Boating is fun, but at the same time, boating can be dangerous. In case things turn south, you need to be prepared and respond accordingly. And in order to do that, you must have a boat emergency kit and accessories on your boat.
There are countless issues that can arise any given day while you are on your boat so be prepared. Basic items can help prevent 90% of problems if you have the right boat emergency kit.
Below are some items that I never go boating without.
What Should be in an Emergency Kit for a Boat
Every boat emergency kit should contain the following according to the United States Coast Guard:
- bandages with different sizes
- crepe bandage roll
- sterile wipes
- butterfly clips
- hypoallergenic tape
- antiseptic liquid
- antibiotic ointment
- burn gel
- stainless steel scissors (to avoid getting rusty in saltwater)
- swiss army knife
- gloves (not latex, someone might be allergic to it)
- pain killers (a mixture of ibuprofen and paracetamol)
- motion sickness tablets
Emergency Life Ring
For safety purposes, a life ring is an essential accessory to have on your pontoon boat. It is critical in case of emergencies.
If someone falls off or gets knocked off the boat, you can help them stay afloat by throwing a life ring.
Keep the life ring out in the open for quick access, do not store it away. Make sure to tell everyone on board where the life ring is. If you are bringing small children, show them how to use it –how to throw it off the boat – so they can become familiar.
- U.S. Coast Guard, Canadian Coast Guard and DOT approval
- Resistant to fire, oil, and gas
- Roto-molded for strength with a polyethylene shell and filled with closed cellular foam
You never know when accidents might happen on your boat. In the middle of all the excitement and fun, someone can get hurt. And it is very easy to get hurt on the boat.
You can slip on a wet surface, hit the rocky bottom while diving or get cut while trying to climb aboard. It’s essential that you have something on board to help you deal with that situation.
Always buy a first aid kit that comes in a waterproof case and keep it in the front of the boat, in a place that it is easy to find and access.
- ★ NEW & UPGRADED FOR 2021: 2-in-1 Premium First Aid Emergency Kit with 120 medical grade items.
- FULLY STOCKED: Organized interior compartments provides quick access. Rugged, sturdy, high density.
- INCLUDES MINI-FIRST AID KIT: Amazingly small, lightweight Mini Kit with additional 32 medical items.
A fire extinguisher is one of the boat accessories that you probably won’t use. However, it is better to be on a safe side when your boat motor catches on fire.
- MULTIPURPOSE PROTECTION: Fights Class A, B, and C fires and is is UL rated 1-A:10-B:C
- EASY TO READ: Gauge tells you when fire extinguisher is charged and ready for use
- EASY TO USE: Easy to pull safety pin and impact resistant nylon handle
Flare Gun & Air Horn to Signal Coast Guard
A flare gun is another must-have accessory. Luckily, I have not had a chance to use one, but I’ve seen people use it in movies. Apparently, they work.
Jokes aside, this is very important in case you get stuck out on the water and cannot find your way back. Chances are, you wouldn’t use it on the lake since the shore is mostly relatively close, but in case you find yourself in the ocean, you have to react quickly.
Also, while you are at it, grab yourself an air horn.
- Orion 507 safety air horn 6oz
- Orion 507 safety air horn 6oz
- Manufactured in United States
Again, this is one more boat emergency accessory that is necessary for the most extreme situations. If you’ve gotten lost or your boat stopped working, the personal locator will be your lifeline. I see many different forums, blogs where people speak highly of a personal locator.
It saves lives!
ACR ResQLink 400 – Buoyant GPS Personal Locator Beacon from the one I personally own. I like it because of its portable size, you can literately put it in your pocket and it’s waterproof too.
- No Subscription Required
- 406 MHz Emergency Distress Signal / Homing signal
- LED Strobe and Infrared Strobe
A life jacket, in any boat, is an essential item to have. If an accident occurs or a passenger gets knocked off, a life jacket helps them stay afloat.
Always bring life jackets and place them in an area of the boat that is easy to reach. Also, like the life ring, show everyone on board where the life jackets are.
Also, make sure that your life jacket is in working condition. If you don’t know what that means read when to replace worn-out PFD.
- US Coast Guard-approved adult life jacket
- Great for wakeboarding, water skiing, and tubing
- Soft and durable 200D nylon shell and lightweight PE flotation foam
The spotlight is a must for every fisherman or people who like to stay the whole day boating. When it gets dark, you don’t want to be lost in the dark.
With the flashlight, you will get to the shore safely. You can choose between spotlights that can be attached to a boat or the ones that you can hold in your hand. Both work perfectly.
- Lithium-ion Battery for Longer Run Time and Storage Time
- Waterproof - Submersible up to 12 Feet
- 2 Brightness Settings and Strobe function
If you want interior cabin light, consider LED lights for boats. You can connect it to the internal edges of your boat. This creates a more relaxing atmosphere at night.
Power Snacks For Much-Needed Energy
Power snacks are necessary for every trip. You don’t want to lose your power and be tired and cranky all day. There are many different snacks that can keep your energy level high. I love power snacks and I bring a large bag every time I go.
Snacks I Bring Aboard My Boat
- Raisins: This is good for a quick boost. My kids love this so I make sure to bring along several packs when I’ve got them on board my boat.
- Granola bars: This is the perfect snack and my go-to breakfast replacement. After all, when on my boat, I want more time fishing!
- Protein bars: My boat ain’t the gym but it sure feels like it when the current’s strong or if I’m trying to reel in a big fish! I need protein bars!
- Dark Chocolate: On and off my boat, you gotta have chocolates. I make sure I have enough stash when my family joins me on boating trips.
- Peanuts: Peanuts are some of the best ways to enjoy beer onboard a boat!
- Hazelnuts: Like peanuts, this is great with boat beer!
All these snacks will give you much-needed energy and it will prevent you from being hungry, cranky and sleepy.
Don’t Forget WATER!
When you are boating, usually everybody forgets about hydration Even if there is no sun, or you are in the shade, make sure that you have a lot of water.
Especially if you have a busy day, swimming around, playing with kids, grilling, your body spending energy and is perspiring. Usually on the boat and in the water is colder, so you don’t feel dehydration coming.
Bring A Map
No matter how good you know the water, you still need a map.
One of the most important things for being safe in nature is to know where you are. Water maps are useful for many reasons. One of the reasons is knowing the location. The other is knowing wake zones and speed limits.
Extra Clothes Or Blankets
Having extra clothes is very important.
I’ve learned this as a young kid going overnight fishing. I thought just because it’s the middle of the summer that I will be OK wearing short sleeves and shorts.
Boy, was I wrong?
Luckily, the fisherman I was with was generous and gave me some smelly old leather jacket to wear. Needles to say, I smelled of fish next 3 days.
There is no reason not to have some clothes in your storage, especially since pontoon boats have plenty of room for everything.
If you are proactive chances are you will avoid accidents. But if you are not, having the right boat emergency kit handy can save the day.
Be prepared. Know where are you going and what weather conditions you may encounter.
Have a plan in case something goes wrong, always.