Owning a boat is a dream for most people. It conveys a certain level of ease and plenty that not many other possessions do. However, there is also a lot of responsibility to owning a boat, and that includes safety precautions.
Many people who don’t own boats or who aren’t familiar with them can treat being onboard a boat like it’s a party with no rules. However, those familiar with boating know well how quickly things can go wrong.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invite your non-boating friends out with you. After all, isn’t that half the fun of going boating? Instead, look to educate your friends on basic boat safety and procedures and make sure you have a properly stocked onboard emergency kit that contains the following must-haves.
5 items you need in your onboard emergency kit
A large first aid kit
If an accident happens out on the water, you could be a way out from help so a well-stocked first aid kit could literally be the difference between life and death. Having a well-stocked first aid kit will help you be prepared for accidents that could happen, such as slips and falls, or more serious incidents. If you are with someone who has a heart attack in the water and you need to get them to safety and administer emergency first aid, you are going to need to look into using an AED on a submerged victim and how you can best administer that in this situation.
Water, water everywhere…but things can still catch fire. Boats are full of flammable material and you will be in a heap of trouble if a fire starts out on the water and you don’t have the means to contain it.
Make sure your onboard fire extinguisher is regularly inspected and charged and keep it in an easy-to-reach location.
While we could arguably include this in the first aid kit section, we feel it deserves it’s own mention. Most first aid kits do not include a tourniquet leash and we could consider it a specialty item, but if you’re out on the water a lot; we recommend you buy a tourniquet leash.
A tourniquet leash is an adjustable tourniquet to be used for serious injuries to the arms or legs. It stops the flow of blood to the extremity and can save a life in the case of a serious accident. We highly recommend that at least one be kept on board the boat and that anyone going out on surfboards or Sea-Doo carry one as well.
Flashlight with extra batteries
If you lose power on your boat and need to go investigate, you will need a good quality flashlight on hand. We encourage you to invest in a marine flashlight that can handle some moisture and which will be able to protect your batteries from corrosion.
If someone falls overboard or experiences an injury, you will need to keep them warm and calm. Shock blankets are a great way to do this and work much better than towels or traditional blankets, since they hold in heat and provide psychological comfort. You should have enough blankets onboard for each passenger and keep them in a safe spot, away from the edge of the boat so they don’t risk falling overboard.