Boating & Marine Accessories

What are the Six Types of Buoyancy Aids?

A life jacket should be selected to match the specific boating practice. A buoyancy limit of 7-12 pounds is practical for most adults.

Inflatable Life Jacket

Here are six of the most effective buoyancy aids in the market:


An offshore life jacket is a reliable option for keeping the boater safe in open and rough waters. This style of life jacket is designed to automatically turn the wearer so their face is up while also providing a good 18-22 pounds of buoyancy. A heavy-duty safety aid of this nature is the preferred option for those sailing in remote locations that might need more time to wait for the rescue services.

Near shore

A near shore buoyancy vest is similar to the classic style of the life jacket and is a practical choice for those sailing in inland or calm waters. Plus, these adult or child size life jackets are more effective when fast rescue is likely. This is a much more cost-effective alternative of the offshore version and certain brands still have the ability to turn the person face-up if knocked unconscious.

Buoyancy aid

A versatile buoyancy aid is the most comfortable option and a practical choice for a variety of water sports and activities. This life jacket comes in several sizes and styles and best in situations that permit a fast rescue service. Also, the basic buoyancy aid isn’t able to help with turning the unconscious person.


A throwable device (horseshoe buoys, ring buoys, and boat cushions) is made and designed to be easy to throw into the water to help a person that has fallen overboard. This type of device isn’t intended to be worn. Several of these throwable devices should be kept on board in the event of an emergency – but they aren’t a practical choice for the unconscious person, non-swimmers, or small children.

Specific use

A specific use device consists of the hybrid life jackets, inflatable life jacket w/ ORC/ISAF harness, work vests, pullover vests, deck suits, and boardsailing vests. Most of these wearable life jackets or vests are only practical for certain situations.


An inflatable life jacket comes with an inflatable chamber that is built to give the desired level of assistance once inflated. Prior to inflating the life jacket, it is significantly smaller in size compared to the more traditional life saving devices. This type of life jacket can provide a variety of functions. It can vary in relation to the inflation mechanism, in-water performance, and amount of buoyancy. By determining the details of the specific life jacket it is possible to determine the specific use of the device. Plus, for extra safety most of the inflatable life jackets come with a built-in back up system.

Each buoyancy device comes with an owners manual or jacket label which will clearly outline the specific use of the intended device.

In summary

A approve life jacket (at the appropriate size) is needed on board for each person to comply with current rules and regulations. Plus, a throwable devise should be included on boats at 16-ft or more.

Safety at Sea

6 Safety Items to Include on Pleasure Craft

A well-prepared selection of safety equipment is certain to help in difficult situations.

Buoyancy Aid

Here are six of the most common items to keep on board the vessel:

Smoke alarm

A high-quality smoke alarm is designed to emit a LOUD noise which should be easily heard over other sounds on the boat, such as the engines. Also, a loud smoke detector is practical for alerting the offices at the boat yard should a fire break when the vessel is left unoccupied.

Fire extinguishers

A vessel should be installed with a sufficient number of fire extinguishers to match the type and size of vessel. Plus, boats with a cabin or cooking facilities can benefit from a fire blanket. An automatic fire extinguisher system is highly recommended in vessels with an enclosed engine space. A small fire extinguisher located by each cabin is a practical option. Plus, a carbon monoxide alarm is helpful for vessels with cookers or similar applications with flames.

Emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB)

An EPIRB is a radio transmitter that emits a signal on a specific channel in the event of emergencies or distress. Signals emitted from the radio beacon are recognized by satellites and these are effective at pinpointing the location of the signal. This information is then passed on to the rescue services.

An emergency position indicating radio beacon can be registered with the local coastguard service to make it easier to identify the boat in distress, while also giving information on contacts that are shore based.

Distress flares

An instantly recognizable signal of distress is the inshore or coastal flares. Distress flares should form part of any well-packed inventory of safety equipment.

First aid kit

A fully stocked first aid kit is likely to be the most common piece of safety equipment that is kept on board a vessel.

Life jackets and buoyancy aids

There are two types of personal floatation devices: Life jackets and buoyancy aids

A regular buoyancy aid is effective at keeping anyone in the water afloat and on the surface. It is a practical choice while involved in a sports activity or similar. However, this type of buoyancy aid isn’t helpful if the person is unconscious and their face is facing down.

