Deck the Hulls: Boating Safety Kit

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Post co-authored by Michael Baron, USCG Recreational Boating Safety Specialist.

Looking for the perfect gift for the boater on your holiday list? The holiday season is a perfect time to arm your friends and family with safe boating essentials. No matter what the time or temperature, it is always important to encourage your loved ones to “boat responsibly.” Over the next two weeks the Compass will feature gift-giving ideas that every boating enthusiast will love, but more importantly will keep them safe.

SN Hall teaching how to throw a heaving line
Seaman Kenneth Hall teaches an elementary school student how to throw a heaving line, which can assist in rescuing an exhausted and fatigued swimmer. Coast Guard photo by PA3 Henry G. Dunphy.

There are only a few days left in the holiday shopping season, but there is still time to snag the perfect gift for boating aficionados and amateurs alike. If the boater on your shopping list already has other boating essentials, why not put together a boating safety kit.

Boaters are constantly in the market for new toys. Whistles, knives, personal marker lights, or a waterproof camera are all favorites. Whether it is a self-inflating key chain or a touch screen navigation unit, there is a high-tech device out there that can make boating fun and more safe.

Another item that would fit perfectly in the kit is a rescue heaving line. In the event that someone falls overboard, a mariner can use this heaving line to help pull in an exhausted and fatigued swimmer.

Something else not often seen aboard recreational vessels, but instrumental in helping in an overboard rescue, is a boarding ladder. These ladders may be a little large for a gift basket but can be stored compactly, and when deployed will greatly ease the process of getting someone back aboard.

First aid kit
When out on the water the nearest medical help can often be hours away so it is important to remember a first aid kit in the event of a medical emergency. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Seemingly simple things provide great value to a boater. Items like sunscreen, first aid kits, batteries, duct tape and flashlights are all practical gifts that boaters often forget in the excitement to get on the water. There is also an assortment of waterproof containers on the market that can safeguard anything from vessel registration documents and your cell phone to emergency food stores.

By providing the mariner in your life with these, along with other boating safety items, like a CO2 re-arming kit for that new inflatable life jacket, you are ensuring they continue to take the personal responsibility for their own safety and the safety of their passengers while aboard their vessel.

As you assemble your boating safety kit, let us know what you’ll include… and we hope you beat the holiday rush!

The U.S. Coast Guard asks all boat owners and operators to help reduce fatalities, injuries, property damage, and associated healthcare costs related to recreational boating accidents by taking personal responsibility for their own safety and the safety of their passengers. The U.S. Coast Guard reminds all boaters to “Boat Responsibly!”

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