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Spring is Here! Check your Boating Safety Gear!

Boating Safety Gear and Spring Checklist: Ensuring Smooth Sailing

As the days grow longer and the sun beckons us to the water, boating enthusiasts eagerly prepare to launch their vessels for spring adventures. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a novice, prioritizing safety is paramount. Let’s delve into the essential boating safety gear and the critical checks to perform before embarking on your aquatic escapades.

1. Safety Gear Essentials

Life Jackets (PFDs)

Life jackets are non-negotiable. Ensure you have appropriately sized and well-maintained personal flotation devices (PFDs) for everyone on board. Children should always wear life jackets. Remember, a life jacket is your best friend in an emergency.

Sound-Producing Devices

A whistle or horn is essential for signaling distress. It’s a small item with a big impact. Make sure it’s functional and accessible.

Visual Distress Signals (Flares)

Flares are crucial for attracting attention during emergencies. Check their expiration dates and ensure they’re in good condition. Familiarize yourself with their use.

Throwable Life Rings - CoastEase Captains

Fire Extinguishers

Inspect fire extinguishers for proper pressure and condition. Know their location on your boat. Fire safety matters!

Throwable Flotation Devices

A throwable cushion or life sling can save lives. Keep one within reach in case someone falls overboard.

Boat Kill Switch - Lanyard - CoastEase Captains

Engine Cutoff Lanyard

If your boat has an engine cutoff switch, use it! Attach the lanyard to your person. It stops the engine if you fall overboard.

2. Pre-Departure Checks

Documentation and Registration

Ensure your boat’s registration and documentation papers are up to date. Affix the numbers and decals as required. Don’t forget the trailer registration!

Boating Laws and Courses

Review federal, state, and local boating laws. Take your state’s boating safety course if required. Brush up on navigation rules.

Boat Maintenance

Follow manufacturer recommendations for maintaining your boat and systems. Conduct a visual inspection. Check fire extinguishers and pyrotechnic flares.

VHF/DSC Radio Programming

VHF Radio - CoastEase Captain Services

Program your VHF/DSC radio and request a free MMSI number. Teach passengers how to use it, especially the Mayday feature.

Courtesy Vessel Safety Check

Schedule a courtesy safety check. Experts will inspect your boat and offer valuable advice.

3. Before Departure

Weather and Tides

Check weather forecasts and tides. File a float plan with a trusted contact ashore.

Fueling Safety

Follow safe fueling practices. Avoid distractions during fueling. Do not overfill your tanks.

Bilge Pump and Alarms

Test bilge pump operation, auto switch, and alarms. Be prepared for unexpected water.

Life Jackets and Safety Equipment Briefing

Brief your crew on safety equipment locations and usage. Show them how to select channels on the VHF radio.

Navigation Lights

Ensure navigation lights work. Safety extends beyond daylight hours.

Engine Start-Up

Check all your engine and system fluids before starting your engine(s). If applicable, attach the engine shutoff switch lanyard.

4. On the Water

Navigation and Awareness

Know your waters. Refer to local charts, stay within marked channels, and be aware of tides and currents.

Avoid Distracted Driving

Scan the horizon for other boats. Avoid distractions. Safety demands focus.

Fuel Management

Monitor fuel consumption and range. Use the “Three-Thirds” rule: one-third outbound, one-third inbound, one-third reserve.

Swimming Safety

Engines OFF when people swim. Beware of dangerous CO gases.

Remember, safety isn’t an accessory; it’s a necessity. So, before you cast off, ensure your boat is well-equipped and your crew well-informed. Happy boating!


Note: This is general advise only. Make sure your boat meets the minimum safety requirements for your State and Federal Regulations. Here is a link to the current recreational boating safety regulations.

As always, CoastEase Captain Services is here for your maritime needs. Whether it is a delivery, boat training, tutoring, hands-on skill development, or you just want us to drive for you. We are here for your maritime adventures to help you have a great day on the water!


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