Safety Equipment For Sailing and Boating

The safety equipment carried on a days outing depends largely on the type of vessel that is being used. Extra equipment is often required if the sailing or boating is for more than a day. Each country and sometimes individual states will have a list of equipment that is mandatory for the boat size and type. This equipment is usually required by law.

Life Jackets/Buoyancy Vests

There are numerous brands available in most countries of the world. If on a yacht, most sailors will have life jackets ready at hand, but will not wear them unless they are unable to swim or venturing far from land. If this is the case then one of the reputable inflatable life jackets would be the most comfortable, and allow free movement on the boat. With dinghy sailing, where immersion in the water can be immediate, one of the “sleeveless coat” styles of jackets, which does not require inflation, may be the most practical.

It is essential to contact the maritime authority in your country and state to enquire as to the legal requirements for safety equipment.

Mobile Phone and VHF Radio

This depends on the type of craft on which one is on. If it is dinghy sailing, they would need to be well protected in some type of waterproof container or one of the camera water proofing bags that are available at a camera store. If it is a yacht, then it is highly desirable to have both a mobile phone and VHF radio aboard for safety reasons. Mobile phones are very convenient. The VHF radio requires a special license in many countries, but it is not usually difficult to obtain. In the majority of countries there is usually a marine body that monitors these radios to provide a really great safety net.

Safety Harness/Lifeline

These are used to attach a person to a yacht. They are usually made from flat webbing with stainless steel attachment hooks. Some have two shackles which makes it possible for one to clip on to a new point before taking the original shackle off. This ensures that one is attached at all times.

The breaking strain and a testing inspection code will be sewn onto the webbing. One of the shackles will be to attach to the harness, the other to a strong point on the boat. Many yachts will have “u shaped” attachment points mounted in the most practical position along the deck. Some yachts have stainless or webbing lines set permanently along the decks. If so, it is not usually necessary to release a lifeline to move about the boat. All of this equipment can be purchased at reputable boating stores.

Maritime Equipment Requirements

It is essential to contact the maritime authority in your country and state to enquire as to the legal requirements for safety equipment. Some of these would be: two anchors, flares, two buckets with lanyards, an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, a “V” distress flag or banner, a heliograph (mirror) and two torches just to name a few.

The careful provision of safety equipment on boats may lead to the saving of human life. The list of mandatory equipment in each country and or state is usually required by law. Failure for the skipper or captain to comply with these requirements, leaves them open to legal action and subsequent penalties.