crewsaver life jacket

Essential guide to yacht safety gear

It’s hard to beat being on the water with the wind in your hair, but knowing you’ve got all the right safety kit on board will make the trip even less stressful.

We love watersports, we really do, but it would be naïve to ignore the (small) possibility of something going wrong. However, with the correct preparation, you and your crew will be ready to face any eventuality and any risks will be considerably reduced.

Here’s our list of essential safety kit for yacht sailing, so you can head out on the water with confidence:

Life Jackets

This one is always first on the list because it really is so important. If someone falls overboard, even if they’re a strong swimmer or it’s a flat, calm sea, the shock of the cold water and eventually exhaustion from treading water can put them into a critical situation. A life jacket will not only keep them afloat, but also keep their airway clear of the water, even if they’re unconscious.

It’s no exaggeration to say that a life jacket can save your life, so making sure you have enough on board for your whole crew is essential for every trip. We have life jackets for every occasion on our website, so if you need help making your decision, have a read of our life jacket guide. If you’re taking kids out with you, we’ve got a brilliant guide to kids life jackets too.

As well as having enough life jackets on board, it’s important that they are all operating correctly. Make sure to do a check over of your kit before each season, and if you have any life jackets that need re-arming, you can shop re-arming kits here

Shop all life jackets here.

Safety knife

We’re not saying you should be taking a full-on pirate’s cutlass afloat with you like in the god old days, but a compact safety knife or marine tool is endlessly useful on dinghies as well as yachts, even in non-emergency situations. Trimming a loose end of rope, loosening a stubborn shackle and slicing up a tomato for lunch are all made easier by having one of these with you. More importantly, having a safety knife in an easy to reach position can tip the balance in a more serious situation, should you ever find yourself caught up in a rope and need to cut yourself free quickly.

Shop all marine tools and safety knives here.


Whether your electrics have cut out or you’re trying to attract attention, it’s worth having something a little brighter than the torch on your phone.

  • Having a bright torch with a long beam distance will be useful to have in case anyone falls overboard in the dark.
  • A headtorch is useful on night sails for checking rigging and generally getting around the deck safely (so that no one falls overboard in the first place).

Shop all torches here.

GPS locator

Thanks to modern technology, it’s much easier these days to locate boats in trouble or crew members who’ve fallen overboard, and it would be foolish not make the most of it. For your individual crew members, a MOB (man overboard) device installed onto their life jacket will make them much easier to locate should they be unlucky, especially in the dark or more turbulent seas.

Shop GPS locators and overboard alarms here.

Distress flare

In an emergency situation, a flare is a classic but still highly effective way of attracting attention and indicating your position to other crafts. Modern, battery powered flares are an innovative enhancement to traditional hand flares which relied on pyrotechnics. Risk of injury from flames and heat has been eliminated, and options like the Crewsaver Odeo Distress Flare will last for around 8 hours at full illumination, compared to the mere 30 seconds of traditional flares.

Shop all distress flares here.


Browse our wide range of yacht safety gear here.

Written by Eliza Tilbury

Published on 14th September 2020 in Sailing

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