Essential safety equipment to have on-board
There are a number of essential pieces of equipment that you should have onboard your vessel for any trip. Other equipment may be required depending on the area that you intend to cruise around and the distance offshore.
Life jackets and flotation devices
Make sure you have enough life jackets in a serviceable condition for everyone on board. They should also be fitted properly, especially children’s life jackets, which should be fitted by a trained professional. For more information on how to make sure a life jacket fits correctly and how to wear one, see the links below:
RYA, RNLI and MCA Video
RNLI Life jacket Guide
We highly recommend wearing a life jacket, or flotation device for water-related activities, at all times. A properly maintained inflatable life jacket will keep your head out of the water and will right you onto your back if you are face down in the water, increasing your chances of survivability should you end up in the water.
It is essential that your life jackets are maintained properly to ensure they will work when you need them the most. Automatic life jacket inflation components usually need to be replaced at a certain time period and will be stamped with a manufacture and/or expiry date. If you are unsure, take your life jacket to a local reseller/chandlery for a service.
Jersey Coastguard in conjunction with the RNLI also offer life jacket clinics. These are free inspections of life jackets, where we can advise on their condition and any remedial action that may be required. Keep an eye out on social media and our website for more information on these events. If you are interested in arranging a clinic for your group or boat owners association, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Life rafts are available for almost all types of vessel, from four-man rafts that are in a holdall style carry case, to larger rafts that can be mounted on wheelhouse roofs. Life rafts must be maintained regularly and ensure you are competent with how to launch your life raft when you need it.
Flares / Pyrotechnics
Flare packs can be purchased locally through a marine chandlery store. Choose the pack you require based on the area you are intending to cruise around (inshore, coastal, offshore). The retailer will be able to advise you on the most suitable pack. Always replace flares when they become out of date. You can usually dispose of old flares with the retailer when purchasing a new set, or take them to the recycling depot at La Collette, handing them over to the recycling officer to be disposed of properly. Never dispose of flares with general rubbish due to the risk of fire or explosion causing serious harm. It is an offence to dispose of flares into the sea or fire your flares off (and this includes Bonfire Night on 5 November) other than in an emergency situation.
First Aid kit
Keep a suitably stocked first aid kit on-board, considering the distance from shore you are intending on cruising. A first aid course is also strongly recommended, in particular one focused on the marine environment.
You should carry fire extinguishers on board. Make sure you know what type you need/have and what type of fires they can be used on. If you have a built-in system in the engine area, ensure it is correctly maintained and you are aware of how to operate it if required.
SARTS, EPIRBS and PLB/AIS Beacons
There is a range of new products available on the market for alerting the Coastguard of distress on your vessel. Seek advice on the best suited products for your vessel and cruising area from local resellers. Ensure they are tested using the test function at the manufacturer’s prescribed intervals and replace batteries when required. If you accidentally activate one of these products, please phone Jersey Coastguard immediately on +44 (0) 1543 447705.
Other equipment to consider
Torches, fresh bottled water, handheld devices e.g. VHF (when in your tender), GPS.
RNLI Advice on Board sessions
If you are uncertain or need advice, in conjunction with the RNLI, Jersey Coastguard can provide you with an ‘Advice on Board’ session.
This free service can be done on a range of watercraft including boats, kayaks and jet-skis and will show you the safety equipment you need to carry and what to do when things go wrong. Life jacket inspections can also be carried out. For further details contact Jersey Coastguard directly on +44 (0) 1534 447705 or apply online at the following address:
RNLI Advice on board website. (https://rnli.org/safety/what-we-can-do-for-you)