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Sailing essentials: What you need on board

Author: Michael Hiller | 5 min Read

New Wave Marine's article on what you need on board when sailing covers everything from absolutely essential safety gear to essential tools and supplies to keep your trip smooth and enjoyable.

Essential Sailing Gear and Onboard Equipment

As a boat owner, it is important to ensure that you carry all the necessary equipment to keep you and your passengers safe and prepared for any situation. Some of the essential boat gear items that every boat should have onboard include:

  • Life JacketsThese are an essential item for the safety of all passengers, regardless of their age or swimming ability. Make sure to have a life jacket for each person on board and check that they are in good condition and properly fitted.
  • First Aid Kit: Accidents can happen on the water, so it is important to have a well-stocked first aid kit on board. This should include basic supplies like bandages, gauze, and antiseptic, as well as any prescription medications you may need.
  • Navigation Tools: It is essential to have a reliable navigation system, such as a GPS or chartplotter. This will help you stay on course and avoid any potential hazards.
  • Communication Devices: Having a VHF radio or a personal locator beacon (PLB) is crucial for staying in touch with others and for emergency situations.
  • Emergency Equipment: It is important to have a few key items on board in case of an emergency. These might include a flare gun, a flashlight, and a whistle.

By having these essential items, you can ensure that you and your passengers are prepared for any situation that may arise while out on the water.

Life Jackets
Life Jackets are essential for the safety of all passengers

Top Sailing Apparel for Comfort and Safety on the Water

It's important to have the right gear to ensure your safety and comfort on the water. Whether you're an experienced sailor or a beginner, having the right clothing and accessories can make all the difference. One of the most important pieces of boat gear to invest in is a good pair of sailing boots or deck shoes too. These shoes are specifically designed to provide grip and support on the deck of a boat, as well as protect your feet from the elements. Look for shoes with a non-slip sole, water-resistant materials, and an ankle support for added stability.

Stay Protected on the Water: Must-Have Safety Gear

When it comes to sailing in Australia, it's crucial to have the right sailing gear to ensure your safety and comfort on the water. Among the essential gear to wear sailing, sailing gloves are a must-have to protect your hands from rope burn. As you handle ropes and manoeuvre the sails, the friction can quickly cause painful burns and blisters. Sailing gloves provide a protective layer, offering better grip and minimising the risk of injuries. Whether you're an experienced sailor or a beginner, investing in a pair of durable and well-fitted sailing gloves will make your sailing experience much more enjoyable and worry-free.

Another vital item to consider is a sailing hat or polarised sunglasses. The Australian sun can be intense, especially when you're out on the open water. A hat with a wide brim or a pair of polarised sunglasses will shield your head and face from harmful UV rays and reduce glare, allowing you to see clearly and protect your eyes from strain. These accessories not only provide sun protection but also enhance your visibility, making it easier to navigate and enjoy the breathtaking views of Australia's stunning coastlines. Don't forget to choose a hat or sunglasses that are specifically designed for sailing to ensure they stay secure and comfortable even in windy conditions.

Perhaps the most critical piece of sailing gear for any sailor, regardless of skill level, is a high-quality personal flotation device (PFD). A PFD is designed to keep you afloat in case of an accidental fall overboard or any other emergency situation. It acts as a life jacket, providing buoyancy and keeping you safe while you're on or near the water. It's crucial to select a PFD that fits well and provides the appropriate level of buoyancy based on your body weight. The Australian waters can be unpredictable, and having a properly fitted PFD can be a lifesaver. Look for PFDs that meet the Australian safety standards and provide good safety features like adjustable straps, reflective elements for better visibility, and quick-release buckles for easy removal.

Sailing boots
One of the most important pieces of gear is a good pair of sailing boots or shoes

A waterproof and breathable jacket is also an essential piece for any sailor at sea. Whether you're sailing in the rain or braving the waves, a good jacket will keep you dry, warm and comfortable. When it comes to choosing a sailing jacket, there are a few key factors to consider. First and foremost, you'll want to think about the weather conditions you'll be sailing in. If you live in a warmer climate, you'll want a lighter jacket that will keep you cool and comfortable. On the other hand, if you'll be sailing in cold weather, strong winds or wetter conditions, you'll need a warm jacket that can dry quickly (wet weather clothes) and that can withstand the elements.

Choosing the Perfect Sailing Jacket: Considerations for Racing and Cruising

Next, consider the type of sailing you'll be doing. If you'll be racing, you'll want a jacket that is lightweight and streamlined, as it will help you move more freely. If you'll be cruising, you'll want a jacket that is more comfortable and versatile, as you'll likely be wearing it for longer periods of time. Finally, think about the handy features you'll need in a sailing jacket. Some jackets come with built-in flotation devices, which can be a lifesaver in the event of a capsize. Others have reflective strips or bright colours to make you more visible on the water. And of course, you'll want a jacket that is comfortable and fits well. With these factors in mind, you'll be well on your way to finding the perfect sailing jacket for your needs. Whether you're racing or cruising, a good sailing jacket can make all the difference on the water.

By investing in the right sailing gear, you'll be better prepared to enjoy your time on the water and stay safe while sailing.

Sailing jacket
A waterproof and breathable jacket is also a must-have for any sailor

Other Important Sailing Gear Essentials

Here are some sailing and safety gear essentials to consider for a safe and enjoyable sailing experience:

General Essentials:
  • Lifejackets
  • VHF radio
  • Anchor and anchor line
  • Boat compass
  • Boat horn
  • Flares
  • First aid kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Manual bilge pump
  • Navigation lights
  • Chart plotter or GPS device
  • Flotation devices
  • Foul weather gear
  • Binoculars
  • Safety harness
  • Tether lines
  • Man overboard recovery equipment
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Docklines
  • Fenders
  • Boat ladder or swim platform
  • Water and non-perishable food
  • Spare parts and tool kit
  • Emergency signalling devices (whistle or flare)
  • Sunscreen and hats
  • Charts and navigational tools (compass or GPS)
  • Communication devices (radio or satellite phone)
  • Waterproof bag, grab bag or container for storage
Sailing-Specific Items:
  • Sailing watch
  • Sailing knife
  • Sailing trousers
By ensuring you have these must-have items and sailing-specific gear, you'll be well-prepared for your sailing adventures and ready to handle various situations that may arise on the water.

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