What items do I need on my boat?

Hello, I’m Keith the boating guy.

One common question I get is what items are generally needed on your boat?

Now lets start by talking about the federally required items. The first and most important thing is you need to have a life jacket for each and every person on the boat. The life jacket needs to be properly fitted, and it needs to be easily accessible, so it doesn’t count when they’re locked away down below.

The Coast Guard also requires that all boats larger than 16 feet have one throwable life saving device. For example, one of those floating cushions or a round ring you can throw to someone if they are overboard.

You will need to have a bell or a whistle. Also, newer boats have horns and that works for a sounding device. If you’re boating on the Great Lakes, coastal waters or the high seas, you’ll need a visual distress signal. This is something like a flare gun or a hand held flare.

Now any boat over 26 feet, some of those under 26 feet, and boats who have engines have to have a fire extinguisher. Now states may have different laws and regulations, so I highly recommend you check with your states regulations and find out what the laws are in your area.

Now that we know what’s required by the federal government, let’s talk about other things you may find very useful on your boat. For example, a compass or other navigational tool, such as GPS or even a handheld VHF radio.

You’ll also want maybe a flash light; make sure those batteries are nice and fresh.

Food, water, and extra fuel. You never want to run out of fuel if you are in the middle of the lake or somewhere else.

Also if you have a small boat or even a mid-sized boat, a paddle is a good idea, so that if you ever get in trouble, you can make your way over to the shore.

Well that’s what you need on the water. Good luck and safe boating. I’ll see you out there!

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