On top of the required minimum safety equipment specified by Transport Canada and the recommended equipment found here on Smart Boater there are a number of additional items that are strongly recommended to help you deal with any unplanned emergency situations that may arise while enjoying a day on the water.
Spare Clothing in a Watertight Bag
If you will be on the water for more than a few hours, you may want to have spare clothing in a watertight bag. Don’t forget hats and clothing for foul weather. An extra set of clothing will be very welcome if you get wet and need a change.
Drinking Water and High Energy Snacks
Having drinking water and non-perishable snacks on board will help keep passengers properly nourished and hydrated should you encounter a minor breakdown which delays your return. It may also be all that’s needed to pacify younger children who are getting restless.
Tool Kits and Spare Parts
You may need to make repairs when you’re out on the water. Take along a tool kit and spare parts like fuses, bulbs, flashlight batteries, a spare propeller, nuts and bolts, penetrating oil, duct tape and spark plugs. You should also have and know how to use the tools and materials needed to stop hull leaks until you get to shore. Bring the owner’s manual and any other guidebook you might need on your trip.
First Aid Equipment
While boating, you may be far from medical help, so take a first aid kit with you. Store it in a dry place and replace used and outdated contents regularly. Pack it to meet your specific needs. Do you know the symptoms of cold shock, hypothermia, heat exhaustion and allergic reactions? Do you know how to stop bleeding, perform CPR or treat shock? If not, take a first aid course as soon as possible. Having first aid skills can make the difference between permanent injury and full recovery, or even life and death. To learn more about first aid training, contact the nearest training provider. Don’t forget the sun screen.
Carbon Monoxide Detector
Carbon Monoxide can be a real silent killer. It is colourless, odourless and tasteless and is a by product of gasoline and diesel engines. If you are at anchor and have an engine or generator running to provide power or charge the batteries, there is a real risk of carbon monoxide being blown into the cockpit and down into the cabin. This is especially likely if there is a breeze from astern. Installation of a carbon monoxide detector located near the helm or at the entrance to the cabin is strongly recommended.
A spare anchor can be deployed off of the stern to prevent lateral movement should the wind or current direction change. Alternatively, in stormy conditions, it can be deployed to supplement the holding power of the primary anchor.
Kill Switch Safety Lanyard
Most new boats come equipped with a kill switch and lanyard that should be attached to the operator so that if they fall overboard or are even knocked out of their seat, the lanyard will pull a clip and activate the engine kill switch. This facility should be tested on a regular basis.
A pre-departure checklist ensures that you have taken every precaution to ensure that your trip will be a round trip. The list will serve as a reminder to file a Trip Plan and check the weather. It will also cover such things as ensuring you have the proper working safety equipment and ample fuel supply (with additional reserves).