Preparation is critical in boating. Having the right equipment can make the difference between  a good day on the water and a disastrous one. I’ve complied a list of 7 things you needs on your boat before going out.

Lifejacket for every person on board + extras

It is required that every person on any type of boat have a lifejacket either on or easily accessible in the event of an emergency. It is also recommended that throwable flotation devices like a rescue ring or cushion be on board as well.

Fire extinguisher

Boats have very large gas tanks and there is always a fire risk, so a fire extinguisher that is rated for you vessel size and engine type must be on the boat at all times.

VHF Radio (handheld or mounted)

Even close to shore, cell phones may not have service or could be damaged in an emergency. An VHF radio, either mounted or handheld, must be on board. VHF radios can reach long distances and place you in direct contact with the Coast Guard or local maritime police, helping reduce response time. Radios also may be needed for docking, fueling and other services in a channel.

Chart of waters

Before going out, a boater should familiarize him or herself with the waters they will be traveling in. There may be underwater hazards, shallow water and other areas to avoid.



Every boater should have an anchor on their boat, particularly for emergencies. If the engine(s) were to stall in a channel, an anchor may be needed to prevent the boat from drifting into swim areas or running aground. The anchor must also be the correct size for the boat or else it will not be effective.

First Aid Kit

Between a shifting deck, slippery conditions and lack of restraints, injuries may happen while underway. A first aid kit is essential for treating wounds.

Depth Finder

A depth finder is needed, especially for boaters navigating close to shore, because water depth can change rapidly. Because the propeller is below the hull, a ground strike could damage the propeller and harm the engine.

Finally, check out this link to purchase some of these products before your next journey!

For additional equipment, click here.

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