Prepare Wisely – Boating Safety

The busy summer boating season will soon be upon us: it’s time to take off the canvas cover, tune up the engine, polish up the chrome and get the trailer out of storage. Millions of Americans enjoy taking to both fresh and salt water each and every year; and with all those boating and yachting enthusiasts come a considerable number of emergencies. Whether you own a 15 foot motorboat or a multi-million dollar yacht, there are some safety equipment items that are essential to common-sense, safe boating. Don’t become a statistic: here is a list and description of basic boating safety equipment that every pleasure boat should have on board at all times.
Life jackets
Although many boaters rely solely on Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs) for help in case of accident, high quality life jackets will usually provide a much higher degree of floatation, especially for non-swimmers. Make sure all small children and non-swimmers are wearing life jackets before you even leave the dock: especially on small speed boats; you need to keep more than enough life jackets for each of your passengers in an easy-access storage area where they can be immediately on hand if needed to ensure safety at sea.Portable fire extinguishers
Fire can happen in an engine or it can occur as the result of electronic malfunction. Never assume that just because you are surrounded by water that you will not need a fire extinguisher. Always keep a portable one handy, and know how to use it if needed.

Bailers and manual water pumps
If your boat begins taking in water, you may not be able to get the emergency help you need before it’s too late.  Make sure you keep bailers and manual water pumps aboard your boat to help your craft stay afloat until professional assistance arrives. This type of yachting technology is essential.

Distress flares
Flares can easily be seen in all kinds of weather and whether it is day or night. They serve to signal other crafts that you are a boat and crew in distress, and are universally recognized as such. Only buy flares that are specifically designed for marine use, and remember that they expire after about four years and will need to be replaced periodically. A,B,C, and D flares are all appropriate, and should be kept in watertight containers.