WHAT SHOULD ALL SMALL BOATS BE STOCKED WITH?
Small boats are far more susceptible to capsizing, incurring damage or being affected by adverse weather conditions than larger boats. For this reason, it is imperative to have a variety of items aboard to increase safety. Often the items listed below will dramatically increase the small boater’s chances of survival.
• Have at least one Personal Flotation Device per person onboard. It is critical to always wear the PFD because trying to find the PFD when the boat is floundering or sinking is often not possible.
• Have a torch onboard as it is a wonderful tool to signal other boats or even send an SOS if you are stuck in the dark. A torch can be seen from a long distance by other boats, especially if you have one of the high lumen torches that are available today. In addition to a torch, a shiny object or mirror can also be used successfully to signal other boats during the day.
• A whistle is an excellent tool to alert other boaters of your presence if it is dark or visibility is diminished by mist. A whistle is a recognised distress signal and it should only be used to alert others of your distress.
• A small boat should always have a pair of oars that are secured properly so they don’t fall off the boat in heavy swell conditions. You never know when your motor is going to fail, and oars will allow you to make good headway to land.
• Have a bucket onboard to bail water out of the boat.
• A First Aid kit is always necessary and being aware of how to use the various components of the kit is important.
• A blanket sealed in a plastic bag is useful if your clothes get wet. Conditions can get very cold on a boat very quickly and hypothermia can set in. Having a spare jacket is also advised.
• Have at least two ropes on board which can be used to tie up the boat or which can be thrown to someone who has fallen overboard.
• Rain ponchos are great to help you stay dry in the rain and they can be folded up into a compact, easy-to-store unit. If you don’t have rain ponchos, plastic bin bags can be used by simply cutting out holes for your arms and head to go through.
• A small fire extinguisher is important to have on board to stem any possible fires that can occur.
As with any boat trip, it is important to file a float plan and tell people of your intentions to go boating and where you intend heading. At least then, if you re lost at sea or out on the water way past your expected return, people can raise the alarm and begin searching for you. File a float plan!