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Boating Accessories and Gear to Get

Your boat is a finely-tuned machine, equipped with technology to make your fishing trips or casual excursions safe and secure. Today’s market is flooded with smart gadgets designed to boost boater safety. Do yourself a favor and get the boating accessories you’ll need to make your day on the water safe — and one to remember.

What You Need to Know About Life Jackets

There are many different types of personal flotation devices (PFDs), life jackets and life vests available from a wide variety of suppliers. State and federal laws will dictate how many flotation PFDs you legally need to have on your boat. But it’s also important to consider how far from shore you’ll be before you commit to a specific type of PFD. Because life jackets are rated from near shore to open water, you’ll want to get the type that suits your location and use.

Things to consider when you’re choosing a PFD:

  • The type of activities you and your passengers will be performing on the boat
  • The weight range of people that will be wearing the PFDs
  • NTSB and U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFDs should be selected when possible

What Are the Various Types of Life Jackets and PFDs?

From flotation devices that come in many different varieties to wearable jackets and throwable seat cushions, you’ve got a lot of options. Take a look at the various types and learn about their intended use before you get your boat in the water:

Type I life jackets. These jackets are for use while cruising down the river or fishing on the lake. When fitted correctly, they’ll typically turn an unconscious person onto their back and are rated for solo boaters. Although they offer the highest level of protection, some people find Type I life jackets to be bulky and uncomfortable.

Type II life jackets. This PFD has the capacity to reverse wearers onto their back and is best used near-shore in calm water, where a quick rescue can be expected. Less bulky and more comfortable than Type I vests, these PFDs may cost a bit more.

Type III flotation aids. Vests of this type will not reposition unconscious wearers onto their backs, but can be used in areas with a good chance of quick rescue. Known as the “paddler’s choice” they’re designed for general use and are typically much more comfortable than the above options.

Type VI throwable PFDs. In this class of PFDs you’ll typically find rescue devices like a rings, horseshoe buoys or boat cushions. Not rated for wearing, they’re designed to supplement a vest or jacket. These are great to have on deck when guests are cruising with you.

Type V special-use devices. Classified for use in commercial whitewater rafting or for other specific tasks, these special-use devices include hybrid-inflatable types of PFDs. It’s key to read the instructions on these PFDs to be sure you’re using it properly. Some of the more complex vests auto-inflate upon water immersion, helping to keep the wearer more comfortable on-deck.

Boating Safety Accessories

Nothing is more important than the safety of those in and around your boat. The following accessories range from every day to emergency-only use, but they’re all worth your consideration:

Air horn. Small but mighty, air horns can signal distress to other boaters, emergency personnel or people on nearby shores. If your boat does not have an on-board horn you’re required to have an air horn. A typical air horn produces a loud, harsh signal that’s audible up to approximately one mile away. If you should ever lose power, a backup air horn can literally be a life saver.

Fire extinguisher. Despite being out on a body of water, you’ll need a fire extinguisher in case a fire breaks out on your boat. Your extinguisher should be in an easily-accessed location, and all boat passengers should know how to use it.

Overboard sensors. If you’ve got a large boat and routinely have more than a couple passengers or pets onboard, look into overboard sensors. New versions offer keychain-like sensors that connect wirelessly to an app, alerting users if any of the sensors detect moisture or lose connection with the app.

Roll top boat bag. This large waterproof bag is great for storing items you want to permanently store onboard don’t want soaked. The simple design allows you to place items like first-aid kits, towels and emergency items into that really can seal out the water.

First aid kit. A basic first aid kit should contain bandages, scissors, tweezers, tape, and gauze. You or any passengers should be able to treat minor injuries, or keep an injured person’s wounds stabilized until they can be reached by medical personnel.

Stop the bleed kit. A good addition to your first aid kit is a well-appointed stop the bleed kit. These kits usually come with a windlass tourniquet, compressed gauze, emergency pressure dressing among other items. They’re a great idea to have on board if rescue personnel are not immediately nearby.

Boating Navigation Accessories You Need to Have

Getting where you’re going on the water means you’ve got the navigation accessories to get you there. Take a look at these must-have items so you’re able to navigate safely to your destination — and stay put once you arrive.

Anchor with line/chain. So you’ve found your perfect fishing spot, but can’t stop your boat from roaming away — well, get an anchor! Most boats come with an anchor, but make sure the size and weight of your anchor is proportional to your boat. And be sure you’ve got enough chain or line to hold your position on windy and choppy days.

Paddles. You’d like to think it’ll never happen, but there might come a time when your motor fails while you’re out on the water. Many newer paddles have telescoping arms that help keep the stowing requirement to a minimum.

GPS system. While your phone might have GPS capabilities, you’re better off getting a standalone GPS system built for boats to account for lack of service or a dead phone battery. If you like to boat on unfamiliar bodies of water, a GPS device can serve you well when the time comes to get your vessel back to dock.

Trolling motor. A trolling motor allows you to slowly and quietly move your boat around the body of water. Say you’re fishing and you want to move your boat a few yards toward the center of the lake. Instead of firing up your motor, wasting gas and making noise, just start up your trolling motor.

Accurate nautical maps. When your phone or GPS goes overboard or their batteries die, you’re at risk of having no means of navigating if you’re relying on electronics. By keeping an up-to-date set of nautical maps onboard, you can still get where you’re going — the old school way.

Everyday Boat Accessories and Necessities

Cruising the open water is an unbelievably relaxing activity — except for when it rains or your boat malfunctions. Prepare for life’s minor inconveniences by picking up these items before you hit the water next:

Dock line. Marine-grade dock line is key to keeping your vessel safe and secure when it’s parked at the marina. Spending a few more dollars for a premium nylon double braid dock line can pay off if you come into bad weather. Good ropes will stretch less when stressed and may last longer with their UV protection.

Cup holders. Investing a few bucks in cup holders can keep your guests happy and can help prevent spills. Look online for good deals on ways to keep your soda secure.

Waterproof dry bag. There are plenty of things you’ll bring on your boat that you won’t want to get wet from wave splashes or rain, such as extra clothing, towels, electronics and food. Have at least one on your boat to protect your items —and your trip — from turning into a soggy mess.

Multi-tool. You never know when a screw will need tightening, a fishing line needs to be cut or any other series of handyman-like tasks present themselves.

In addition to all of the safety accessories you’ve equipped your boat with, the right protection with American Family an help protect your loved ones and everything that’s important to you. Remember to get in touch with your agent today and find the peace of mind to make the most of your time on the water.

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Related Topics: Boat , Safety Tips , Lifestyle