Making sure you arrive safely at the next harbour
The first step to being safe on the water is to ask yourself what you know yourself about safety. This includes familiarising yourself with your own boat before setting off and making sure it is seaworthy. To avoid risks, always check the forecast and pay attention to any changes and developments in the weather. We also recommend the following minimum safety equipment for boats:
Every boat should carry a sufficient number of life jackets for every person on board. In order to comply with the current safety regulations in Europe, life jackets must carry a CE mark. You can read more about the guidelines for life jackets in our Life Jacket Guide. At sea, personal safety equipment should include one safety harness per person to hook into. Furthermore, no boat should be without a life belt with a floatable rescue line & light. Before starting your trip, you should carefully consider what measures to take in case of an MOB emergency and check the rescue options.
Every boat should be equipped with suitable fire fighting equipment. Depending on the size of your boat, we recommend at least two portable class ABC fire extinguishers. Even a simple fire blanket in the galley can prevent serious accidents.
In the event of a maritime emergency, you must be able to communicate your presence effectively. You should therefore always carry a signalling device together with matches or a lighter. No matter where you are sailing, we recommend the following signalling equipment:
Distress beacons should be stored on board in a suitable container which complies with the legal requirements for weapons. Make sure that you are familiar with the correct use of the device so that you can react quickly in case of an emergency and use the signalling equipment safely. Please note that in order to purchase many distress beacons, a certificate of competence in accordance with the provisions of weapons law or a certificate of expertise in accordance with explosives law is required. For some sailing areas, important flags & other signalling items, e.g. to indicate manoeuvrability, should also be carried.
You should also be prepared should water leak into your boat. The minimum requirement for each boat is an appropriate bailing device. For larger boats a bilge pump is recommended, for smaller boats a bucket and/or bailer should also be carried on board. We further recommend that you have a stock of emergency plugs in various sizes as well as sealants on board.
A first aid kit should be carried on board for minor & serious injuries. Different types of equipment are available to purchase, depending on the sailing area and how long you are away from the coast in case of an emergency.
You may want to have a life raft on board, depending on the area you are sailing in. In Germany it is recommended to carry a life raft in the open sea. A life raft not only protects from drowning but also against hypothermia. It should therefore be part of the safety equipment of every boat, especially in the North and Baltic Sea. In some countries it is also compulsory to carry life rafts, depending on the sailing area. In Germany it is obligatory to carry a life raft on charter yachts at sea and in some sailing regattas. More detailed information about life rafts can be found in our guide.
Check your safety equipment regularly and be sure to keep your rescue material up to date to ensure that it will work in an emergency. The prescribed maintenance intervals for life jackets and life rafts can be found on the attached maintenance sticker or on the manufacturer's website. Remember to inform all crew members and guests about safety equipment on board and how it works.