Select Page

Safety equipment is an important part of boat preparation and it is advisable for all pleasure craft skippers to check their vessel is properly equipped. Below are some useful pleasure craft safety equipment recommendations from the UK’s Royal Yachting Association (RYA).

Pleasure craft safety equipment recommendations

All skippers should be mindful of any laws that exist in their country regarding pleasure craft safety equipment recommendations. It makes sense wherever you are to keep a vessel appropriately equipped and for that equipment to be serviced and up to date. Some boat owners are put off doing this because pleasure craft safety equipment can be costly and might never be used. It is unwise to ignore pleasure craft safety equipment recommendations and not to keep a check of equipment expiry dates.

There are strict laws for commercial vessels and for pleasure vessels over 13.7 metres in length. However, no statutory requirements exist for pleasure craft under 13.7 metres in length other than those stipulated in SOLAS V. SOLAS V is part of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea and can be downloaded via the internet.

The lists below cover essential, mandatory and recommended items for vessels up to 13.7 metres and over 13.7 metres in length.

Pleasure craft safety equipment recommendations – vessels up to 13.7m in length

Essential:

Lifejacket (or buoyancy aid) for all on board.
Safety harnesses (varies with type of boat).
Kill cord and spare (varies with type of boat).
Marine Radio (VHF).
Chart(s), Almanac and Pilot Book.
Hand Bearing Compass.
Handheld white flares or powerful torch (for collision avoidance).
406 MHz EPIRB/PLB (varies with area of operation).
Distress Flares.
First Aid Kit.
Liferaft and Grab bag (varies with area of operation).
Firefighting equipment.
Equipment to deal with a man overboard (life ring, dan buoy etc.).
Emergency tiller (for wheel steered boats) (varies with type of boat).
Equipment to deal with water ingress (Bailer, Bilge Pump, Bungs).
Bucket (strong with lanyard).
Emergency VHF aerial for fixed VHF (varies with type of boat).
Anchor and cable/warp.
Tools and spares (engine, electrics, rig, sails).
Boarding ladder.
Spare fuel.
Waterproof torches.
Mooring lines and fenders.
Knife.
Pump and puncture repair kit (for inflatable boats).
Alternative means of propulsion (oars, outboard engine etc).
Ship’s log book.
Accurate clock or watch.

Pleasure craft safety equipment recommendations – vessels up to 13.7m in length

Mandatory:

Radar reflector.
Lifesaving signals.
Navigation lights, day shapes and sound signalling equipment.

Pleasure craft safety equipment recommendations – vessels up to 13.7m in length

Recommended:

LW radio.
Fixed steering compass (lit at night).
Drawing instruments for navigation (plotters and dividers).
Binoculars.
Echo sounder.
Log.
GPS/Chart Plotter.
Navtex.
Barometer (varies with area of operation).
Storm sails (for sailing yachts) (varies with area of operation).
Bosun’s chair (for sailing yachts) (varies with type of boat).
Tender.
Tow rope.
Boat hook.

Pleasure craft safety equipment recommendations – vessels up to 13.7m in length

At your discretion:

MF/HF radio (varies with area of operation).
SSB radio and / or satellite phone (varies with area of operation).
Automated Identification System (AIS).
Radar.
SART/ AIS SART (varies with area of operation).
Propeller guards and rope cutters.
Sea anchor and/or drogue (varies with area of operation).

Pleasure craft safety equipment recommendations – vessels over 13.7m in length

Essential:

Lifejacket (or buoyancy aid) for all on board.
Safety harnesses.
Kill cord and spare (varies with type of boat).
Chart(s), Almanac and Pilot Book.
Hand Bearing Compass.
406 MHz EPIRB/PLB (varies with area of operation).
Distress Flares.
First Aid Kit.
Emergency tiller (for wheel steered boats).
Equipment to deal with water ingress (Bailer, Bilge Pump, Bungs).
Emergency VHF aerial for fixed VHF (varies with type of boat).
Anchor and cable/warp.
Tools and spares (engine, electrics, rig, sails).
Spare fuel.
Waterproof torches.
Mooring lines and fenders.
Knife.
Pump and puncture repair kit (for inflatable boats).
Alternative means of propulsion (oars, outboard engine etc).
Ship’s log book.
Accurate clock or watch.

Pleasure craft safety equipment recommendations – vessels over 13.7m in length

Mandatory:

Radar reflector.
Lifesaving signals.
Navigation lights, day shapes and sound signalling equipment.
Marine Radio (VHF).
MF/HF radio (varies with area of operation).
Handheld white flares (for collision avoidance) or powerful torch.
Liferaft and Grab bag (varies with area of operation).
Firefighting equipment.
Equipment to deal with a man overboard (life ring, dan buoy etc.).
Bucket (strong with lanyard).
Boarding ladder.

