Items You Need In Your Boat To Ensure A Safe Trip
What safety equipment do you need to take on your boating trip? Whether you are planning to hit the open waters of a choppy sea or the enclosed waters of a serene lake, it’s important that you have a clear idea about the safety equipment you need.
A boat ride through the Australian waters can be a nice and pleasant experience or an excellent adventure. But it will only be so if you take the right safety items on board. Make sure you have everything handy before you ride out your boat.
Safety Essentials for All Boaters
Lifejacket – Find out the type suitable for your trip; lifejacket type 1 is right for open waters while type 2 and 3 may also be correct for confined water bodies. Make sure it is in good condition, is serviced on time, and is in an accessible place.
Anchor and line or chain – Choose an anchor size that suits your vessel and a type that suits the sea bed in the area you plan to ride your boat to. Plow anchors are good for rocky sea beds. A combination of nylon line and chain works well as anchor rode.
Bucket or Bilge pump – Keep a rubber, plastic or metal bucket handy. It will let you fight a fire and bail out water too. A bilge pump, protected by a strainer, is necessary for all watercrafts with covered bilges.
Fire extinguisher – What kind of fuel do you use for your boat? Make sure the extinguisher you keep can put it out. Also, if you don’t have a bailer on board, keep a fire bucket within reach.
Paddle or oars – If your boat isn’t 6m long, you need to keep these in it. But you can let go if there’s a second means of propulsion fitted to your vessel. If yours is a large cruiser, you had better get some auxiliary power source.
Sound signal – It’s essential to be able to give out a signal at times. For this purpose, keep a whistle, bell, or horn handy. It will notify others of your presence, especially when weather conditions hamper visibility.
Safety label – Get yours from the Roads and Maritime Services centre near you and display it somewhere visible to all on board. It shows the capacity of the powered watercraft and offers tit-bits of safety information.
Waterproof torch – Opt for a floating one. It will be useful for various tasks; use it to signal, or to work on the engine or as a navigational aid. Also, remember to carry extra batteries and bulbs.
Safety Equipment for the Open Waters
Map or chart and Compass – Don’t depend on GPS and satellite navigation equipment alone. Paper maps and charts and a marine compass may seem outdated, but they can save you if the advanced aids fail due to some reason.
EPIRB – If you are more than 2 nautical miles from the shore or in a remote or risky area, you need a 406 MHz Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon registered with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority for alerting and locating purposes.
Distress signal – When you are in trouble, and you can see rescuers nearby, you need to ignite an appropriate flare (red hand flares are for day and night use while orange smoke flares are for day use only) to notify them about your location.
Remember, don’t ignite a flare without a reason; you may have to face a penalty for it.
V sheet – An orange-red coloured sheet with a big black ‘V’ is one item you cannot do without when you go out with your boat in the open ocean. Lay it on the deck or fly it to signal that you are in trouble.
Marine radio – Stay in touch with the shore stations, give them your itinerary, check weather forecasts and navigational warnings, and relay distress calls with this practical means of communications.
Choose the right one with advice from the Australian Communication & Media Authority.
Potable water – You never know when you feel thirsty. And you cannot drink the saline waters of the ocean. Make sure you have 2 l of water for each person on board. It will come in handy especially if your trip stretches for some unforeseen reason.
Kits Necessary for Every Boat
First aid kit – Put together a kit complete with the basic first aid supplies for little emergencies. You can also get a readymade kit from the nearest drugstore. Make sure it suits your vessel’s requirements.
Tool kit – Another important item you must not miss to put together. Get a spanner, pliers, spark plugs, insulation tape, screwdrivers, electrical wire, and such items as you may need on board.
And don’t forget to carry your licence. The one you get after you complete the NSW boat licence course. You may face a penalty if you fail to produce it if asked by the authorities.
Photo via Getty Images [Photographer: Shioguchi]
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