Boat Navigation Equipment

7 ESSENTIAL ITEMS YOU SHOULD HAVE ON YOUR BOAT

I have prided myself in having fished offshore on every continent. I have been on countless boats, been seasick only a handful of times, pulled in 600lb Marlins, and had days where I’ve not even seen a sign of life on the horizon, let alone on my line. What surprises me is how some of the basic necessities for cruising are sometimes missing from boats. You don’t need anything big or flashy, so it isn’t a matter of cost, but some vessels are ill-equipped with the little things to guarantee safety and success on the water. These are the essential items that everyone should have on board their vessels but are often lacking.

A HAND COMPASS

Satellite navigation systems are all good and well but they rely on technology. If the worst-case scenario were to develop, I always feel slightly anxious at the thought of having to rely on technology to save the day. It could be because my laptop has failed me more times than I care to count or remember, but something about relying on what is essentially a handheld computer program doesn’t sit well with me. A hand bearing compass means if the worst does happen, you will still make it back to shore in one piece.

A MARINE RADIO

A mobile phone is not a good enough substitute for radio, particularly if you are going offshore. If another vessel is headed towards you on a collision course, you are not going to know its skipper’s phone number. You can, however, throw out a radio message.

FIRST AID KIT (WITH SEASICKNESS PILLS AND HAND SANITISER)

A well-stocked first aid kit is a must for any vessel. This should include seasickness medicine, as even a veteran fisho gets struck down with seasickness every once in a while. Lastly, I would include hand sanitiser in any first-aid kit. Handling live bait, hooks and fish all day will leave you with a whole colony of bacteria on your hands. It is always better to sanitise before you start cleaning and cooking your catch.

JUMPER CABLES

I have had my tournament day saved by jumper cables before. When you are racing to get back to the shore in time for weigh-ins, using jumper cables instead of switching over to trolling batteries will make all the difference. It could mean the difference between getting back with a couple of minutes to spare and missing weigh-ins, costing yourself the tournament.

FIRE EXTINGUISHER

A working fire extinguisher (and someone who knows how to use it) is a must for any vessel.

ROPE

You never know when you may need to help out another vessel and give it a tow back to shore. Bring a rope along and you’ll quickly make friends for life if you come across a stranded boat.

CABLE TIES

The uses for cable ties are endless. Cable ties are my go-to kit for performing a quick fix out at sea.

This list is by no means exhaustive and there are many other items that are a good idea to have on board. But these are the items I have seen missing from vessels across the globe, much to my bewilderment and outright annoyance. These items won’t solve every problem but they are a good place to start to tackle most offshore problems and if you haven’t got them on board, I recommend rectifying the situation with haste.


 

What else do you think should be on board every boat? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Jackson Williams
jacksonw@dinga.com.au

Jackson Williams has been fishing around Australia for 20 years and loves his home region of far north Queensland.