Sailing season is upon us, but before you head out onto the water on your boat, it’s important to make sure you have the right tools to hand. Take a look at this list of must-have items in order to prepare for any eventuality.
A decent set of charts, whether the latest electronic GPS charts or simply updated paper ones, are a must. While many areas of the country are well marked, you must have updated charts. With electronic charts available for tablets at under £50 for the whole country, there’s no excuse not to have the latest charts at your fingertips.
A well fitted and serviced lifejacket will do more to save your life if you fall overboard than nearly any other piece of safety equipment. Don’t forget to wear the crotch straps, and to deploy a sprayhood to keep waves out of your mouth.
An old Scandinavian proverb says that ‘there is no such thing as bad weather: only inappropriate clothing’. With this in mind, nothing is likely to ruin your day on the water as much as being wet and cold – so ensure that you and any family members are dressed appropriately. That means lots of thin layers, which are far better at trapping heat than thicker jumpers, as well as the best quality waterproofs you can afford. Last but not least, don’t forget to take a hat!
While mobile phones work well inshore, there is no substitute for a working VHF radio when on the water. The best type is a fixed set with an aerial at the masthead, but even a handheld VHF will do the job. You’ll need an operator’s licence to use it, and the boat requires a radio license. Click here for further information.
The almanacs published by Reed’s or the Cruising Association are invaluable, even in these days of electronics in the palm of your hand. It contains port information, safety advice, and tidal data for the UK and Northern Europe. It will be the best £30 you’ll spend all year.
Fires on board are the stuff of nightmares, and boats – with fuel, gas and fibreglass – are ultra-flammable. Make sure you have suitable extinguishers on board, and know how to use them. Automatic engine room extinguishers are a good safeguard, as is an extinguisher near the stove and a fire blanket in the galley.
Even weight-conscious racing boats carry a basic toolkit on board. As a minimum, carry a screwdriver for each type of screw head on board, with spanners to fit popular sizes of nuts and a hacksaw for emergencies. If you have space; spare nuts, bolts, split pins and engine consumables could well come to the rescue and save your day on the water.
Waterproof phone case
These days, we use our phones for everything, from messaging to navigation and amateur photography. Mobile phones don’t tend to last long if they get wet, so make sure yours is protected with a shock and waterproof case.
While you don’t want an accident to spoil your day on the water, taking your insurance details and certificate with you will ensure that should anything go wrong, you know who to call to sort it out. Some marinas can request proof of insurance as a condition of entry, so it’s for the best to have it with you.
There is no better place to find insurance than Insure4Boats. We offer a competitive boat insurance quote for plenty of different types of boats, crafts and vessels. Our policies take into account the type of boat and your cover requirements, as well as your age and experience. Click the following link to get a boat insurance quote today.