What safety equipment do I need?
Required safety equipment
Wherever you operate your boat you will be required to carry certain items of safety equipment. These include:
- Bilge pumps
- Distress flares
- Electronic position indicating radio beacons (EPIRBs)
- Fire extinguishers
- Personal locator beacons (PLBs)
The exact quantity and type of equipment required will depend on how far offshore you travel, and what kind of vessel you are operating.
For more information, please refer to the 'Required safety equipment (matrix)' below. We also recommend that you use the BEST boat check to ensure you don't leave home without essential equipment.
You can further increase your safety on the water by having the recommended additional safety equipment in the checklist below.
Please download, print, laminate and display the checklists on your vessel.
|BEST boat check (Brochure)||Kb|
|Required safety equipment (Matrix)||Kb|
|Recommended additional safety equipment||Kb|
How and when to use it
As skipper, you should make sure that:
- Everyone knows how to use the safety equipment. Have everybody practice putting on lifejackets in good conditions so they are familiar with how to put them on and how they feel.
- You are familiar with the instructions for use of distress beacons, inflatable lifejackets, distress flares and the fire fighting equipment. You may not have time for a crash course in an emergency.
Lifejackets take time to put on, so do not hesitate to wear them in deteriorating weather.
Your radio lets you pass on varying degrees of urgency to a sea rescue group, so do not wait for full-blooded distress before calling for help.
Maintenance and storage
All safety equipment must be maintained in very good condition and be accessible at all times.
As skipper, you must brief everyone on the vessel about where the equipment is kept. It should be stowed where it is easily reached and preferably visible.
Keep the following points in mind every time you load and stow your equipment aboard:
- Lifejackets need to be accessible and ready for use, not locked away in a cupboard or under bunks.
- Distress flares need to be kept dry and accessible (use a waterproof container that will float).
- Distress beacons should be positioned in the cockpit or near the helm where it can be reached quickly in an emergency.