What Safety Equipment Is Required On A Boat?

Whether you’re new to cruising Sydney’s waters or aiming to refine your maritime skills, our guide to boating safety equipment is your compass for a breezy voyage. At Pacific Boating, we’re committed to making your cruise hassle-free, and giving you the knowledge and equipment for a smooth journey.

Let’s jump into 10 essential pieces of boat safety equipment that you need to have onboard.

 1. Anchor & Line

Anchors play a crucial role in boating safety by keeping vessels from drifting with the currents. When choosing an anchor, it’s important to consider both its type and size in relation to the boat’s dimensions, and the sea floor you will anchor into. Danforth anchors work well in sandy and muddy areas, whereas grapnels are more suited for reefs and rocky areas. To ensure a secure mooring, regularly check the anchor’s grip on the seabed.

Wondering how much anchor line you should carry? Based on the NSW Government guidelines, you should have enough for anchoring – approximately three times the depth of water – plus additional line for unforeseen conditions, bad weather, and emergencies.

2. Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are vital pieces of boating safety equipment, as fires can rapidly escalate in confined space below deck. Quick action is essential due to the presence of flammable fuels and electrical systems on board, and having the extinguisher on hand is key.

Keep extinguishers where you can quickly reach them, and make sure you have at least one in the galley area and the engine compartment.

3. Life Jackets

Life jackets (also known as personal floatation devices) save lives. Vessels must carry at least one life jacket for everybody on board. They’re particularly necessary during storms, cruising in cold water, or for situations where the vessel has broken down – but ideally, you should wear them at all times.

4. Bilge pump

Bilge pumps remove excess water that accumulates in the bilge – a low point in the hull – to protect the vessel from flooding in conditions where there is excessive rain, waves, or leaks. Investing in a reliable bilge pump can prevent damage to the boat’s structure, electrical systems, and other crucial components.

5. Bailer or bucket

It is required to have at least one strong bailer or bucket with a lanyard to bail out water and fight fires. Not only is a bailer essential in emergency situations, it’s also helpful for boat maintenance.

6. Beacons

Pacific Boating vessels are equipped with the latest beacon technology. These include:

Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB)

EPIRBs are essential pieces of boating safety equipment and can be lifesavers at sea. When activated, they transmit distress signals for 48 hours, aiding search and rescue. They must:

You must keep your EPIRB accessible at all times to stay safe on open waters.

Personal Location Beacon (PLB)

Smaller than EPIRBs, PLBs are not mounted to the vessel. They’re designed to be used as portable safety devices and are especially useful if a person is separated from the vessel.

7. Distress Flares 

Distress flares are essential signalling devices to be used in emergencies when on the water. They emit bright, colourful lights or smoke to attract attention and communicate distress to nearby vessels or rescue teams. Distress flares are critical for your boat safety equipment kit, as they can step in when beacons fail.

8. Marine Radios

In an emergency, marine radios make distress calls to other vessels in the area. You can also use them to prevent emergencies by calling shore stations to notify them of your itinerary, check weather warnings, and receive navigational advice. 

9. Fresh water

A sufficient supply of fresh water is essential for hydration and hygiene. It’s also invaluable during emergencies and unexpected delays. Even in calm conditions, fresh water is needed for cooking, cleaning, and vessel functions such as engine cooling and battery maintenance.

10. V Sheets

The V sheet, or distress flag, is an orange flag with a black “V” used to signal distress at sea. In the case of an emergency, V sheets are used to alert nearby vessels and/or rescue teams that your boat is in need of help. This mandatory piece of communication equipment can be spread over the deck or raised as a flag.

Other essential pieces of kit include floating torches, safety labels, and sound signals. Always check the NSW State rules and regulations for boating safety equipment and make sure you have what you need before you cast off.

Or, leave it to us! Pacific Boating takes the headache out of preparing for a relaxing voyage. Our vessels are equipped with high quality, regularly maintained boating safety equipment, including life-saving flotation devices and signalling essentials. All you have to do is step on board and enjoy your cruise.

What are the top recommended pieces of boating safety equipment?

Once you’ve made sure that you’ve got all your mandatory safety equipment, there are a few extra pieces that we recommend you take on board. These include:

First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is indispensable on a boat. Cruising comes with unique risks, and a well-stocked kit is vital for immediate medical care in an emergency. The equipment should include, at a minimum:

  • Bandages
  • Gauze
  • Shears
  • Antiseptic
  • Gloves
  • Tweezers
  • Instant ice pack
  • Thermal blanket


Immediate assistance may not be readily available if the boat encounters mechanical issues. A toolkit makes it possible to resolve some issues independently before help arrives.

A boat toolkit should include:

  • Engine spare parts
  • New spark plugs
  • Knife
  • Screwdrivers
  • Pliers
  • Bolt cutters
  • Metal saw
  • Hammer
  • Hose clamps
  • Electrical tape

Extra communication devices

Communication is vital for boat safety. Maintaining two devices – such as a mobile phone and a marine radio – will provide optimal cover. Mobile phones can experience battery problems or signal loss, especially when you are cruising in remote waters. Marine radios have specific channels for urgent communication but they may fail in worst-case scenarios. Prepare for anything, and bring both.

Boat safety certificate

To obtain a New South Wales boating licence, you must complete an approved boating safety course. These courses typically cover navigation rules, safety procedures, and emergency protocols, to give you the confidence to safely navigate a boat. 

How much does a boat safety certificate cost?

A membership to Pacific Boating includes our safety training program at no additional cost. We can also supply further training upon request.

Let Pacific Boating handle the hassle for you! 

Pacific Boating takes care of the safety equipment, so you can enjoy a walk-on, walk-off cruising experience. We ensure all of our boating safety equipment is up-to-date and maintained to ensure your time on the water is smooth and stress-free.

Your wellbeing is our number one priority. Pacific Boating memberships include in-depth training, so you can feel confident when navigating our cruisers. Plus, our trainers are always available to assist you if you need a refresher. 

For additional peace of mind, our team is on call 24/7 to help you in any situation. 

Discover how Pacific Boating memberships work now.


Find out how

Continue reading

On The Water
Boxing Day By The Sea 2022

One of our favourite days to spend out on the water is Boxing Day. When the sun is shining and the Christmas cheer has…

Clock 16 minute read Read later Read later
On The Water
30 Adventures in 30 Days - Part 1

Here in Sydney we are not short of amazing seaside spots to spend your weekends. While we have the classics that we all know…

Clock 8 minute read Read later Read later

Why Buy a Boat? Enjoy Ours…

Pacific Boating offers an alternative way to enjoy a boating lifestyle without having to purchase your own boat or enter into a boat share contract. It’s simple, flexible and easy to join.
  • Walk on, walk off
  • Maintenance free
  • Pittwater & Sydney Harbour access
  • A fleet of 18 luxury sports cruisers
  • Full training provided

Join Sydney’s premier boating club and enhance your lifestyle

    from reviews