Pleasure craft safety equipment recommendations – vessels over 13.7m in length 

Recommended:

Fixed steering compass (lit at night).
Drawing instruments for navigation (plotters and dividers).
Binoculars.
Echo sounder.
Log.
GPS/Chart Plotter.
Navtex.
Barometer.
Storm sails (for sailing yachts).
Bosun’s chair (for sailing yachts).
Tender.
Tow rope.
Boat hook.

Pleasure craft safety equipment recommendations – vessels over 13.7m in length

At your discretion:

SSB radio and / or satellite phone.
Automated Identification System (AIS).
Radar.
SART/ AIS SART.
Propeller guards and rope cutters.
Sea anchor and/or drogue.

Top Ten Tips For Learning The ColRegs Boating Rules Of The Road

Colregs Boating Rules Of The Road Skippers struggle to learn and remember the ColRegs Yachtmaster and Day Skipper course...

Distress flares – which flare, how & when to use?

How to use distress flares at sea Flares should be kept in a waterproof container in an easily accessible location such as a...

First Aid at Sea – strains and sprains

Strains and sprains respond well to rest and cooling. Wrap ice in a tea towel before applying. First Aid at Sea Strains and...

Essential Knots: Clove hitch

Essential Knots: Clove hitch Use: Tying a rope to posts, bollards, rings or a guardrail. Step 1. Make a turn around the object and lay...

Sailing & Motoring in Fog

Sailing & Motoring in Fog You can only measure the visibility accurately if sailing & motoring in fog when you have...

Repairing a leaking hull-to-deck joint

If you suspect a hull-to-deck joint has failed, then being absolutely sure where the actual leak is occurring is of prime...

Boat Handling – anchoring

Anchoring your yacht or motorboat Anchoring is one of the most important boat handling skills. If you can set an anchor...

Learn ColRegs: Traffic Separation Schemes

Learn ColRegs Rule 10: Traffic Separation Schemes. (c) A vessel shall, so far as practicable, avoid crossing traffic lanes...

Seized fixings and fastenings

Maintaining a boat can be a rewarding experience but at times it can also be frustrating. A prime example of this is when you come across a seized fixing or fastening that refuses to budge. Read our tips on how to release and fix them:

Boatyard Health and Safety

Boat storage facilities are potentially hazardous environments and it is the responsibility of both boat owners and boatyards to ensure that the...

Understanding your boat’s compass

Article submitted by Mike Rossiter, Certificated Compass Adjuster. Since the magnetic compass was first used by the Chinese...

Sail boat rig checks – Part 2

In part two of Sail boat rig checks we run through some useful rig maintenance tips and then finish with a brief look at what a professional rig check involves.

Boat Engine Failure – what to check

Engine failure If your engine fails or is overheating there are a number of things to check immediately: • Air filter...

Top 5 Reasons Why an Inflatable SUP Should Be Your Next Yacht Accessory

In this article, inflatable paddle board expert Jason Paul gives the top 5 reasons why an inflatable SUP should be your next...

An explanation of the IALA maritime buoyage systems – IALA A and IALA B

What are the differences between the two IALA buoyage systems, IALA Region A and IALA Region B, and where are they used?   As recently as the 1970s...

Avoiding collisions at sea – how to stay safe on the water

Boats have many blind spots, including the headsails of sailing boats. Always keep a lookout, stay safe and remember that...

Sector lights, directional lights, leading lights – how do they differ?

Sector lights, directional lights and leading lights guide vessels safely through hazardous waters or narrow channels at...

Hull inspection – the annual checks

With the boat ashore for the winter it is time to do a hull inspection - the annual checks. Are there any scratches and chips in the...

Keel maintenance and Repair – Part 2

If you have ever witnessed a boat colliding with a rock or other submerged obstacle you will know that there is an almighty thump and the whole boat shakes and judders. While such hard groundings seldom result in catastrophic keel failure, something has to give and even the sturdiest keels can easily be damaged by such an impact.

First Aid Afloat – fish spine injury

First Aid Afloat - Here is what to do if somebody stands on a fish spine: • Check for dangers. Is it safe for you to enter...

Essential Knots: Bowline

Essential Knots: Bowline Use: Making a secure eye or loop in the end of a rope. Bowlines have many uses on a boat, for example to make a...

First Aid Afloat – how to deal with a fracture at sea

First Aid Afloat A closed fracture does not break through the skin. An open fracture is when the bone punctures it. A...

ColRegs – avoiding collisions at sea

ColRegs - avoiding collisions at sea ColRegs Rule 8: Action to avoid collision (a) Any action taken to avoid collision shall...

ColRegs Rule 14 – Head-on Situation

  ColRegs Rule 14: Head-on Situation (a) When two power-driven vessels are meeting on reciprocal or nearly reciprocal...

VHF DSC radio – how best to communicate at sea

There are many ways to communicate with others at sea. What makes the VHF DSC radio the best form of short range...