At Boating & Outdoors, the only thing we care about more than having a great time in the great outdoors, is keeping Kiwis safe. It’s easy to take for granted that nothing will go wrong, but every boatie knows to expect the unexpected.

To help keep you safe on the water, we’ve put together a guide around the most important equipment to have on your boat, and how to make sure it’s properly maintained.

Check your equipment

Regular checks and maintenance of your boat’s onboard equipment will help ensure smooth sailing for everyone on board. Every season we recommend checking all of the equipment on your boat to make sure it’s in working order and that nothing is missing.

Top Tips when checking equipment

  • Check expiry dates on flares and fire extinguishers, and replace or service them if they’re out of date.
  • Check batteries on portable equipment such as torches, radios and your GPS, and replace them if you need to. Make sure your distress beacon is registered and the battery is up to date. Have you preformed a test on your beacon?
  • Look at where your safety equipment is stored. Could you access it easily in an emergency or after a capsize?
  • Don’t forget to include sunscreen, water, and proper clothing for the elements.

What safety gear do you need on board?

The following essential items are must-haves on board:

1. PLB's / Epirbs

PLBs or Epirbs emergency beacons help rescue services locate you should you come into strife.

2. Life Jackets

Is it time to upgrade your life jacket? Lifejackets with kapok filling or cotton straps are unsafe and could fail when used. Make sure that lifejackets are in good condition and fit for purpose.

3. VHF Radios

You shouldn’t expect good mobile phone coverage at sea. For emergency communications a marine VHF radio is essential.

4. Flares

Flares are a must for any vessel. Always check your expiry dates and keep them in a safe dry place.

5. Safety Grab Bag

A great way to keep all your safety gear in one place so it’s easy to grab should you need to abandon your boat.

6. Rescue Throw Rope

Great for boat or Jetty. 25mtrs flat braided reflective rope with an inbuilt float in bag.

7. Compass

in the event your chartplotter fails, you should always have a compass on board.

8. First Aid Kit

All those vital extras to help out if you get into trouble at sea.

9. Torches & Head Lamps

Head lamps help to keep your hands free so you can react properly if something happens at night.

10. Fire Extinguisher

You never know when you’ll need it, but it could save your life.

For us, safety comes before anything else, so we hope these tips have been helpful.

If you have any questions about your gear or want help with servicing or installation, go see the friendly team at your local Bating and Outdoors store. Stay safe New Zealand.