Being on a boat can be relaxing, fun, or even a thrill, but water deserves a tremendous amount of respect. A handy boat safety equipment kit along with confirming your boat safety checklist can help make sure you don’t have the wrong kind of excitement.
Boat safety kits vary by the size of the water craft and by the size of the body of water. If you are just learning how to boat make sure you are familiar with the boat safety kit requirements by each state. For example in Pennsylvania, even unpowered boats such as kayaks and canoes must carry a noise producing device. I always have a whistle in the bottom of my camera bag.
This brings up another good point. An essential part of a good boat safety kit is knowing where to find it immediately. It is okay if you have to dig around your tacklebox for a few minutes to find the right fishing lure, but in an emergency you need to know where your boat safety equipment kit is located.
The larger the body of water and boat class, the greater the content of your boat safety gear. Traveling longer distances could mean longer time for help to arrive. In addition to a whistle or similar noise maker, a list of standard boat safety equipment would include life jackets, navigation lights, and for powered vessels, a fire extinguisher. TakeMeFishing™ blogger Debbie Hanson just ordered a small, waterproof boat safety kit for her new boat that contains preparedness items such as a flashlight, extra batteries, a first aid kit, extra rope, a multi-tool, and a knife. Larger boat safety gear might include spare motor parts, a tool kit, a flare gun, and emergency thermal blankets.
When setting out for a boat trip, make sure to let someone know your plans. Paul Murray, a volunteer with the Parker, PA fire department, goes on calls to rescue boaters on the Allegheny River and area lakes. “If you don't return back to the launch and the family calls 911, we have to find you. We can't find you if we can't see you. Flashlights and/or flares have been very successful to finding people.” What else do you have in your boat safety kit?