The preferred choice for life safety is the life jacket which has built-in buoyancy to help turn a person so that they are facing up, which is a practical benefit for those knocked unconscious. A proper life jacket is critical in situations of abandoning ship or similar emergencies. Plus, an infant or child life jacket is available to ensure the right fit and support is given.

What to wear?

Buoyancy aid: Use the buoyancy aid when engaging in water sport activities like water skiing, canoeing, kayaking; windsurfing, riding a personal watercraft (PWC), or using a sailing dinghy.

Life jacket: A life jacket is the safety option when on a small open or power boat. A boat should have one life jacket for each person on board. Use a life jacket at all times for the non-swimmer when out on rivers, lakes, canals, or other open waters.

Boating & Marine Accessories

Must-Have Gear and Equipment for the Day Sailor

There are a variety of ways to enjoy a sailing adventure, from the offshore passages to the day sails, but certain things need to be in place to guarantee a fun and enjoyable trip.

Sailing KnivesA quality selection of essential sailing equipment and gear is certain to help the skipper and passengers on board, and might include:

Foul Weather Gear

If you are likely to experience foul weather on a sailing holiday it is worth investing in a high quality selection of foul weather gear, which should make certain you are kept warm and dry at all times. A quality selection of gear is certain to make a complete difference between having a miserable time and a great time where you can be kept dry and warm even in conditions of torrential rainfall.


A personal grab-bag is perfect with storing valuables such as a cell phone, visa, passport, keys, wallet, insurance documents (plus other important paperwork), and refill medications. A grab-and-go bag can be kept in a zip lock or dry bag to ensure the contents are kept safe and dry at all times.

Handheld light

A handheld light (or headband) is the perfect tool to illuminate the outside in low-light conditions. A preferred type of light is a white light that is high intensity with an option to include a red filtered light that toggles on and off. Red filters are appreciated for giving the option to maintain the night vision.

A headband light is a practical choice to keep the hands free while working at night, such as checking the sail trim, working in the engine space, and charting the navigation.


One quality knife on board a sail boat is certain to benefit the dinghy sailors and racers and acts as an item of personal safety equipment. Use the knife to cut ropes or other synthetic materials that are common on sailboats. Knives come in a wide range of styles and sizes, such as the simple units to those with LED lights built-in.

Lifejacket or Personal Flotation Device

If you really want to make certain that you are safe at all times on a boating holiday, a quality set of PFDs should be in attendance for all those that are on board the vessel. Many of the modern life jackets are quite unobtrusive and comfortable, which should ensure you aren’t left wearing something that is overly bulky and uncomfortable for a considerable period of time. A quality PFD is likely to be equipped with comfortable mesh padding and an ability to inflate automatically in those times of difficulties.

Sailing Gloves

A specialized pair of sailing gloves is certain to help with improving the grip when it comes to hauling the lines. If you are likely to be involved in handling the sailing boat, a quality pair of sailing gloves is certain to be a wise investment. Many of these gloves feature cutoff fingers and padded palms, which is able to provide a great balance between flexibility and comfort.

Safety at Sea

What to Expect With the First Sailing Lesson

Even though it is possible for the sailor to self-tutor using a boat and a book, the more effective option is likely to relate to attending an official sailing school.

Sailing Lesson

There is a varied range of sailing schools that offer many opportunities to learn the beginner to advanced skills for helming a sailboat. A learn to sail vacation is certain to be enjoyed by those that want to experience a practical sailing vacation.

The right way to learn

An essential aspect of learning to sail is to learn it the right way. Safe operation of a sailboat goes far beyond putting on a life-jacket. A more advanced aspect relates to learning the movement of the wind and waves. If planning to sail on the open waters, it is critical to have at least a basic understanding of the unpredictable nature of the conditions. Gaining the proper skill and knowledge is certain to help handle the conditions more effectively and efficiently.

Classroom setting

In the early lessons most of the sailing schools – commercial, community, or yacht club – are likely to start with a classroom setting. Prior to stepping on board a vessel for practical lessons, you really need to have a full appreciation of what to expect and experience. A classroom might be a pier or beach instead of a regular room, but you are still getting the same fundamental learning advice and guidance.

