Pleasure craft safety equipment recommendations

Advisory safety equipment for pleasure craft
Advisory safety equipment for pleasure craft

For pleasure yachts of less than 13.7 meters in length there are no statutory requirements for safety equipment other than those required under SOLAS V. Safety equipment is an important part of preparing a boat. It is advisable that all pleasure craft skippers check that their vessel is properly equipped.

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) recommends it is essential that you properly equip your boat prior to going on the water and that you ensure that the craft is suitable for its intended use. Additionally, all equipment should be checked regularly for wear and tear and/or damage.

Different equipment is required for day boats versus boats with eating and sleeping facilities that sail or motor further to sea.

Skippers should be mindful of any particular laws that exist in their country regarding pleasure craft safety equipment recommendations and keeping the vessel appropriately equipped as well as keeping the equipment serviced and up-to-date. Some owners are put off doing this due to pleasure craft safety equipment being costly and possibly never being used. How often a marine surveyor will find fire extinguishers out of date and why life rafts have not been serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions is hard to understand. Yet, it is unwise to ignore pleasure craft safety equipment recommendations and not to keep a check of equipment expiry dates.

Some equipment is mandatory for pleasure vessels of 13.7m in length and over which are classified in the Merchant Shipping Regulations as Class XII vessels.

Class XII vessels are required to comply with
1. Merchant Shipping (Fire Protection: Small Craft) Regulations 1998; and
2. Merchant Shipping (Life-Saving Appliances For Ships Other Than Ships Of Classes III To VI(A)) Regulations 1999.

Complying with the Merchant Shipping legislation can prove impractical at times and there is a possibility of conflict with the Recreational Craft Directive (RCD). To resolve this, there are three Exemptions to the Merchant Shipping Regulations.

If owners of Class XII vessels opt to comply with one or more of these Exemptions, they do not need to comply with the underlying regulations to which they relate. It is said that there may be strict laws for commercial vessels and for pleasure vessels over 13.7 meters in length, yet, no statutory requirements exist for pleasure craft under 13.7 meters in length other than those stipulated in SOLAS V.

The lists below cover essential, mandatory and recommended items for vessels up to 13.7 metres and over 13.7 metres in length.

Pleasure craft safety equipment recommendations – vessels up to 13.7m in length

Essential
Lifejacket (or buoyancy aid) for all on board
Safety harnesses (varies with type of boat)
Kill cord and spare (varies with type of boat)
Marine Radio (VHF)
Chart(s), Almanac and Pilot Book
Hand Bearing Compass
Handheld white flares or powerful torch (for collision avoidance)
406 MHz EPIRB/PLB (varies with area of operation)
Distress Flares
First Aid Kit
Liferaft and Grab bag (varies with area of operation)
Firefighting equipment
Equipment to deal with a man overboard (life ring, dan buoy etc.)
Emergency tiller (for wheel steered boats) (varies with type of boat)
Equipment to deal with water ingress (Bailer, Bilge Pump, Bungs)
Bucket (strong with lanyard)
Emergency VHF aerial for fixed VHF (varies with type of boat)
Anchor and cable/warp
Tools and spares (engine, electrics, rig, sails)
Boarding ladder
Spare fuel
Waterproof torches
Mooring lines and fenders
Knife
Pump and puncture repair kit (for inflatable boats)
Alternative means of propulsion (oars, outboard engine etc)
Ship’s log book
Accurate clock or watch

Mandatory
Radar reflector
Lifesaving signals
Navigation lights, day shapes and sound signalling equipment

Recommended
LW radio
Fixed steering compass (lit at night)
Drawing instruments for navigation (plotters and dividers)
Binoculars
Echo sounder
Log
GPS/Chart Plotter
Navtex
Barometer (varies with area of operation)
Storm sails (for sailing yachts) (varies with area of operation)
Bosun’s chair (for sailing yachts) (varies with type of boat)
Tender
Tow rope
Boat hook

At your discretion
MF/HF radio (varies with area of operation)
SSB radio and / or satellite phone (varies with area of operation)
Automated Identification System (AIS)
Radar
SART/ AIS SART (varies with area of operation)
Propeller guards and rope cutters
Sea anchor and/or drogue (varies with area of operation)

Pleasure craft safety equipment recommendations – vessels over 13.7m in length

Essential
Lifejacket (or buoyancy aid) for all on board
Safety harnesses
Kill cord and spare (varies with type of boat)
Chart(s), Almanac and Pilot Book
Hand Bearing Compass
406 MHz EPIRB/PLB (varies with area of operation)
Distress Flares
First Aid Kit
Emergency tiller (for wheel steered boats)
Equipment to deal with water ingress (Bailer, Bilge Pump, Bungs)
Emergency VHF aerial for fixed VHF (varies with type of boat)
Anchor and cable/warp
Tools and spares (engine, electrics, rig, sails)
Spare fuel
Waterproof torches
Mooring lines and fenders
Knife
Pump and puncture repair kit (for inflatable boats)
Alternative means of propulsion (oars, outboard engine etc)
Ship’s log book
Accurate clock or watch

Mandatory
Radar reflector
Lifesaving signals
Navigation lights, day shapes and sound signalling equipment
Marine Radio (VHF)
MF/HF radio (varies with area of operation)
Handheld white flares (for collision avoidance) or powerful torch
Liferaft and Grab bag (varies with area of operation)
Firefighting equipment
Equipment to deal with a man overboard (life ring, dan buoy etc.)
Bucket (strong with lanyard)
Boarding ladder

Recommended
Fixed steering compass (lit at night)
Drawing instruments for navigation (plotters and dividers)
Binoculars
Echo sounder
Log
GPS/Chart Plotter
Navtex
Barometer
Storm sails (for sailing yachts)
Bosun’s chair (for sailing yachts)
Tender
Tow rope
Boat hook

At your discretion
SSB radio and / or satellite phone
Automated Identification System (AIS)
Radar
SART/ AIS SART
Propeller guards and rope cutters
Sea anchor and/or drogue

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