Posted on

Boating Safety Equipment Checklist

Boating safely means having the right equipment on board for all emergencies, big and small.

Basic First Aid
Maintain a first aid kit stocked with basic supplies (gauze, bandages, alcohol cleaning pads, aspirin, etc.).

Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)
The U.S. Coast Guard and/or state laws require you to have an approved PFD (also called life jackets and life vests) when you are in a boat, and that boat must carry one PFD for each passenger on board. Certain types of boats must also have a cushion or ring that can be thrown to a person in the water. Learn about the BoatUS Foundation Life Jacket Loaner Program and watch a video they created about how to properly fit a child’s life jacket.

Signaling Devices
Keep day and nighttime signaling devices on your boat including a sound horn, distress flag, flares and/or a fog system.

Fire Extinguisher
You must have a fire extinguisher with you while you’re on the water. Hopefully, you’ll never need it, but it’s an essential item to keep close at hand should a fire ignite in the engine, galley or on the grill.

Boat Anchor
To keep from running aground in bad weather or as a result of engine failure, every boat needs an adequate anchor. Read more in our Anchoring section.

Tow Ropes & Dock Lines
Make sure you have an extra tow rope in case you or another boater is stranded and needs a lift. Dock lines also come in handy when you need to tie up to someone’s pier.

Marine VHF Radio & Cell Phone
Keep a VHF radio on your boat at all times and bring your cell phone along too. Read our Emergency Protocol section for instructions on how to call for help.

Courtesy of