Starting out, a student is likely to be instructed on the basics, like marine terminology and parts of the sailing boat, since this is certain to be different from our day-to-day language. A need to have sailboat literacy is highly beneficial if you want a good understanding of what the instructor is communicating once the practical lessons start.

Learn the fundamentals of boating

It also helps the student to have a fundamental understanding of how the boat operates, such as how the sails and hull harnesses the wind. In many situations it is likely to be easier to explain these types of issues ashore with the help of pictures, drawings, and model boats.

Begin with the practical tuition

Once the practical tuition starts, a motivated individual that is able to receive intensive training over a two or three day period is certain to be able to rig a small sailboat, launch from the beach or dock, and experience an incident-free sailing trip for a number of hours. On return, and they will also be able to go through the motions of unrigging and laying up the vessel.

With the basics of sailing leant, a sailor is soon able to advance to sail single-handed with the larger sized day sailing boats in local waterfront towns or for hiring a charter vessel in a more exotic destination for a sailing holiday.

Get familiar with the boat

Spend a lot of time with a sailboat to become familiar with handling. Get to the point of becoming familiar with the different movements made by the boat. Over time the actions made in the boat will start to become second nature and this makes it easier to understand the effects of wind and waves.

Safety at Sea

7 Safety Tips for Boating with Children

Avoiding boat mishaps with babies and children on board is certain to prevent issues with being fearful and providing memories that can last a lifetime.

Boating with ChildrenHere are seven safety tips to abide by when boating with children:

1 – Encourage the family

Let other members of the family become familiar with certain aspects of operating the boat. A family with more knowledge and experience is certain to mean less danger and accidents on board. Children can be shown how to trim the sails, operate the anchor, switch electrical items on and off, use manual winches, and start or stop the engine.

2 – Get Home

Are other family members able to helm the boat and set sail for home if the skipper is in distress? If planning to go boating with a child it is a practical precaution to teach the basic skills of using the VHF radio, engine starting and stopping, Chartplotter reading, electrical switchboard use, and emergency channel knowledge.

3 – Inflatables & Dinghies

Small children love to engage with inflatable toys and dinghies, while an outboard motor attached can also be quite appealing. Make sure the children are instructed with basic safety and handling techniques. A danger area is other boat users or swimmers, so ensure an inflatable is kept well clear of others and proper boundary rules are outlined.

4 – Life jackets

Abide by standard rules and regulations and ensure each child on board has a life jacket to increase safety in the event of falling overboard. Any life jacket worn should be at the appropriate size to match the child. Avoid an over-sized life jacket because this has the potential to entangle a child and make things more difficult in an emergency situation. A well-fitted life jacket should give a snug fit and should stay securely in place. A life vest can also benefit from a neck support to ensure a child’s head is kept out of the water. Plus, use a life jacket that automatically inflates for extra safety.

5 – No Go Areas

Let the children know the no go areas on the boat like forward of the cockpit on a motor-driven yacht or bow of a motor-launch when in motion. Plus, make sure children don’t use (or left close to) the companion way when the boat is under power. A small child left close to an open companion way might well fall through in a heavy breeze or wave. Plus, boating activities like berthing or mooring up can be quite stressful, so asking the children to be quite during this time is often advised.

6 – Pontoon or dock safety

Don’t let the children run on the pontoon or deck area, and for extra safety ensure a life jacket is worn. A dock area has joints, hoses, ropes, cleats, etc. that can easily result in trip hazards. Falling in the water at a marina can be dangerous for a small child, so take extra care and attention around this particular area.

7 – Safety drills

Regularly conduct fire and safety drills to ensure everyone on board knows what to do in the event of an emergency. Locations of escape hatches should be known.

Safety at Sea

11 Safety Tips to Using Inflatable Rafts, Canoes & Kayaks

Inflatable boats such as white water rafts, canoes, kayaks, etc. are extensively available and made water sports a mainstream activity.

Inflatable Kayak for White Water RaftingWhile a reliable and high-quality boat can be helpful it is also critical to practice safety and take precautionary measures with an inflatable to avoid accidents. Mishaps at sea are easily caused by ill-preparedness, ignorance, and negligence.

