Mandatory and optional boating equipment

The US Coast Guard lists the basic minimum equipment that needs to be carried on board when you go out on the boat. The first of these are personal flotation devices. These can be approved type I, II, III or IV. There is a need for type I, II or II per person and one extra type IV that is a device that can be thrown. A bell or a whistle is mandatory for all vessels that are less than 20 meters long. A visual distress signal that can be seen by the coast guard, is required if you are likely to spend the night on the water. Coast guard approved fire extinguishers are also needed. A ventilation system and a back-fire flame arrestor is also required.

Other than the above mentioned mandatory safety equipment, there are many other accessories and equipment options that are available. The GPS or the Global positioning System is a great thing to have. While boaters used compasses at one time, the GPS has replaced this old time tool that was carried. Nautical charts are however, still required in case you are planning to stay on water for a long time or going boating on salt water. A VHF - FM radio is also required so that you can communicate with other people on the water or the coast in case you need to.

Ropes, anchors, adequate supply of food, fishing equipment, sun tan lotion are some of the other things that you may want to carry on the boat.




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