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 Discretion||Pleasure vessels up to 13.7m in length||Pleasure vessels 13.7m in length and over|
|Information & communications:|
|Lifesaving Signals List/Card||M||M|
|Backup handheld VHF radio||R||R|
|MF / HF radio||D||D|
|SSB radio and / or Satellite telephone||D||D|
|LW Radio (to receive BBC Radio 4 shipping forecast)||D||D|
|Navigation and collision avoidance:|
|Almanac (including tide tables)||R||R|
|Tidal Stream Atlas||R||R|
|5011, Symbols and Abbreviations, or alternative||R||R|
|Ship’s Log Book||R||R|
|Accurate clock or watch||R||R|
|Hand Bearing Compass||R||R|
|Fixed steering compass (lit for boating at night)||R||R|
|Drawing instruments for navigation (e.g. plotter & dividers)||R||R|
|Log (for monitoring distance travelled)||R||R|
|GPS / Chart Plotter||R||R|
|Automatic Identification System (AIS)||D||D|
|Navigation lights, day shapes & sound signalling equipment||M||M|
|A powerful torch||R||R|
|A lifejacket (or buoyancy aid) for everyone on board||R||M|
|Jackstays and safety lines||R||R|
|Fire fighting equipment||M||M|
|Electronic Visual Distress Signals (EVDS)||R||D|
|First aid kit||R||R|
|Liferaft and grab bag||R||M|
|406 MHz EPIRB / PLB||D||D|
|SART / AIS SART||D||D|
|MOB life ring or horseshoe||R||M|
|MOB throwing line||R||M|
|Emergency tiller/backup helm||R||R|
|Equipment to deal with water ingress (Bailer, Bilge Pump, Bungs)||R||R|
|Emergency VHF aerial for fixed VHF||D||D|
|Carbon Monoxide detector||R||R|
|Other important equipment:|
|Anchor & cable / warp||R||R|
|Propeller guards and rope cutters||D||D|
|Storm sails (for sailing yachts)||R||R|
|Tools and spares (engine, electrics, rig, sails etc)||R||R|
|Safety harness for going aloft (for sailing yachts)||R||R|
|Strong bucket with lanyard||R||M|
|Spare fuel (in appropriate storage)||D||D|
|Sea anchor & / drogue||D||D|
|Pump & puncture repair kit (for inflatable boats)||R||R|
|Alternative means of propulsion (oars, outboard engine, sails etc.)||R||R|
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:
- 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.
- The voyage plan shall identify a route which:
- takes into account any relevant ships’ routeing systems
- ensures sufficient sea room for the safe passage of the ship throughout the voyage
- anticipates all known navigational hazards and adverse weather conditions; and
- 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!
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