You made the purchase of your first boat, now what? First, give yourself a pat on the back! Next, read this boating essential lists on all the gear you will need for a safe, pleasurable boating experience.
The following are required by federal law:
- Registration papers must be on board at all times
- Life jackets are required for each person on board
- Throwable flotation device. If your boat is 16’ or longer, you must have this
- Fire extinguisher-if your boat’s engine or fuel tank is enclosed
- Distress signals, such as flares-make sure to check the expiration dates!
- Horn or whistle
- Navigation lights for nighttime operation
Although these items are not required by law, they are necessary for safe boating:
- Dock lines to tie your boat up
- Fenders-protect your boat from docks and other boats while tied-up
- Tool kit for on-the-fly repairs
- Marine radio-this should be a requirement. This will allow you to relay distress signals to the Coast Guard as well as communicate with other boaters, bridge operators and port managers
- First aid kit
- Boat anchor, this can save your life if your engine loses power
- Boat hook-helps fend-off other boats in close quarters docking scenarios, grab lines, etc.
With careful preparation and safety your number one priority, you can protect your boat and keep yourself on the water for years to come. Don’t forget a full tank of gas!