When’s that last time you checked your safety gear??  As we approach our first open ocean crossing in over a year that question floated to the top of the heap and guess what?!?  We have some things to do.  Our life harnesses need new CO2 cartridges, the personal beacons inside our harnesses need new batteries along with our EPIRB (emergency signaling device).  We tried to get a replacement battery for the EPIRB while in Marathon but were told the unit was too old.  “Too old”, that’s funny, ‘cause it still works.  So, we are purchasing a new unit because we need to know that it will work when we need it.

It’s important to check these things on a yearly basis because your life depends on it.  Carl and I have been cruising for over eight years and have never needed any of the safety equipment we have on board but, we would never leave without it.

Here’s our top ten list:

  1. Personal floatation devices.  One for each person on board.
  2. Throw-able device such as a Life Sling or ring.
  3. Fire Extinguishers, at least 3 for our size boat.
  4. Vessel Distress Signals for both day and night use.
  5. Sound producing devices. We have a bell, a horn and a whistle.
  6. Life raft
  7. Bilge pumps, both manual and electric, in good working order.
  8. Navigation lights in good working condition.
  9. Foul Weather gear, doesn’t seem that important but when it’s cold and or wet, it can get pretty uncomfortable.
  10. A good Bosun’s chair for unexpected repairs aloft.


We have some other devices onboard that may not be pertinent to all cruisers depending on your range.  We recently installed a Single Sideband (SSB); we also carry a SPOT satellite transmitter that sends our position to specific emails we have loaded.  We rig jacklines on deck that we clip our harnesses into whenever we venture out on deck, and have set up a “Ditch Bag” containing several items we want to have with us should we need to abandon Firefly on short notice.

How’s your safety equipment?