Humans aren’t marine animals. We can swim, sometimes well, but we aren’t meant to spend all our lives in bodies of water, or to survive in it long-term. Still, we are nautical creatures, and millions of Americans use boats for recreation, transportation or commercial purposes. Still, your boat is supposed to help you avoid becoming stuck in the water. However, sometimes boats can become safety risks, and since you aren’t on dry land, you need to have the proper safety equipment available to keep yourself safe. Consider a benefits of a few of these items.
Do laws require boats to have safety equipment?
Boats are vehicles. In many cases they are motor vehicles in the same way that cars are, they just operate on water instead of pavement. Most states enforce numerous operational safety laws, such as laws against boating under the influence (BUI), that are designed to keep boaters safe. So, just as you have to obey the speed limits
States also require boaters to observe certain safety precautions, including by carrying certain safety equipment. You can think of these items the same way you would think of a car’s seat belts or headlights. Safety equipment can help boaters protect themselves in case of hazards.
The Items You Might Need
There are numerous safety items that you should have on your boat. Sometimes, your state will even require you to carry some of these items at all times.
- Life Jackets: Many states have laws that require vessels to carry life jackets for all passengers, or at least, for passengers who are under 18 years old. Regardless of the law, you should carry life jackets for all of your passengers at all times.
- Rafts: Some boats must be equipped with at least one life raft, a lifeline or buoys to aid in flotation in case someone becomes incapacitated in the water.
- Emergency Signals: You usually have to carry emergency signals, like visual pyrotechnic flares, though this requirement might vary based on the size of your boat.
- Fire Extinguishers: Fire suppressant systems are mandatory on most vessels. However, the size and type of system you need can vary.
- Lights and Whistles: Such signals are very important in helping you attract assistance in case of a problem on the vessel. Not only that, they also can help you avoid potential collision risks in the first place.
When you purchase your boat, talk to your dealer about the types of equipment you might need to have aboard. You can also contact your states boat registration department to learn more about meeting these regulations. Still, don’t forget, the more safety devices you carry, the more secure you might be during an excursion. Always carry protection in excess of what’s required of you.