Since it’s a recreational activity, most boating is done in calm protected waters and during good weather. Even so, conditions can change rapidly, and a small vessel can get into life-threatening difficulties.
and inventory of safety gear on board every boat, which is prescribed by the U.S. Coast Guard as well as state boating law administrators in the U.S. Depending on the size of the boat and how it is powered, required equipment may include:
- personal flotation devices (PFDs or life jackets) for everyone on board
- a throwable flotation device (in the U.S., a Type IV PFD)
- navigation lights suitable for the type of boat operation
- visual distress signals (VSDs) which are effective both day and night
Other items might seem obvious but are not actually required by law. They include a flashlight, first aid kit, paddles, whistles, anchor and rope, engine spare parts, bilge pumps, a VHF radio or mobile phone, etc.