Check your gear
Lifejackets with kapok filling or cotton straps are unsafe and could fail when used. Find out more about old lifejackets.
Make sure that lifejackets are still the correct size, in good condition and suitable for the type of boating you do.
Get on board with kids’ lifejackets
Learn to fit lifejackets for children.
It’s important to ensure your inflatable lifejacket is regularly serviced. You should also check that the gas cylinder is properly secured and not corroded.
Maintaining different lifejackets
Look at all of the equipment on your boat and make sure it’s in good working order and you have everything you need.
Check expiry dates on flares and fire extinguishers, and replace or service them if they’re out of date.
Check batteries on portable equipment such as torches, radios and your GPS, and replace them if you need to. Make sure your distress beacon’s registration is up to date.
Have you got the right safety gear on board?
Ensure you have a safe and trouble-free experience. Read about the gear you need to have on board and see how it contributes to safety.
Look at where your safety equipment is stored. Could you access it easily in an emergency or after a capsize?
Make sure you have the following items on board:
- Boat hook and throwing line
- Warm clothing
- First aid kit
- Navigation equipment
- Bailing system
- Waterproof torch
- Alternative power (a spare outboard, oars or paddles).
Put together a floating ‘grab bag’ that contains all the emergency gear you would need should you need to abandon your boat. The bag should contain:
- ways of calling for help, i.e. emergency distress beacon, flares or water-proof VHF radio
Finally, before you go out:
- Make sure that someone else knows how to operate the boat if the skipper can’t.
- Brief your crew or passengers on what to do if things go wrong, and practise different scenarios - be mentally prepared for the unexpected.