Here are eleven tips for staying safe while in control of the inflatable boat:

1 – Alert skipper

Similar to road vehicles, avoid operating the inflatable when under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or at times of illness. Controlling the boat on rough waters can require an alert and quick mind so make sure the skipper is always in a position to instantly make the proper handling decision.

2 – Boat safety course

A practical method to enhance the boating knowledge and navigation skills is to complete a boat safety course. An in-class or online course can teach everything there is to know about the safety operation of the boat.

3 – Boat skills

Be familiar with the all-round handling skills of the inflatable before venturing out on the water. Get experienced before taking charge of the inflatable and rely on those with experience or use less challenging and shallow water to get a full appreciation of using the boat.

4 – Life jackets

To comply with local rules and regulations make sure a life jacket is made available for each person on board the inflatable. Plus, the life jackets should be at the correct size (adult or child) to match those on the boat.

5 – Outboard motor

Give the outboard motor a test and visual inspection before setting off to ensure it is fully operational. Also, ensure there is enough fuel (with some spare) to complete the intended trip.

6 – Safety equipment

Make sure the inflatable boat is outfitted with the essential safety equipment before leaving port. Compile a checklist of safety equipment that can be quickly checked before setting off. Essential safety equipment includes:

  • Emergency repair kit
  • First aid kit
  • Flares
  • Flashlight
  • Handheld radio
  • Life jackets
  • Maps
  • Mobile phone
  • Personal floatation device

7 – Seated position

Passengers should stay in a seated position while the inflatable is moving to increase safety and avoid falling overboard.

8 – Shore party

Let a nominated person know the intended itinerary, how long you expect to be out, and personal details of those on-board.

9 – Swimmers

Avoid unsafe areas such as those that attract swimmers or other water sport activities. If it is necessary to pass through an area with swimmers make sure to keep a watchful eye on the water to avoid any mishaps.

10 – Taking passengers

A backup skipper or at least someone with knowledge of operating an inflatable is certain to benefit when passengers are on board. A nominated person should be available to take control of the boat in the event something happens to the skipper.

11 – Water regulations

Make sure to have a practical understanding of the local water regulations for the body of water that you intend on using. Check with the local authorities if you aren’t entirely sure of what is involved.

Safety at Sea

5 Basic Boating Safety Tips for Dogs

Dogs and water can be fun and enjoyable for some, but not all dogs like being out on a boat or kayak.

Dogs and Boats

Dogs have different characters and the type and size of vessel can have a significant impact. A large vessel like a ferry ride shouldn’t be an issue for most dogs unless the pet is highly nervous. But, a small vessel might not be so attractive for a dog.

Below are five safety tips for taking a dog in the water:


Dogs that are first-time boaters might be quite fearful of the motion of the floor at the start. To help minimize the issues with a potentially rocking boat make sure to prepare the dog before taking them on board. Let the dog get used to the motorboat, sailboat or kayak when ashore to increase the chance of being more comfortable out on the water. After a short time most dogs will start to get accustomed to the motion and balance that comes with being in the water.


A period of desensitizing is the best course of action to get the dog used to live on a small boat, dinghy, or kayak. Sit in the boat with the dog and slowly rock the boat from side to side to give it some motion. Repeat this process of several days to ensure the dog is fully comfortable on board before heading out to sea. Avoid forcing the dog to stay in the boat, but give positive reassurance and build up a trusted relationship that confirms the boat is a safe environment.

  • Any dog on board a boat should know the basic commands like stay, sit, down, etc.
  • Create a specific space on or in the boat for the dog to use and apply a non-slip pad. Let the dog explore all areas of the boat.
  • Show the dog the easiest ways to get in and out of the vessels and lead the dog to the best places to lie or sit in comfort.
  • Make certain a dog is fully comfortable before heading out. A sudden shift in weight can cause issues with small boats or kayaks, so ensure the dog is able to remain stable on board.


Similar to people it is very easy for dogs to start to get quite dehydrated when left outside in hot temperatures. Give suitable access to fresh, cool water to avoid issues with thirst and also provide land breaks if possible to let the dog escape and relieve themselves.

  • Puppy pads, litter box or similar might be needed if land breaks aren’t a practical option.
  • Pack enough fresh water to ensure the dog is kept hydrated for the duration of the time on the water. On the hotter days, an increase in fluid intake is highly likely.
  • Plus, consider taking along the pet’s health records in the event these are needed should an emergency arise.

