Whether some people like to acknowledge it or not, boating is just as dangerous as driving a car. There are several precautions to take to prevent fatalities and many supplies to have with you in a case of emergency. The fatality rate for boating-related accidents is down from 2010 and we want to keep it that way!
If you are the victim of a boating accident, there are many pieces of equipment that you will need. Here is a list of items that you should always carry on your boat:
- First aid kit - This is very important for small emergencies as well as big ones. For example, if your young child falls down and skins his knees on the boat you will need some bandaids.
- Personal flotation devices - The U.S. Coast Guard and Washington State law requires you to have an approved personal flotation device for EACH passenger on board.
- Signaling devices - This includes a sound make, horn or whistle, distress flag, and flag. What if you get stuck and no one is around? Do not be too confident.
- Fire extinguisher - This is required by law. In case of a serious accident or emergency, you will need a fire extinguisher if flames are involved. This is crucial.
- Boat anchor - Every boat needs an adequate anchor. This generally comes with the purchase of a boat.
- Tow ropes and dock lines - It is very important to have an extra tow rope in your boat (which takes up very minimal space). This will be very handy if you or another boater is stranded. This are also helpful if you are trying to float along with another boat.
- Marine VHF radio and cell phone - Keep a WHF radio on your boat at all times and also bring your cell phone. There are several different devices for cell phones that are meant for boating that keep them dry, such as little pouches. You will still be able to function on your phone while they are on, therefore they are not a hassle. Check local sport recreation stores.