Offshore fishing safety equipment every recreational boater needs

By Alycia Downs

Jun 19, 2019

Top offshore fishing safety equipment for recreational vessels. From a VHF radio to a ditch bag, learn what safety equipment to pack before you venture offshore.

Safety on the water is a foundational tenet of boating and fishing. For saltwater anglers who venture offshore, the need for offshore fishing safety equipment increases exponentially as this style of fishing involves various risks and requirements. It’s critical to outfit your vessel with proper offshore fishing safety equipment so that you are prepared in the event of an emergency. Here’s a list of critical offshore fishing safety gear to help you get started.

1. U.S. Coast Guard required Safety Items

As a boat operator, you are responsible for ensuring your recreational vessel carries the required boat safety items such as personal flotation devices, a fire extinguisher, and signaling devices.

2. VHF Marine Radio

It’s likely that your cell phone won’t have service offshore and a VHF radio might be your only way to call for help. Install one on your vessel and learn to use it properly.

3. Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB)

An EPIRB is a device used to alert search and rescue services by transmitting a distress frequency signal via satellite. Be sure to register your device prior to use.

4. Ditch bag

A ditch bag is a compact, buoyant bag that is stocked with critical offshore fishing safety equipment (including some of the items on this list!) that you might need in an emergency. Learn what to pack in your ditch bag.

5. First Aid Kit

Include basic first aid supplies such as bandages, aspirin, alcohol wipes, gauze, ointment, etc. Maintain the kit by checking expiration dates and replacing supplies as needed.

6. Protection from the elements

Pack offshore fishing safety gear that would protect you against nature’s elements for a prolonged period. Sunscreen, hat, rain gear, sunglasses, chapstick, blanket, etc.

7. Extra Dock Lines

Dock lines can serve many purposes in an emergency such as towing a vessel, tying off to an object, or setting your anchor. Stow extras onboard or in your ditch bag.

Offshore fishing is a rewarding adventure. Prepare accordingly so you can relax and enjoy the experience!

Alycia Downs
Alycia Downs
Alycia Downs is a freelance content creator and avid sportsman who contributes to numerous publications promoting tourism, fishing, and outdoors. Alycia is a member of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association and is actively involved with conservation and fishing non-profit organizations. Visit her personal blog at or on Instagram @tideandtale.