Equipment Needs For Boating Safety

Before you embark on a trip on the water with your new boat, you will want to take a boating safety course as well as have your boat inspected for the mandatory and suggested safety equipment by the coast guard. There are five areas typically inspected as part of a visual safety inspection, designed to ensure the boater's safety.

Personal floatation devices, commonly referred to as a life jacket, should be available for every member of the boating party and should be the right size for each. They should also be in good condition with all straps and snaps in place. It also helps if people fit them to their body, even when not wearing them, so they do not have to make adjustments in the case of an emergency. In some states as part of boating safety, there are minimum ages, which are mandated to wear a personal floatation device.

There should be a recently inspected fire extinguisher on board and as a large part of boating safety should be readily accessible and its location clearly marked so everyone on the boat can find it if it is needed. Fire extinguishers should not be Type A, which is designed to be used on wood or paper fires only. For use on a boat, Type B or Type C should be available for use on oil, grease and gas fires, or on electrical fires.

Sanitation Part Of Boating Safety

Many states require boats over a certain size to have marine sanitation devices available as part of boating safety, as well as for health purposes. They must be Coast Guard approved or have a United Laboratories of a number from the Society of Automotive Engineers to be acceptable on a boat.

Visual distress signals are also required in most states to be able to mark your location in case of an emergency. Most commonly called flare guns, they will fire a bright light into the sky to alert rescuers of your location. These need to accessible in case of emergency, but out of the reach of children as they can be very dangerous in the wrong hands.

Boats with gasoline engines need proper ventilation for boating safety, specifically if the boat is equipped with an inboard motor. Proper ventilation is required to eliminate the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning as well as fumes building up in an enclosed compartment, which could be an explosion hazard.