11 must-have items for your
boat safety kit

Whether you are a Captain of old or studying for your RYA Comp Crew, before you set sail it is important that you have the right safety kit on (or below) deck to ensure you don’t get left high and dry.  These 11 must have items will help keep you and your crew protected at all times.

1. Life jackets

The number one piece of boat safety equipment is a personal floatation device. It’s imperative that each voyager (including all little sailors) has their own life jacket, and that they fit snugly.  It is also worth carrying extra life jackets and spare parts in case any malfunction – or if someone falls overboard.

2. Life raft

If heading further afield, look into one of these as an option in case it gets really hairy. These can be kept in easily accessible places so that you can ‘step up’ into them in times of crisis. This is a ‘last resort’ option when all else has failed.

3. First aid kit

Having a first aid kit onboard is essential as accidents do happen when boating  – on and off the water. The kit should contain bandages, gauze pads, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, scissors – and don’t forget to include sunscreen to avoid the unfashionable lobster look!

4. Fire extinguisher

Don’t be caught out – fires can start quickly on boats so having a fire extinguisher on board is very important to tackle any blazes, if safe enough to do so.

5. Torch & batteries

To ensure plain sailing, even during the night hours or in bad weather conditions, carry torches and spare batteries.

6. VHF radio or mobile phone (or both)

In case of an SOS, be sure these devices are charged ahead of time and kept close by.

7. Personal locater beacon (PLB)

Your new best mate is a PLB, these nifty little gadgets communicate with satellites and can send out a mayday call when you are in choppy waters. Choose one with a built-in GPS and help the search and rescue brigade locate you with ease.

8. Whistle

Not just a toy, a whistle can be a very useful tool for signalling distress! Whistles or other noise making devices which emit loud sounds over long distances amidst rough waters or strong winds can be a life saver – just make sure the children give them a wide berth.

9. Spare parts & tools

Keep ship shape and bring along some basic spare parts like oil filters, spark plugs etc along with necessary tools like wrenches and screwdrivers to ensure you can fit them. A multi-tool is always a good idea, particularly combined with a sharp knife for when drastic action is the only option!

10. Emergency food supplies

Don’t just bring the picnic – stock up on non-perishable food items (such as energy bars, nuts, dried fruits etc.) and drinking water to tide you over in case you need rescuing.

11. Grab bag

Store important documents and necessary survival items required if abandoning your boat in one easy to access dry bag, so that you aren’t hunting around in draws and lockers if the unthinkable happens.


So run a tight ship and take the time to pack up all these boat safety essentials beforehand to keep you on an even keel in case of emergency.  Fair winds and following seas!

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