When you’re out sailing on the ocean, you’re at the mercy of Mother Nature - which means things can get sketchy very quickly. Thus, safety accessories are an absolute must to not only give you reassurance when embarking on a sailing adventure but to also get you out of trouble if things do take a turn for the worse. There are a plethora of safety accessories available these days and given the continued innovation surrounding technology – you can equip your boat with confidence.
A GPS locator like the Ocean Signal Rescue ME MOB1 is essential to have on-board so you can be located by vessels in your vicinity (up to a 5 mile range depending on the conditions). It has a 7-year battery life for your peace of mind and is intended to be installed within your life jacket where it will activate automatically on inflation, sending the first alert within 15 seconds. Additionally, the integrated strobe light will ensure maximum visibility in poor conditions. However, if you want the authorities to be alerted you’ll need the Rescue ME EPIRB1, which communicates directly via a dedicated search and rescue satellite network.
A life raft like the Ocean Safety Ocean Standard 8 Man is designed to keep you and your crew alive if your boat has sunk, capsized or burned in the ocean. It is the one piece of safety equipment you need but hope to never have to use. It’s important to note that a life raft doesn’t provide an awful lot of protection from the elements but it does act as a large visual and radar target for those who are looking for you. The Ocean Standard (and most other life rafts) comes equipped with the necessary safety accessories you’ll need if you find yourself in danger...
- Pair of oars
- Red hands flares
- Bailer and two spongers
- Waterproof torch and whistle
- Lifesaving signal cards
- Floating knife
- Repair clamps
- Rescue quoit and 30m line
- Bellows hand pump
At the end of the day, abandoning ship into a life raft is last resort kind of stuff. Make sure that you have tried everything in your power to stay on the boat, before making the decision to leave it and have your crew do the same. Remember, safety first then teamwork.
A VHF radio like the Icom M35 Waterproof Handheld keeps you connected to the land and others sailing around you. This is extremely comforting to say the least. The best thing about the Icom M35 is the clear audio boost. When you’re sailing, there are often a lot of noises such as engine noise, rain, waves and your crew, that can affect the quality of communication. The Icom M35 automatically adjusts the outgoing voice and the incoming audio to compensate for the ambient noise level. Basically, no matter where you are on the boat, you’ll be heard as clearly as possible. Other features include:
- Noise cancelling headphone
- Automatic volume adjustment
- 8 hours of operating time
- Instant access to channel 16 or programmable call channel
So, before you set sail, make sure you have a VHF radio. It could just save your life…
A flare such as the Odeo Distress Flare, a torch such as the Exposure M.O.B Floating Personal Searchlight, and a whistle such as the Palm Fox 40 are all going to help you at some point. Furthermore, each item is quite small, which means minimal space is going to be used. Also, I’m pretty sure you’re not allowed to operate a sailing boat without at least the flare and torch. Whether that statement is correct, you just need to have all three, as they serve a purpose and can make the difference between being rescued or not.
You already know what a flare does. Heck, everyone who’s seen a movie that has a boat, ship or epic yacht knows what a flare does. However, for those who are unfamiliar, a flare is a sudden brief burst of bright flame or light. It comes in the form of a ‘gun’ and all you have to do if you’re distressed is point it up towards the sky and./. pull the trigger. Boom! Someone will see the light and (hopefully) come to your aid.
Again, you know what a torch does. It shines light on the darkness. The reason why a torch is such a valuable accessory on a boat is because when the sun does set and a storm happens to roll through, you can find things on the boat, but more importantly you can find a member of your crew if one happens to go overboard. Hopefully you’ll never have to use a torch for the latter.
Remember the movie Titanic? Of course you do. Pretty sure Leo went into hiding for a couple of years after that right? Anyway, if it wasn’t for a whistle in the final scene, Rose would have met her maker – no doubt in my mind. Luckily for her, and us as viewers, there was a whistle which she was able to blow to get the attention of the rescue boat which inevitably picked her up. Big sigh of relief. Anyway, the point is, whistles are very handy if you want to get someone’s attention out on the ocean.
When it comes to sailing you can never have too many safety accessories. There are a lot more you can add such as knives, harnesses and goggles as well...
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