Life Jacket

Even the most competent dog breeds (Portuguese water dogs, Golden Retrievers, etc.) can experience issue in open waters and benefit from the safety of a life jacket. Water current and weather can easily change and it is better to have the safety of a life jacket in place. Life jackets come in a variety of sizes to ensure all breeds are fully protected. A life jacket is not only effective at keeping the dog afloat should it fall overboard, but will also make it easier to grad compared to only having a collar.


Apply a sunscreen to a dog or provide enough shade is certain to benefit when out on the water. A sunscreen with SPF of 15 or more is practical for applying to the belly, ears (avoiding the ear canal), and nose. Ask the vets to determine the safest brand to use for pets. Many dogs have a tendency to lick it off so you want to avoid issues that could lead to severe stomach upset. A boat hull in fiberglass or aluminum can easily heat up once exposed directly to the sun. This heat is then easily absorbed by the paw pads, so make sure to have a cool or shaded area for the dogs to get relief from the heat.

Safety at Sea

What Is Required For the Safe Operation of an Airboat?

In order to efficiently operate an airboat a variety of safety and registration rules need to be abided by. Regulations are likely to vary from state to state, but in general the guidelines are in place to ensure an airboat is operated in an effective and safe manner. Safety equipment in place is likely to be a high requirement.


Having the right safety gear and equipment for operating an airboat

A fun and versatile airboat is highly enjoyable to ride, but if not operated in a safe and efficient manner they are susceptible to sinking or capsizing; often as a result of lacking flotation and ease in which they are able to lose balance. In addition, the air boats aren’t designed to operate in reverse; as a consequence it can be more difficult to avoid a potential situation in the water.

It is also crucial for the air boat operator to be mindful of the debris, sand, or water which might pass through the propeller and in the direction of other motor-driven boats. A high level of boat safety is highly desirable for all boats, including the air boats, and might include:

Life Jackets — a first requirement to boat safety is likely to relate to wearing a lifejacket, which is mandatory in many states for the person under 18 years of age. Even if not a requirement by law to wear a lifejacket for the adults, it is often highly recommended that a lifejacket is worn by all on board to ensure the full safety and protection at all times. A lifejacket must be able to fit appropriately for the size of person.

Fire extinguisher — a fully functional manual or semi-automatic fire extinction system is highly desirable on all makes and models of water craft that are equipped with inboard or outboard machinery. In the event of an engine fire you want to have access to an extinguisher for putting out the flames as soon as possible.

Navigational lights — in order to operate in complete safety in low light conditions you want to make certain that the navigation lights are mounted on board the vessel. Beyond just having the ability to operate in a safe manner, navigational lights are also ideal to alert other boat owners of the presence of the air boat.

Flags — a further great safety aspect relates to having the right complement of flags on board the air boat. A key flag is likely to relate to the diver down flag, which is required in those situations where the diver is in the water for a variety of reasons. A flag needs to be at a height of 10-ft above the air boat, and sized in the region of 10″ x 12″.
Sound distress device — lastly, you might want to make certain you have access to a distress signal or sound device is highly desirable to have onboard the air boats in the event of an emergency situation. A sound device is highly effective at attracting the attention of other boats in the local area and the distress alert signal is needed to give an instant indication that help is required.

What registration requirements are needed for operating an airboat?

In order that a full operational airboat can be used in public bodies of water it is necessary to the registered with the local state authorities. If you are planning on using the air boats in private ponds or other bodies of water, registration isn’t likely to be mandatory. Also, the paddle powered vessels, such as the kayaks and canoes aren’t in need of registration.

A registration certificate is a requirement for those situations where you might be stopped by the local police or Coast Guard, and required to clearly indicate the right paperwork for operation and ownership. Registration costs are likely to relate to the state laws and size of water craft.

Is it easy to arrange insurance on an airboat?

If you are looking at the viability of arrange insurance on an airboat, many of the insurance companies are likely to be very restrictive in relation to offering this type of coverage since the airboats can be quite dangerous. It shouldn’t be difficult to arrange a liability only insurance policy, which will make sure you are protected against damage to a third party, person or property. In the states that have a large number of waterways that are used by air boat operators, it is likely to be easier to arrange insurance coverage beyond just the personal liability insurance.