Getting into sailing is exciting. You’ve just invested in a boat, you’ve got your first sailing outfit together, decked your boat out with a few cool knick knacks, took a few classes, and you’re ready to go. Right? Wrong.
Sailing is always a good time, and you should be focused on the positive, but there are some sailing equipment pieces you must have to ensure your own safety when out on the water. We’re going to cover what those pieces of gear are to help you out.
We won’t cover things like your boat’s built-in equipment since you already have that, but we’ll be going over the things you likely forgot.
1: Extra Life Vests
Your boat probably has one or two life vests on it. Most sailors know they need them. What happens if you bring some guests with your new baby, though? If you don’t pack those life vests away from the start, you’re likely to forget about them, and you won’t have enough when the time comes. If you think you’re good with two, go ahead and buy four more, and always make sure you check what you have before you let people on your boat.
2: Fire Extinguisher
First, this is actually the law in a lot of places. So, you might have a fire extinguisher as-is. If you don’t get one. You might not think that fire is a concern when you’re literally floating around on a massive body of water, but it is, and if one breaks out while you’re sailing, you can end up sinking or burning.
Even if you have one, consider buying a second to go in a quick-to-reach spot instead of just keeping on hidden in the cabin.
3: Boat Food
If you’re planning on eating while you’re out sailing, you’ll obviously bring along a nice meal to enjoy. That’s not enough, though.
Let’s imagine that you drift too far out and get lost. You need to have food for at least a week (and water), to ensure you can stay alive on the water until you find your bearings or help arrives.
Survival food comes in a lot of different formats. The type stored in boats is typically a bunch of squares that are individually wrapped, and while small, are packed with calories and nutrients.
Make sure you check the expiration date on survival food and replace it whenever the date is getting close. Most types can last years.
4: Satellite Phone and GPS
When you’re sailing, if you get lost, you’re likely to get into a situation where your normal phone just doesn’t work. That’s why boats have radios. However, keeping a satellite phone on hand can help you contact family members, directly contact emergency services without waiting for a radio response, etc.
Having GPS included can help you chart your path back home.
5: Inflatable Raft
In the unfortunate event that you capsize your boat or sink it, you do not want to be floating around offshore in a lifesaver. You can find inflatable orange rafts specifically designed to help keep people alive if their main boat sinks. These stow away in your boat, and if you take action fast, you can deploy your raft before your boat takes it down with it.