Boating Safety: 7 Accessories to Have on Your Wake Boat

Safety first! Closeup of a person holding a life vest.

A day on the water can be relaxing and fun-filled outing for families, fishermen and water sports enthusiasts alike. However, before you set sail, you need to make sure you have the correct equipment in case of emergencies. Stock up your wake boat with these 7 accessories, found at your local wake boat dealers, to ensure you are practicing appropriate boating safety for your next maritime excursion.

Flotation Devices

Many of the accessories included on this list are federally mandated requirements for all boating vessels. According to federal law, all boats, regardless of length, are required to have one Coast Guard-approved life vest per person on board. Boats exceeding 16 ft in length must carry at least one throwable flotation device such as a raft, ring buoy, or throwable cushion. Life vests are arguably the most important accessories when it comes to boating safety. According to BoatUS Foundation, more than 60% of all boating fatalities are drowning incidents and 90% of those drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket.

Your life vests should come in a range of sizes and shapes for various passengers and should be readily accessible at all times. Visit the Life Jacket Association to learn about personal flotation devices and how to keep yourself and your passengers safe on the water.

Fire Extinguisher

All wake boats are motor-powered and thus are susceptible to combustion. Federal law requires that a fire extinguisher is on board all vessels, but the type of extinguisher required depends on the size of the boat. Motorboats 26 feet or shorter must carry one B-I fire extinguisher, motorboats 26-40 feet must carry one B-II or two B-I extinguishers, and motorboats 40-65 feet must carry one B-II and one B-I, or three B-I fire extinguishers.

Fire extinguishers are categorized by letters to specify the type of fires they extinguish followed by a number classification that shows the amount of extinguishing agent it holds.

To meet federal boating safety regulations, you must have a portable marine-type extinguisher in the correct class based on the size of your boat. Keep your extinguisher(s) in an accessible place and always have a fire escape plan in case your extinguisher fails.

Distress Signals

Becoming stranded at sea is a great fear among boaters and that’s why sound and visual distress signals are also federally required pieces of safety equipment for all boating vessels. Any boat 40 feet or shorter must carry some type of sound signal that is audible for a 1/2- mile. Vessels 26 feet or shorter must carry visual distress signals any time it is on the water between sunset and sunrise, however, it is recommended to carry both sound and visual distress signals at all times.

Sound distress signals include:

  • Whistle
  • Handheld horn
  • Siren

Visual distress signals include:

  • Parachute flares
  • Handheld flares
  • Floating smoke signals
  • Marker dyes
  • Electric distress lights

Regardless of the type of distress signal you choose to carry on your vessel, ensure that all signals comply with US Coast Guard regulations and are in working condition.

Marine Radio

You may find yourself in a situation where you are on the water and outside of a cellular range. In compliance with boating safety regulations, it is always a good idea to have a VHF marine radio on board in order to contact help.

A VHF marine radio or very high-frequency marine radio is a worldwide system of two-way radio transceivers that allows boaters to communicate with other ships or those on the shore. If you plan to travel more than a few miles offshore, you should equip your vessel with an MF/HF radiotelephone, mobile satellite telephone, an emergency position indicating radio beacon, and a second VHF radio or cellular telephone as well.

Bilge Pump

The bilge of your vessel is bound to take on some water during your outing, but taking on large amounts of water in the bilge due to a leak can cause the entire vessel to sink. A bilge pump is designed to filter water out of the bilge to protect your boat. Most electrical bilge pumps come with a float switch that turns the pump on when the bilge fills to a certain level.

Even the largest bilge pumps will only buy you a little bit of time to repair the leak so it is recommended that you have at least one large bilge pump and a secondary pump in case of system failures.

Boating Safety 101

Boating can be the adventure of a lifetime, but it can quickly turn into a nightmare without the correct boating safety precautions. Along with stocking your vessel with these 7 accessories, it’s important to stay up to date on wake boat servicing to ensure your boat is in pristine condition for each outing.

If you’ve been itching to try out your sea legs, come see us at M2o Marine, the premier wake boat dealership serving the San Diego area, or call 888-539-2870 for more information.

Set Sail for an Unforgettable Adventure With M2O Marine

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