Safety & Survival - Air Horns, Strobes, EPIRBs, Life Rings, Compasses & Life Rafts

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Boating Know How
Boating Safety
Boating is a recreational activity that is undertaken by people from all walks of life. Whether is a simple activity such as fishing or an adrenaline pumping one like white water rafting, it is important for boaters to ensure that they adhere to standard safety measures. Boating safety courses and classes are now available all over the country. ... read more These courses teach boaters basic safety measures they can take to prevent accidents. They also cover the aspect of dealing with accidents and preventing deaths. At the end of these courses, boaters are certified by their respective institutions having passed the set tests.

For those who cannot afford this class, online sites such as iboats.com Blog and Boating Safety Resource Center have safety tips that you can easily read and familiarize yourself with before embarking on a boating trip. Some of these tips include:

Have a safety checklist

Before embarking on any boating trip, you should have a safety checklist on board. This checklist should have all the safety items you will require on your boat. Check each item on the boat as per the list and replace items that are worn out or missing.

Read the weather

You should be up-to-date with the weather conditions in your location. You should also learn how to observe the physical weather changes incase the radio forecasts are not accurate. Changing tides and clouds are good weather indicators.

Have an assistant

Among your crew, you should pick and assistant who will be able to steer the boat in the event you cannot. If you are with your family, include an extra navigator to help you out in controlling the boat.

Check the boat

The US Coast Guard offers free safety checks that you can take advantage of. As a boater, you should ensure your boat is properly functioning before you take it into the water. You would not like an incident where you get stranded in the middle of the sea or ocean with no one to offer you assistance. Radio and navigation gadgets should also be checked and certified to be in proper working condition.

Use life jackets

Life Jackets

Life vests are the most essential items on a boat. In the case of an accident, these vests will save you from drowning. Statistics show that a majority of victims of boat accidents who die do so because they were not wearing a life vest. It is important to make sure every occupant on a boat has their life jacket on and properly fastened.

Swimming classes

Swimming is another safety measure that boaters should be well aware of. It makes no sense going on a boating trip and being around water when you know you cannot swim. Swimming lessons start from the tender age of 4 so it should not be an excuse for anyone to lack this essential skill.
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Distress Signals on the Water
What would you do if you were stranded off shore and needed some help? What if you were miles and miles away from any land? This is why there are several different options for distress signals that you can use, if they are available. Not everyone will have all types of signals. Having a radio to contact someone would be the best, but not all vessels will have one. ... read more The first two, you probably, will never be without. Waving your arms until you grab someones attention. This, obviously will only work if your are close to shore or have other vessels close by. The second is Fog horns continuously sounding. Now you may not have a fog horn on your boat, but that is what the boat horn is for. Almost every boat will have one. This should work farther away from shore, but not by much. But that is why they tell you to do it continuously.

Distress Signals on the water

Now another signal for others, if your boat is on fire, would be the flames and smoke. Hopefully someone passing who sees smoke is nice enough to come help with fire extinguishers or to get the proper help. But flames and smoke is pretty hard to miss.

There are several other items that should be on your boat at all times. Better to have and not need, then to need and not have. Flags, either an orange flag with a black square and a black circle, or a black square flag and ball. A flare gun or dye in the water.

You can also have person tracking beacons called EPIRBs on hand. If your curious as to what an EPIRB is, click here to learn all about them. All you have to do is switch one of these puppies on and wait.

Distress Signals Chart

There are more you can do, Moarse Code, flashlights, other flags, radio transmissions, but we just wanted to highlight a few. Hopefully none of you will ever have to use these signals, but its always nice to know and have. Good luck and happy boating everyone!!
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Preparing Your Own Ditch Bag
With all the hubabaloo going around about the end of the world in December, it brings to mind a time growing up when my parents talked about food storage and preparing for the worst. We all made our own 72 hour packs that would sustain us if we got separated from the house. It had some water bottles, trail mix and beef jerky (as these would last a long time and wouldn't get bad), hand warmers, a blanket, flashlight, and a little first aid kit. I am sure that there was more to it, but I haven't kept up on replacing things inside. ... read more

Being out on the water, you don't have 72 hours kits. You would have, what is called a ditch bag. Something that you could throw over board if your boat started sinking and the things inside would not get wet. It also keeps everything you need together and easy to grab if going down. These things inside are basically the same essential items needed to keep you alive until rescue.

For a basic ditch bag:

  1. PLB - personal locator beacon. Great back up to the EPIRB and easier to use inside a raft.
  2. Serrated knife - should  have a blunt tip and a lanyard that is easy to open one handed.
  3. Braided Cord and Tie Wraps. To keep together what you can salvage.
  4. Orange Rescue Streamers - note, once deployed it will continually signal until dead.
  5. A Strobe. Some strobes can and should double as a flash light.
  6. Flares and signal mirrors.
  7. Sunscreen and seasickness pills, they help prevent dehydration (along with bottles of water. Never drink the salt water, you will become dehydrated more quickly)
  8. Cash, credit card, identification and a plastic bag to keep all that dry.
Now that you have the basics for your ditch bag (For Boating Survival), your ready for the end of the world. Just kidding. Happy boating everyone.
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Be prepared when you hit the waters, so you can enjoy your time out there with family and friends. Before you ever get on the water, you will want to check over your boat to make sure its in good condition and working. Not to mention making sure you have the items you will need in case of any emergency. If not you may get stranded out in the open water. It could be hours or even days before anyone can find you. The items in our Safety and Survival category can and will help you in any situation. We offer everything from coastal/offshore life rafts for the oceanic weekender to boating safety videos just to help increase your knowledge when it comes to marine safety and survival. We have fire suppression systems for accidental fires and survival kits. We even carry a large selection of PFD's for your little ones and yourself.
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