Jun 28, 2022


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Boating safety is something that every boater should be aware of. Having a checklist makes the process much, much easier. We have put together a boating safety checklist based on Florida law. This way, when you're boating, you're not only safe, but legal as well. By using this checklist, you give yourself and your loved ones a safer experience on the water.

6 Must-Have Boat Safety Equipment

1. Life jackets and wearable personal flotation devices (PFDs) 

An accessible, wearable PFD (Type I, II or III) is a life jacket that must be available for each person on board. If you’re towing a skier or have a wake surfer behind the boat, he or she will need a PFD as well. Kids 12 and under must always wear their PFD on a moving vessel. Likewise, everyone riding a personal watercraft (PWC) must also wear a PFD at all times. In case of an emergency of any kind, the first thing you should do is ensure that all passengers onboard immediately put on their life jackets—or proactively, you can recommend that all those onboard just put them on right at the dock before departure.


2. Throwable flotation devices

In addition to the life jackets that everyone can wear, you’ll need at least one floating device (Type IV) that you can throw to an individual in the water in case of trouble. This is usually a ring buoy or a cushion, and although only one is required, it’s better to have several onboard. It’s also recommended that it come with a line attached so you can pull a person closer to the boat and then get them out of the water.


3. Sound signaling devices

Sounds can attract help both day and night and are especially effective in fog. Portable or fixed horns and whistles count as sound-generating devices for all boats. Larger vessels (over 39 feet) should also carry a bell to be sounded at regular intervals in times of limited visibility like fog.


4. Visual distress signals

Visual distress signals can come in a variety packages and there are different requirements by size of vessel and even by the state where you go boating. Boats under 16 feet must have flares or nighttime signals. Boats over 16 feet must carry visual signals for both day and night use. Examples of pyrotechnic devices or flares that would qualify are orange or white smoke and aerial light flares. Some flares are self-launching while others require a flare gun to send them into the sky. Other nighttime devices include a strobe light while flags may be used during the day.


5. Fire extinguishers

There are different kinds and ratings for extinguishers but to keep it simple, remember that boats under 26 feet (including PWCs) need at least one B-1 type extinguisher and boats 26 to just under 40 feet need two B-1 types or one B-2 type. Discuss with your family and guests how to operate an extinguisher: pull the pin, squeeze the handle and aim at the base of the flames.


6. Toolbox with needed tools
It’s important to always have a tool box with needed tools to perform basic boat repairs. Anyone who has ever owned a boat has experienced the same moment — panic because the boat is dead, and you’re stuck in the middle of the water away from shore. Being prepared with a boat tool kit is a way to ensure to make it through that moment of terror and uncertainty.


These 10 tools should be in a dedicated marine tool kit and stay on your boat at all times. They will help during an emergency or when you need to make routine repairs:

• Spark plugs and fuses
• Jumper cables
• Pliers
• Screwdrivers (at least 3-4 different kinds)
• Wrenches and socket set
• Flashlight (with extra batteries)
• Electrical and Duct tape
• Scissors/ cutters
• Gorilla Glue
• Wire & hose clamps.


9 Additional Should-Have Safety Equipment for Your Boat

Depending on the type of boat you have and where you boat, some of these safety items may be required or recommended.
1. Medical kit for cuts, scrapes, seasickness or small emergencies
2. Anchor with line to hold your boat in place while you wait for help to arrive
3. Bailing device or bucket to dewater and stay afloat
4. Oars or paddles if the engine quits
5. Cellphone to call for help
6. Knife to cut a line around a fouled propeller
7. Snorkel mask to inspect what’s going on under the boat
8. Heavy duty flashlight
9. Working running lights if your boat is equipped with them

For more information about how Tampa Yacht Sales can help you find the boat of your dreams contact Shane Faunce at (727) 513-7615 for more information or view our current listings.


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