5 Must Have Items for Boating
I love boating and exploring in the woods and for some reason I’m just drawn to both and find it to be peaceful and relaxing….usually. There have been several occasions when the SHTF out on the water though. Living on an island a boat is pretty handy for transportation and just for fun and anyone who’s been boating for a while knows that things can turn nasty really really fast.
My son Joe is an avid fisherman and lives by the ocean… he’s very prepared and does a lot of kayak fishing miles offshore. When I bought my boat he gave me some good advice; Get some good safety gear. The items I’m talking about in this post are expensive but in my opinion they’re well worth the cost.
Automatic Inflatable Life Jacket
These life jackets are comfortable to wear and automatically (or manually) inflate if you fall overboard. They are not considered a life vest by the Coast Guard unless they’re being worn so I also have the required number of life jackets per person, Type 1. The Type 1 life jackets are bulky and uncomfortable so they’re rarely worn and that’s the big difference. I’ve traveled between the straits alone on my boat and I put on my inflatable vest before I start the boat. When alone if you fall off the boat you’re likely going to drown, especially in the “big water”. I didn’t know these existed and maybe you don’t or didn’t either. A good offshore inflatable vest costs around $200., some are less. I got mine at West Marine and they're available on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/2DGhwEd
Type 1 Life Jackets
It’s required by law to have a life jacket for every passenger and it only makes sense to do so. I’ve been out on the water on a perfectly calm day and minutes later all hell broke loose with 60+ MPH winds, rain, lightning, and high waves almost immediately. It was so rough that we couldn’t see where we were going and couldn’t get below to get the life vests. My suggestion is to buy the good offshore vests and if you see bad weather coming...put them on before it’s too late. Storms can come up really fast, trust me. Cost is around $65. See them here on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2GUb5PT
The Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB)
The EPIRB I’m guessing most of you don’t have a clue what they are, I didn’t either until last year. It’s an emergency signaling device that sends your GPS latitude/longitude to a satellite that’s monitored by emergency rescue personnel. If you get into serious trouble you attach the lanyard to the boat and toss it in the water which activates the EPIRB automatically. When every other measure fails; the EPIRB may just save your life and others. They cost between $400 and $800 or more but to me it’s worth it. Hopefully I’ll never have to use it but it’s very comforting to know that my passengers and I are safer. See them here on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2UKD34g
The Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)
The PLB is similar to the EPIRB in that it sends a distress signal to search and rescue reporting your “fix”. Where the EPIRB is registered to your boat; the PLB is a personal device and registered to you. You would wear the PLB when boating, snowmobiling across lake for instance, or it can be used for hiking or exploring in the forest. It’s a great safety device if you’re really in trouble. When boating I strap mine onto my inflatable vest and if I go overboard the PLB goes off automatically when wet. If I’m snowmobiling or just exploring the woods I’ll take it with me in my fanny pack or coat pocket. They cost about $300. The model I bought is a Standard Horizon HX870 Floating 6W Handheld VHF with Internal GPS. See many options on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2DFYhL7
In addition to having a ship-to-shore radio permanently mounted to my boat; a portable one that's waterproof is something I keep clipped to my life vest. If I happen to go overboard I've got a way to communicate. The model I have is a Standard Horizon HX870 Floating 6W Handheld VHF with Internal GPS. You can see many options here on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2ZDA80S
I keep a lot of additional safety and survival items in my boat but these are the ones most people don’t know about. Hope it helps you to be safe out on the water, snowmobiling, hiking, etc.
Be Prepared - Be Grateful