Must-have boating accessories

Safety all the way - Must-have boating accessories

November 2023

If there’s one thing you don’t scrimp on as a boat owner, it’s anything safety-related.

Safety accessories rule supreme on the “must-have” list, as keeping Kiwis safe out on the water is paramount. Along with regular checks and maintenance of your boat’s onboard equipment, it’s smart to ensure all your accessories are in optimal working order and nothing is missing. What does this sort of check look like? Check expiry dates on flares and fire extinguishers and replace or service them if they’re out of date. Also check batteries on portable equipment such as torches, radios and your GPS. Test your distress beacon - and ensure it is registered (of course the battery needs to be up to date too.) Beyond that, stop and analyse where your safety equipment is stored. Can it be easily accessed in an emergency or after a capsize and do your regular passengers know where it is kept?

If this messaging is inspiring you to think twice about how highly you rate your boat’s safety equipment then here’s a checklist of essentials compiled by Boating & Outdoors. This reputable source says the safety gear you must have onboard comprises of:

  • PLB’s/Epirbs emergency beacons - if you need rescue services to find you then these are helpful
  • Life jackets - ensure they are in good condition and fit for purpose
  • VHF Radios - a mobile phone can’t achieve what one of these can
  • Flares - ensure you keep these in a dry place
  • Safety grab bag - enabling you to keep your safety gear in one place, in case you need to abandon ship
  • Rescue throw rope - Boating & Outdoors suggests a 25mtr flat-braided, reflective rope with an inbuilt float in bag
  • Compass - Plan B if your chartplotter fails
  • First aid kit
  • Torches & headlamps - why not just a torch? Headlamps help to keep your hands free so you can react properly if something happens at night
  • Fire extinguisher.

And of course, while we’re thinking of protecting ourselves…when heading out on a boating adventure, don’t forget to include sunscreen, plenty of water, and proper clothing for the elements.