“Recommended Safety Gear by Vessel Type”

From the Experts at The GPS Store, Inc.

Following are some general recommendations for safety products and electronics. Keep in mind that each boater’s needs might be different, and when in doubt, always err on the side of safety. In addition to these items, always make sure to have all required Coast Guard safety items onboard, such as fire extinguishers, suitable life jackets and flares, and make sure they are in good working order and kept up to date.


Inshore Skiff or Bay Boat:

  • 1) ACR RapidDitch Express Ditch Bag – Keeps all safety gear and emergency supplies (water packs, chapstick, first aid, noisemaking devices) organized and ready for action.
  • 2) Standard Horizon HX870 Emergency VHF with built-in GPS – Radio communication is one of the first things you may lose if your boat’s batteries are compromised. This radio is waterproof, floats, and even glows in the dark and features a strobe that activates automatically in water. Rescue often comes from other nearby boaters and fishermen, so the value of radio communication can’t be overstated. This DSC radio can fire off one-button distress calls that alert all nearby DSC-equipped vessels to your emergency and position. In additional to the built-in rechargeable battery, this radio also includes a Alkaline battery tray that allows it to operate on standard AAA batteries — a great backup.
  • 3) One ACR ResQLink Personal Locator Beacon – This personal device broadcasts a 406mHz satellite distress signal to the Coast Guard and a separate homing signal to Search & Rescue agencies. It lets someone know you’re in trouble and helps them find you in the water.
  • 4) ACR 1700 Hot Shot Signal Mirror – This “old-school” device can be used to make yourself visible to searchers and other boaters in daylight conditions.
  • 5) ACR 3959 C-Strobe Signaling Strobe – is designed to clip on PFDs to improve visibility to rescuers during darkness and inclement weather.

Offshore Center Console or Walkaround:

#1, #2, and a #3, #4 and #5 for each passenger onboard.

  • 6) Cat II ACR Global Fix Pro EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) – This manually deployed device alerts Coast Guard and local Search & Rescue agencies to your emergency and GPS position using satellites and Earth stations.
  • 7) Garmin GPS 72H Handheld GPS – Like fixed mount VHF radios, onboard GPS is also likely to go out in a boat filling with water. This floating, waterproof GPS will help you relay your position to nearby vessel coming to your aid. It’s also a great backup in case your boat experiences a non-emergency failure of your primary navigation system.
  • 8) Spot Satellite Messenger/Personal Tracker — about the size of a smart phone, this device can notify family friends and International Rescue Centers of emergencies. Or you can just report in to friends and contacts that you’re OK. A Help Mode is provided when you need non-emergency assistance, like gas or a tow.
  • 9) Viking RescYou Coastal six-man liferaft (optional but a good idea) - This sturdy raft is designed for use where rescue can be expected within 24 hours. It fits easily into a valise or deck/rail-mounted fiberglass container , yet offers an auto-inflating canopy, automatic strobe and interior lights, stabilizing ballast bags and coastal emergency pack.

Offshore Sportfishing Yacht

#1, #2, a #3, #4 for each passenger onboard, #7, #8

  • 10) ACR Firefly Waterbug Strobe Light — this light clips to PFDs and activates automatically in the water. It fires an ultra-bright strobe to make boaters visible in the worst conditions.
  • 11) Cat I ACR Global Fix iPro EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) – This EPIRB is designed to mount on the vessel and float free and activate automatically if the vessel sinks or capsizes. Auto-deploy EPIRBS like this have helped speed rescue to thousands of boaters around the world.
  • 12) GlobalStar GSP 1700 Satellite Phone - Handheld and portable, this system provides reliable communications anywhere at sea. The ability to stay in touch with friends and loved ones on shore, as well as contact emergency responders directly, is great peace of mind for boaters who leave shore (and cell phone coverage) far behind.
  • 13) Viking RescYou Pro 8 Person Liferaft – If you travel long distances offshore, you should have a life raft designed for the purpose, regardless of its capacity. This heavy-duty raft stores in a valise or canister, yet is designed to handle up to 8 passengers in rough offshore conditions. Features include a self-righting design, double-inflatable floor to prevent hypothermia, ballast system, inflatable boarding ramp, and automatic interior/strobe lighting.

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