Stuff to Have on Your Small Boat
Even if your boat is very small and moves by oars or sail,
you want to be prepared to help yourself or others.
Here is a minimum list of stuff to take with you on your boat.
At least one PFD (life jacket) for everyone onboard. Always wear your PFD when in your boat.
A whistle – make sure it is one that works if it gets wet. If the weather turns bad (or it gets dark) and you can’t see very well (or can’t be seen by bigger boats), blowing your whistle will let other boaters know where you are. If you find yourself in trouble, blow it to attract the attention of anyone who may be in the area. This is a recognized help signal, so only use it when you really need help
|A flashlight – you may need it so that other boats can see you if the weather turns bad. Also, you can use it to signal in the dark. The Morse code signal – SOS (HELP!) – looks like this:|
|Two oars and a way to keep them in the boat if it tips. When not using the oars, be sure they are properly in the oar locks.|
|A bucket or can to bail out any water that gets in the boat. You can also use it to signal SOS by tapping out 3 quick-3 slower-3 quick taps.|
|A First Aid kit that you have learned how to use.|
|A blanket. If your clothes get wet, you can easily (and very quickly) lose heat from your body, a condition called hypothermia. Removing your wet clothes and wrapping yourself in a blanket will help you stay warm.|
|Two ropes – called lines on a boat. You can use them to tie up the boat and also to help a person overboard get back to and in the boat.|
|A mirror or shiny object for daytime signaling.|
|Two garbage bags for rain ponchos or shelter from the weather. You can “make a tent” over your boat to protect you in a rainstorm.|
|A plastic bag to keep these items dry and secure. An orange plastic bag is especially good because it can also be used to signal for help.|
Okay . . . ready to go? Ooooops, one more thing! Before you go anywhere, tell an adult where you are going, where you plan to boat and when you expect to be back. This way, if you don’t return on time, they’ll know where to start looking for you! This is called a float plan .