The Abc’s Of Boating Equipment
Boating is a great sport that can be enjoyed all year round in most parts of the country. Taking the boat out on the lake, a river or into the ocean is one of America’s favorite pastimes, full of fun and adventure. However, boating is serious business and any boater will tell you that you need adequate boating equipment to make sure that your outings are as safe as possible, for you and your passengers.
Everyone knows that there are a few essentials of boating equipment, like life preservers and other personal flotation devices. But did you know that there’s so much more that should be stowed on every boat? Let’s start with the basics.
The law requires that any passenger under the age of 12 must wear a personal flotation device while on an open boat deck of any kind. When it comes to purchasing personal flotation devices of any kind for your boat, there are several things to consider.
First, everyone on board must have a flotation device, child or adult, and those devices must be within easy reach. These flotation devices must be approved by the Coast Guard and bear their seal of approval. Lastly, these flotation devices must be in good condition.
Other kinds of essential boating equipment consist of a throw-able flotation device such as a floating donut or some buoyant item that can be used to keep a person afloat for an unlimited amount of time. Every boat longer than sixteen feet in length must have one of these on board or face fines. Ski belts don’t count.
Some flotation devices are designed to turn an unconscious person around in the water so that they are face up instead of face down, and are also effective for all types of water. Some flotation devices protect the wearer from hypothermia, while others are meant for sporting activities like skiing, sailing and fishing.
Another valuable piece of boating equipment is a fire extinguisher. While many don’t think such would be necessary, with so much water around, engine fires require a certain type of extinguisher while cushions or interior cabin materials might require another. Boats more than twenty-six feet long are required to have at least one fire extinguisher on board.
There are additional requirements for the installation of fire extinguishers on board, so check with state boating regulations to determine what those are before taking your boat out on the water. Another boating equipment must for boats with inboard mounted gasoline engines is a flame arrester that is fitted onto the carburetor for backfire flame control.
Again, check your state boating laws to determine whether your boat needs such an adjustment if it doesn’t already come with one. Also keep in mind that boats with gasoline engine compartments must also be properly ventilated.
A sound device is also a necessary piece of boating equipment, most especially for boats that are over thirty-nine feet in length. Some sort of distress signal flare gun is also a good piece of boating equipment to have on hand, as is a first aid box and extra bedding and blankets in case of emergency. Boating is great fun, but can be dangerous if you don’t plan properly and carry the right kind of boating equipment that ensures the safety of both yourself and your crew or passengers.