Over 87 million Americans participate in recreational boating. And as summer approaches, you might be preparing your own vessel to head out on the open water. To be sure, boating can provide hours of fun — but it can also be hazardous. You’ll need to prepare for any possible event to protect yourself and the ones you love. To that end, we’re sharing five essentials you should have aboard your boat that can keep you safe.

Life Jackets and Floatation Devices

The first items on this safety list should come as no surprise. Wearable, accessible PFDs (personal floatation devices) are crucial gear to have on board any boat. You should have more than enough life jackets for every person on your boat; these should be worn at all times by children under 12 or by anyone riding a personal watercraft. Make sure everyone knows how to access and properly wear their life jackets, as this is the very first task you should take care of in an emergency scenario. You should also have throwable floatation devices on board, such as cushions or buoys, with lines attached. Although there are certain types and numbers of PFDs that are required by law, you should always err on the side of caution and bring along extra protection.

Fire Extinguishers

You might assume that fire won’t be a big concern when you’re on the water, but you’d be wrong. Any boat that’s powered by a motor comes with an inherent fire risk, so you’ll need to have at least one fire extinguisher on board. Depending on the size of your boat, you may need more than one. These extinguishers need to be hand-portable and designated for marine craft. These should be stored in an accessible place for convenient use. Be sure to go over the instructions on how to operate this equipment with anyone who comes on board.

Distress Signal Equipment

No one imagines that their boat trip will turn into a crisis, but it can happen. That’s why you need to carry visual distress signal devices on board. It’s best to carry both daytime and nighttime visual distress signals, such as flares, strobes, pyrotechnic items, or flags. Depending on the size and type of vessel you operate, the requirements for visual distress signals may vary.

Sound-Emitting Devices

In addition to visual signals, you’ll also need to bring along sound signals. Not only can you utilize these tools in the event of an emergency, but you can also use them during foggy conditions or when approaching other boats on the water. Horns (portable or fixed versions), whistles, and bells are all good examples. Do not assume you can rely on your own voice to alert others of your presence. These sound signals must be audible to anyone within a half-mile radius for at least a few seconds, so you’ll need to outfit your boat with the proper equipment.

Marine Isolation Transformers

In addition to this necessary safety equipment, it’s also recommended that you have a marine isolation transformer on board. Marine isolation transformers are meant to prevent galvanic isolation and marine corrosion. These devices, sometimes known as marine-pucks, do more than protect your boat from damage. They can also improve overall electrical safety and reduce the risk of electrical shock, particularly when a boat is docked in a marina. To ensure everyone on board and around your boat remain unharmed, installing a marine isolation transformer is recommended.

Now that you know what you need to improve safety while boating this summer, you’re ready to outfit your vessel with the proper equipment. To learn more about obtaining the best marine isolation transformer for your needs, please contact us today.