5 Required Items to Bring When Boat Sailing – What to Know

Marine & Watersports

Boat sailing is fun and enjoyable. Whether you are out on the water for fishing, water skiing, or merely sailing, a boat trip is a great outdoor activity. Nevertheless, safety will always be a top priority, even when it comes to boat sailing.

Know that there are pieces of safety equipment that are required for any boat endeavors so that meet state and federal regulations and pass any warden inspections. For legal compliance and utmost safety, below are five items to have when boat-sailing:

1. Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)

As per the federal law, a vessel must have one life vest or PFD per patron on board at all times, regardless of boat length. For boats of 16 feet or longer, however, the law requires that they carry one throwable flotation device. There is a wide range of PFDs labeled Type I to Type V. All these types are allowed under federal law.

2. Visual Distress Signal

A visual distress signal is a device that is designed to show that your boat is in distress, and it allows others to locate you. There is a wide range of signaling devices that can meet the requirements of the regulation. These signaling devices include red meteor, parachute or handheld boat flares, orange handheld or floating smoke signals, orange distress flags, and electric distress lights. Generally, visual distress signals are only used in emergency situations.

3. Sound-Producing Device

As per the federal regulation, any boat that is 40 feet or shorter must have some means of creating a sound signal. This signal should be audible for one-half of a mile for four to six seconds long. A few examples of these devices include an athletic whistle or a handheld horn. Keep in mind, however, that the human voice is not enough to suffice this requirement.

4. Fire Extinguisher

The federal regulation also requires any boat or vessel to have a fire extinguisher onboard. This is all the more necessary if your boat is powered by a motor. Should there be an emergency, a fire extinguisher can significantly help in stopping the fire onboard.

5. Boat Safety Kit

The required boat safety equipment listed above can give you a legal level of security. However, there are additional resources that can make all the difference in your safety. Consider the following:

Bring a VHF Marine Radio, a GPS unit, and Personal Locator Beacon for navigation and communication purposes.
Prepare a tool kit with extra spark plugs, fuses, bulbs, and other small engine components in the event of any mechanical problems.
Have additional recommended items, such as an anchor, extra gas can, additional lines for towing, and more.
Keep a first-aid kit, along with a compass, extra clothes, and food and water supplies.


Boat-sailing is indeed a fun experience. Nevertheless, your safety and of anyone on board is all the more crucial. Make sure to have the five items mentioned above — PFDs, visual distress signal, sound-producing device, fire extinguisher, and boat safety kit.

Securing all these items is not only for compliance purposes, but it also ensures the safety of the patrons on board. If you need marine and water sports items and equipment, browse through our site and place your order today. We have plenty of items and supplies that will suffice the requirements of the law so that you’ll have a fun time sailing!