RYA Day Skipper Safety Equipment

Safety Equipment Required On Private Yachts In The UK by RYA Theory Course Provider Ardent Training

So, you have bought a boat, and now you want to take it out and learn to sail? You have to make sure that you are properly equipped before going out on the water, not just for your own safety, but also for the safety of others. We strongly recommend getting proper training and qualifications, for example, the RYA Day Skipper licence. However, if you can’t wait, this post will list precisely what you need to carry aboard to be on the right side of the law.

For private pleasure vessels that are less than 13.7 meters in length, there are surprisingly few legal requirements listed in the SOLAS V convention (Safety of Life at Sea), and no other statutory requirements in the UK. However, vessels of over 13.7m have a few more mandatory items listed. Regardless of how much or little is required, it goes without saying that you should properly equip your boat before going out on the water, and, that equipment should be regularly checked for wear and tear, or damage.

We have compiled lists of what you are required to carry, and what we recommend in coastal UK waters.

You don’t have to have an RYA skippers licence to go to sea, but just carrying the equipment isn’t enough to save lives either. We also need to know how all the equipment and items are used. For this, we strongly recommend the RYA Day Skipper course, or for the more experienced amongst you, the RYA Coastal Skipper or Yachtmaster course.

These courses come in two parts, theory and practical, both of which may be required. The RYA theory can be taken online with Ardent Training so there are no excuses not to get started today.

Skippers Safety Equipment Checklist

Key: M = Mandatory | R = Recommended | D = at your DiscretionPleasure vessels up to 13.7m in length Pleasure vessels 13.7m in length and over
Information & communications:
Lifesaving Signals List/CardMM
VHF radioRM
Backup handheld VHF radioRR
MF / HF radio DD
SSB radio and / or Satellite telephoneDD
LW Radio (to receive BBC Radio 4 shipping forecast)DD
Navigation and collision avoidance:
Almanac (including tide tables)RR
Pilot GuideRR
Tidal Stream AtlasRR
5011, Symbols and Abbreviations, or alternativeRR
Ship’s Log BookRR
Accurate clock or watchRR
Hand Bearing CompassRR
Fixed steering compass (lit for boating at night)RR
Drawing instruments for navigation (e.g. plotter & dividers)RR
Log (for monitoring distance travelled) RR
GPS / Chart PlotterRR
Automatic Identification System (AIS)DD
Radar reflectorMM
Navigation lights, day shapes & sound signalling equipmentMM
A powerful torchRR
A lifejacket (or buoyancy aid) for everyone on boardRM
Jackstays and safety linesRR
Fire fighting equipmentMM
Distress flaresDM
Electronic Visual Distress Signals (EVDS)RD
First aid kitRR
Liferaft and grab bagRM
MOB life ring or horseshoeRM
MOB danbuoyRM
MOB throwing lineRM
Emergency tiller/backup helmRR
Equipment to deal with water ingress (Bailer, Bilge Pump, Bungs)RR
Emergency VHF aerial for fixed VHFDD
Carbon Monoxide detector RR
Smoke alarmRR
Other important equipment:
Anchor & cable / warpRR
Propeller guards and rope cuttersDD
Storm sails (for sailing yachts)RR
Tools and spares (engine, electrics, rig, sails etc)RR
Safety harness for going aloft (for sailing yachts)RR
Boarding ladder RM
Strong bucket with lanyardRM
Spare fuel (in appropriate storage)DD
Mooring linesRR
Sea anchor & / drogueDD
Pump & puncture repair kit (for inflatable boats)RR
Alternative means of propulsion (oars, outboard engine, sails etc.)RR
Remember, these are guidelines for coastal waters and are not sufficient research alone for compliance with regulations.

There are almost no mandatories in this list, however, one conflicting requirement is listed in SOLAS V under Regulation 34 – Safe navigation and avoidance of dangerous situations:

  1. Prior to proceeding to sea, the master shall ensure that the intended voyage has been planned using the appropriate nautical charts and nautical publications for the area concerned, taking into account the guidelines and recommendations developed by the Organization.
  2. The voyage plan shall identify a route which:
    1. takes into account any relevant ships’ routeing systems
    2. ensures sufficient sea room for the safe passage of the ship throughout the voyage
    3. anticipates all known navigational hazards and adverse weather conditions; and
    4. takes into account the marine environmental protection measures that apply, and avoids, as far as possible, actions and activities which could cause damage to the environment

It’s hard to argue how a safe passage plan could be constructed without charts and tidal information.

RYA Day Skipper Licence

If you are new to sailing, or have some basic knowledge but want to know more, then give our RYA Day Skipper course a try. You will learn everything you need to know to keep you, your vessel, and your passengers safe on the water. Sailing is even more fun when you know what you are doing. Don’t forget, we even offer a free 24-hour trial.

Come on, join us aboard, we look forward to seeing you in our course!

An EPIRB which you can learn all about in our online RYA Day Skipper Theory course.
In our RYA Day Skipper Theory course we launch our liferaft so you can see exactly what to expect.


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