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So you’ve got the boat, but what do you need on it?

There are plenty of opinions out there but here is the Coastguard approved list of what you should have on your vessel when you head out.

Must haves

Communication and safety gear

  • Make sure you have a Coastguard membership - we'll have your back out on the water whenever you need us. 
  • VHF radio – fixed or handheld, make sure you know how to use it! 
  • EPIRB/PLB – one or both, which one is best for you? 
  • Mobile phone and a waterproof case
  • The Coastguard app – for up to the minute weather info and more 
  • Flares – know what type and how to use them
  • One lifejacket per person – fit for purpose and the right size, preferably with a crotch straps
  • First aid kit

For your boat

  • Fire extinguisher
  • Food and water
  • Extra clothing
  • Sunblock
  • Spare bungs
  • Knife
  • Torch
  • Anchor – 1.5kg per metre of boat
  • Secondary propulsion – an auxiliary engine or a paddle
  • Bailer – a bucket or other container that can quickly put water back where it needs to be
  • Rope and a spare – a strong throw/tow line
  • Spare engine parts – make sure your engine has been serviced recently
  • Extra fuel – remember the rule of thirds: 1/3 to get you there, 1/3 to get you back and 1/3 spare
  • Toolkit – including a spare spark plug and spark plug spanner

Good to have

  • Bilge pump
  • Charts and compass
  • GPS
  • Secondary anchor in case something happens to your main one
  • Sea anchor
  • Depth finder

That’s a pretty long list, but once you’ve got all the gear you know you’re prepared for most eventualities.

But all the gear in the world won’t help when the unexpected happens, so make sure you’ve got yourself a Coastguard membership – it’s just $115 a year for free assistance out on the water, from a flat battery to something more serious. Our trained volunteers are ready to help and get you home safe, free of charge.

Now do you know what to do with all that gear? Before you head out check out the Day Skipper course and VHF Operator certificate courses below. Coastguard members get great discounts on these and more courses. 

Boatie's Best Mate.

Get a Coastguard membership today for peace of mind when you’re out boating.