Whether you own an inshore fishing boat, or a fast offshore vessel, or maybe you’re looking to make your first purchase, having the right equipment on board is absolutely vital to your safety on the water.
The biggest expenditure when buying a boat will always be the boat and its engine, however when planning out expenses, the safety equipment below should also be taken into consideration, as without it, your boat is essentially unsafe to use. There are plenty of guidance articles online to provide more information about boating safety and also many horror stories of those who considered safety as a lower priority whilst out on the water.
Safety equipment can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be off limits to those on smaller budgets. With a bit of research and online comparisons, fishing enthusiasts can find a great number of deals and cheaper options for onboard safety. We’ve listed the five most vital pieces of equipment to have below:
Watertight Navigation Lights
It’s vital to have a set of watertight navigation lights on board, even if you don’t plan for any after dark fishing activity. You never know when they might just save your life if you are caught out at sea in a busy shipping area or a breakdown means that darkness falls before you return to your safe haven. Good quality series lights start at a bargain of just £20, leaving no excuse not to have them aboard when you’re out on the water.
Personal Flotation Devices
Essential for each passenger to wear onboard your boat, personal flotation devices will ensure that your safety comes first when hitting the water. Not only do they come in a range of sizes for children and adults, although simple buoyancy aids are available for around £20 it is recommended that you start with a manual inflation 150N lifejacket which are available at present for less than £40 which will ensure that you are kept face up if you fall overboard. Alternatively you could splash out on the latest comfort with a pro lifejacket around £300+ complete with whistle, light and integrated gas cylinder.
Hand held flares start at around £10 and are ideal for short range distress signalling from your boat. Simply pop open its cap and pull the ring to activate and potentially save your life when stranded on the water. For more expensive alternatives, you’re looking at around £150+ for the entire set of flares, buoyant smoke and polybottles.
A VHF Radio
It is essential to have some sort of communication on boat when you’re stuck in a rut out on your boat. VHF radios start at around £40-£50, but are vital for your safety and for the small open boat owner these should always be fully waterproof whether fixed or hand held. Looking for the latest high performance technology? Why not check out the KVH Tracphone V3.
There are plenty of other options too, take a look at our previous article on marine electronics.
Man Overboard Equipment
When you or a member of your crew needs assistance overboard, a throwing line or roped life belts are essential to have to hand. These will also help with recovery onto the boat providing lifting hand holds. Starting at just £20, you can equip your boat with an ocean safety life-buoy, or for a more expensive life saving device, a Smartfind search and rescue system will set you back around £300+.
Read more about other vital safety equipment and how much it really costs to own a fishing boat with Boatshop24’s three part series by fishing expert Colin Etherington. Click to read Part One now.