When you find yourself on a boat and seated within sight of the water, it’s natural to feel safe. Which is why you might not be aware of just how dangerous a boat can actually be. Compared to other forms of transportation, boating has some unique hazards that are all too easy to overlook until it’s too late. And while statistics show that boating is still one of the safest ways to spend your recreational time, making sure you have everything in check before you depart will make sure you stay safer than most.

There are things that we take for granted whenever we enter any form of transportation – like seat belts or life jackets – that can mean the difference between life and death when operating a boat. Boaters must also understand local regulations and best practices from an operational standpoint if they want to reduce their risks as much as possible.
To help keep your time on the water both fun and safe, here is a checklist of things you should know before taking your next trip on the water.

  1. Visual signaling devices


Depending on the size of the vessel and even the state where you go boating, there are varied criteria for visual distress signals. Flares or other nighttime signals are required on boats under 16 feet. Boats larger than 16 feet must have both daytime and nighttime visible signals. Orange or white smoke and aerial light flares are examples of pyrotechnic objects or flares that might meet the requirements. Some flares maybe launched on their own, while others need a flare gun to do so. A strobe light is another nighttime gadget, and flags can be used during the day. PWCs do not require nighttime equipment because they cannot be operated between dusk and dawn.


2. Sound signaling devices

The sound-signaling device, which can be a pealess whistle, a compressed gas horn, or an electronic horn, is a crucial instrument when visibility is impaired due to conditions like fog or severe rain or whenever a boat operator has to signal his position.


3. Fire extinguishers