Safety Always Comes First
Owning a boat is tons of fun. But it’s also a huge responsibility—to yourself, your passengers and other boaters. That’s why you must keep essential safety equipment onboard, inspect it periodically and keep it in good working order. Here’s some basic gear that will help keep you protected.
Life jackets and wearable personal flotation devices (PFDs)
An accessible, wearable PFD (Type I, II, or III) is a life jacket that must be available for each person on board. If you’re towing a skier or have a wake surfer behind the boat, he or she will need a PFD as well. Kids 12 and under must always wear their PFD on a moving vessel. Your pets should also wear a lifejacket while onboard.
Throwable flotation devices
You also need at least one floating device (Type IV) that you can toss to someone in the water in case of trouble. It can be a cushion, a ring buoy or other device; though only one is required, it’s better to have several. Some of these items may come with a line attached so you can pull a person closer to the boat and then get him out of the water.
Vessels that are 26 to a bit under 40 feet long need two B-1 types or one B-2 type.
Visual signaling devices
Visual distress signals can come in a variety packages and there are different requirements by size of vessel and even by the state where you go boating. Boats more than 16 feet must carry visual signals for day and night use. Examples of pyrotechnic devices or flares that would qualify are orange or white smoke and aerial light flares. Some flares are self-launching, while others require a flare gun to send them up. Flags can be used during the day and strobe lights at night.
Sounds can attract help day and night, and are especially effective in fog. Portable or fixed horns and whistles count as sound-generating devices for all boats. Vessels over 39 feet should carry a bell to be rung at regular intervals when there’s limited visibility, such as when it’s foggy.
Let Fork Boat Storage be your choice for housing your vessel. We’re at 4683 FM 515. Contact us at 903-765-3600. And for after-hours help, call Ryan at 781-367-1744.