at least 1 Coast Guard approved fire extinguisher on board, some larger vessels may be required to have more. Fires can happen at any time and you will want to be prepared!
First Aid Kit: You have them at home. You have them in your car. You need to have them on your boat! Your first aid kit on your boat should always contain sunscreen, remedies for seasickness, and remedies for jelly fish stings.
Extra Fuel and Water: You never know what will happen when you’re out on the water. What if you forgot to fill the fuel tank last time you were at the dock? What if you have a mechanical failure and are stranded for a few days? You will want to ensure you always carry extra fuel and enough water for everyone on board to prepare for these situations!
This is just a short list of items you should always have on your boat. Please check with state and federal laws to ensure you have everything you need before heading out on the water. If you would like to be 100% sure, the U.S. Coast Guard provides free boat safety checks