Coast Guard Required Safety Equipment Needed For Sailing
Sailing is one of the safest watersports that you can choose for you and your family to participate in. That being said there are potentially dangerous situations that can arise. The Coast Guard required safety equipment enables the skipper and crew to be better prepared for these emergencies. Here is a list of some of the required safety equipment that should be aboard your vessel:
Personal Floatation Devices (PFD) – A lifejacket is needed for every person onboard. It must be the correct size and fit properly. The law states that all persons under 14 years of age are required to wear a pfd at all times. With 70% of all boating deaths arising from drowning’s and 90% of them were not wearing a lifejacket, I encourage all my students to wear a pfd. The new inflatable pfd’s are very comfortable, non-restrictive, and easy to wear.
Type IV Throwable Device – In the event someone does fall overboard you need something to toss to them to keep them afloat. The new boat cushions are now approved and convenient throwable devices. The Lifesling, is an essential piece of safety equipment for all offshore cruisers.
Fire Extinguisher – These come in many types but the most common type onboard sailboats is a B/C type. B/C extinguishers put out both liquid and electrical fires. They must be Coast Guard approved and should be shaken several times a season to keep the powder from caking.
Sound Producing Device – The most popular and cost effective sound device is a sports horn. These are used for signaling bridge openings, passing situations, and in limited visibility situations.
Navigational Lights – All sailing vessels operating at night are required to have a combined red/green bow light and a white stern light. In addition they need to have a steaming light to be used when the engine is on. It is mounted on the front of the mast and is white. A 360 degree white anchor light must also be located at the top of the mast.
Flares – These are a pet peeve of mine. They are expensive, expire every three years, and are difficult to dispose of. I personally would find in more effective if the Coast Guard made an anchor required on sailboats and forego the flares. An epirb , gps, or modern cell phone can all be used as a search and resue locating device.
Along with your New Jersey Safe Boating license, registration, and towing insurance these safety items should make your sailing adventures both legal and safe for all your inland water excursions.