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Experienced boat riders will usually have a checklist of essential boat items before venturing out into the waters. This checklist often includes essential gear and safety kits for emergencies. Below is a list of items every boat enthusiast needs to bring on board their boat before pulling out of the dock.
1. Your license and registration
It is important to consider your local state requirements for owning and operating a boat. For starters, you will need a boat registration to prove that you are the rightful owner of the vessel. Registration fees vary from one state to the other depending on the type and size of your boat. The boat license is renewable yearly and costs 25 to 250 dollars. Besides your boat license, you also need to carry your boater education card and personal identification documents.
2. Life jackets
Life jackets are must-have safety equipment for every boat operator. Always carry extra life jackets if you have guests aboard. Many life jackets are available, so ensure you have the right floating devices for the expedition. You should only purchase USCG-certified life jackets that have been tested for safety and reliability. A good life jacket will cost you anywhere between 20 to 100 dollars.
3. First aid kit
A first aid kit will help you handle any emergencies that may arise during your boat rides. Cuts, scrapes, and bruises can happen any time, especially when you are boat riding on a stormy day. Ensure you stock your kit with adequate first aid gear to cater to all visitors onboard. Besides handling minor injuries, a first aid kid can save a life when accidents happen far away from the dock. Maintain your first aid kit by restocking used supplies and those that expire before use. Luckily, first aid kits are affordable and readily available in any boat dealership.
4. Repair tool kit
Experienced boaters always carry a fully stocked repair tool kit when heading out of the dock. A tool kit helps you fix most minor repairs quickly without calling expert help. A typical repair tool may include any of the following items:
- A knife to help you free up tangled lines.
- A screwdriver tightens up any loose screws that might cause unwanted vibrations.
- A jumper pack to jumpstart the engine when batteries die off.
- Duct tape to secure any loose items within the boat.
- Electrical tape to cover up any exposed wires.
Consider including mercury outboard parts into your toolkit if you use your boat for long-distance cruising. Extra oil and fuel filters, oil change kits, lubes and fluids, and an adjustable wrench are great accessories to include in a repair kit.
5. Anchor and rode
It is advisable to carry an anchor and ride even when you are not planning to anchor out at sea. Anchors help maintain your boat’s position when you encounter mechanical breakdowns during your expedition. Without an anchor, you risk being swept into the deep seas and out of the radar of rescue towboats. With an anchor and rode, you can enjoy the convenience of having lunch on deck without having to worry about your boat drifting in the wrong direction. Anchors come in various sizes and finishes, but with $50, you should get a high-quality small boat anchor.
6. Fire extinguishers
A fire outbreak on a boat at sea is always a life-threatening affair for everyone involved. The best way to protect your boat and passengers is to carry a fire extinguisher every time you head out offshore. However, fire extinguisher requirements vary depending on the size and type of your boat vessel.
7. Emergency flares and flashlights
Emergency flares will help summon the rescue team to your vessel when you run out of fuel or get stuck at sea. When choosing visual distress signals, always go for those that produce plenty of smoke and light to increase your chances of getting assistance when stranded. Flashlights help you see at night and serve as a distress signal when you run out of flares. Remember to carry an extra set of batteries for your flashlights.
Boat rides are an exciting getaway that allows you to unwind from the rest of the world as you enjoy the outdoors. Check out other content as well for more boat riding essentials.