If you’re new to getting out on the open water in a boat, you most likely have the bare essentials on your vessel. Boating, no matter where you do it or how frequently, isn’t something you can take lightly. Even a short trip can become a problem if you don’t have the right equipment ready to go, just in case. We’ll go through some of the most essential equipment for your new boat so that you don’t get caught unawares by something going wrong.

Floatation Devices

Personal floatation devices, or PFDs, need to be on every boat that goes out on the water. While this may seem obvious, some people forget or ignore them for no good reason. It’s vital to consider the PFD options for everyone coming aboard your boat. Will you need larger ones for adults? Will children need their own special PFDs? Also, remember that throwable floatation devices are crucial to ensuring safety in case someone goes overboard.

Boating First Aid Kit

A lot can happen on a boat that you don’t expect. One of the most essential pieces of equipment for your boat is a first aid kit—preferably one made specifically for boating use. A boating-specific first aid kit might have a survival blanket to use if someone falls in the water and drenches themselves. It might also have hydration tablets for staying out in the sun for a long time. Always know the dangers you could face, and you’ll be able to prepare for them.

Fire Extinguisher

The number of fire extinguishers you legally need on a boat differs depending on its size. But not having one is more than just illegal; it’s extremely reckless. A fire on a vessel can be a catastrophe if you have no way of dealing with it. Make sure that people you bring aboard know where the fire extinguishers are and that they know how to use them just in case.

Signaling Devices

Both visual and auditory distress signals could save your life if something goes wrong on your boat. Even if you’re boating in broad daylight, you never know when the weather could decide to be fickle and change on you. When the worst comes to pass, you’ll want a way to make sure other vessels can see or hear you and provide aid if you need it.

Docking Equipment

Pulling up to a dock without the proper docking equipment is a good way to either damage or lose your boat. Therefore, some of the most important pieces of docking equipment are inflatable fenders that protect your boat from the dock and vice versa. You may even want to buy specific inflatable fenders that protect sensitive areas of your boat.