Water activities, like boating, are good ways to spend some time with yourself or with your loved ones. Whether you’re looking for an adventure—or just want to get away from the daily drone—spending some time in the sea should help get rid of any stress or boredom that had been bringing you down for a while.
That being said, spending time in the sea warrants a few preparations. Here are five essential items that should be with you anytime you go out to the open sea on your boat.
Whether you own or are renting the boat that you’re using, you should make sure that you have the appropriate safety gear, as mandated by the U.S. Coast Guard. The exact requirements vary by the size of the boat. However, you should have at least the following items:
- Life Jackets – The number of life jackets in your vessel should be equal to its carrying capacity or at least the number of people on board, including yourself. The Coast Guard recommends a wearable personal flotation device (Type I, II, or III).
- Throwable Flotation Devices – Aside from life jackets, your boat must come equipped with throwable flotation devices that you can use to rescue someone in case anyone gets thrown overboard. This will also enable you to rescue any person you encounter that needs help.
- Fire Extinguishers – Boats under 26 feet need at least one B-1 type extinguisher, while vessels that reach 26—but not more than 40—feet need two B-1 types or one B-2 type unit. Before sailing, make sure that each one of you in the boat understands how to operate the fire extinguishers.
- Visual and Sound-Signaling Devices – Both kinds of devices are useful for communicating distress in varying conditions. Visual signals, like flares, are useful at night, while sound-signaling devices, like fixed horns, are useful when visibility is low.
Food and Water
On any day at sea, you should bring enough sustenance to last your entire journey. Usually, fresh food and water are always good to have, whether you’re on land or on sea.
However, just for emergencies, bringing some “Meal, Ready To Eats,” like Rothco MRE, are a good idea. MREs last for a long time and will provide you with the needed energy and nutrition if the unthinkable happens.
A Small Knife
Random things—like ropes, seaweed, or even discarded fishing lines—float on water and get stuck on propellers all the time. This often causes your boat to stop moving! Having a knife with you will enable you to cut your propellers free, allowing you to proceed with your journey without having to call for a rescue.
Chargers and Extra Batteries for Your Electronics
Besides providing entertainment, your electronic devices are also your best chance of calling for help in case of emergencies at sea. Make sure to have a few extra batteries with you that you will only use for emergencies. Should you need to charge your devices, but aren’t in an emergency, use regular charging cables and your personal power banks while on the boat.
Most states require you to bring identifying documents when you enter their territories to prove that you are not entering the country’s waters illegally. The requirements can differ from state to state, but it’s always good to bring your boat registration, boater education card, and other IDs, such as your driver’s license, to verify your identity.
A little preparation comes a long way, especially when it comes to spending any length of time at sea. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a first-time boater, having these items with you at all times will allow you to be prepared for any contingency that may come.
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