There’s likely conversation about the snacks or beverages that need to be packed, but have you considered updating your boat emergency kit? You never know when an emergency situation can come calling!
Be Prepared for Anything
While the odds of a mishap are certainly small, the risk of your vessel going down always exists. Unlike a car, which offers the luxury of simply stepping out on to the road and walking to the nearest gas station, the inconvenience of a boating malfunction is magnified. Stranded in open water, your chance of returning to dry land is often decided by what is in your emergency survival kit onboard.
Here is a look at 8 essentials to consider for your boat emergency kit:
Empty Milk Jug
How can a milk jug act as a savior, you may ask? Provided you have a knife or other cutting instrument, slice the empty jug horizontally and it immediately becomes a lightweight bailing device. Although much smaller, empty plastic water bottles can also do the trick, allowing multiple small hand bailers to scoop out unwanted water.
Personal Locator Beacons
Emergency Mylar Thermal Blanket
If you don’t need to stay warm, there are other ways you can put this thermal blanket to good use. As a waterproof object, it can serve as storage for electronic gadgets that can become damaged by saline water. It also possesses a shiny appearance which helps to reflect light and can be used as a signaling object during distress situations.
If you don’t like mylar blankets, I know of a small camping blanket that is almost as lightweight and much neater.
Day and Night Distress Signals
Day distress signals are of two types – orange smoke handheld flares or an orange distress flag. An orange flag is recognized as an international distress symbol and can be seen over many miles. Ideally you should place it somewhere high up on your vessel so that it is visible from both air and water. Hand-held orange smoke flares draw attention by emitting a large cloud of orange smoke. Keep in mind that these flares do not last long – only about a minute – so you should carefully deploy them only when the possibility of being spotted by a rescue party is at its highest.
Red flares are the most common with regards to visual distress signals and can be used both during the day and at night. They can be seen from a great distance and even when visibility is not at its best.
Oars and Paddles
Drybag – Survival Equipment Bag
The Drybag from Watershed is a piece of engineering marvel that can keep items dry even underwater. When river guides voiced their concern over the quality and comfort of storage bags used during the 1980s, their problems were solved when the ZipDry technology came into existence.
Any boating trip can turn dangerous and the right emergency kit could be the difference between life and death. As goes the old adage “better safe than sorry”, it is important to be prepared and safeguard yourself against all eventualities rather than waiting for the moment when trouble finally befalls you. If you are going boating in someplace else other than your home state, also keep in mind some of the rules and regulations that they may have in place.
Adding these eight safety items to your emergency kit will help you remain safe under all circumstances – so that you can enjoy a relaxing, comfortable, and memorable trip just the way you had imagined it to be!
Bryan Koontz is CEO and Founder of Guidefitter, a platform for consumers to research hunting and fishing trips and connect with outfitters and professional guides. The online community allows users to share their experiences and serves as a hub for sportspeople and outdoor adventurists. In his free time, Bryan enjoys fly fishing, hunting, and spending time outdoors with his Labrador retriever.