The ultimate boat safety starter kit for beginners

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Congratulations, you’ve just bought a boat! But before you’re ready to take it out on the water, there are a few things you should know. Transport Canada has regulations in place to ensure each boat on the water is equipped for safety so there are specific items you’ll need to be carrying on board that you might not be aware of. In order to make it easy for you, we’ve compiled the ultimate boat safety starter kit—a list of the safety equipment that’s legally required on a boat and where to buy it as well as some common sense essentials you won’t want to do without. Now sail away!

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Transport Canada requires boat owners to carry one lifejacket per person on board. Keep at least three on deck at all times and encourage passengers to bring their own lifejacket if they have one. Buy now on Amazon.

Floating Rope

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At least 50 feet of floating rope is required on board a boat smaller than 19 feet. This rope can be used for docking, anchoring, towing, rigging, and in worst-case scenarios, throwing it to a person who has fallen overboard. Buy now on Amazon.


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There must be a ladder on board to make sure everyone can safely get onto the dock from the boat and vice versa. This stainless steel ladder folds up so it can be stowed away while not in use. Buy now on Amazon.

Waterproof Flashlight

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Stock your boat starter kit with a flashlight, which is indispensable for evening boat rides and can be used for extra visibility while looking out onto the water. Alternately, you can substitute a flashlight with three to six flares, depending on the size of the boat. Buy now on Amazon.


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Always keep a paddle on board for emergency purposes. You don’t want to be caught miles from dry land if the motor cuts out without anything to get you back. We prefer a collapsible paddle for easy storage purposes. Buy now on Amazon.


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Anchors are a crucial component for docking and necessary for your boat starter kit. This lightweight aluminum anchor “has an adjustable angled fluke for faster setting in sand or mud seabeds.” Buy now at Fogh Boat Supplies.


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A bailer is any type of bucket or tub that can be used to throw water out of the boat. This handy bailer kit includes a flashlight, a whistle, and a floating rope. Buy now at Amazon.


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While a regular plastic whistle will certainly do the trick, we appreciate the craftsmanship and history of this Boatswain’s whistle. Buy now.


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Your boat starter kit would be nothing without a compass. This one will mount to the surface of the helm and features “built-in compensators to correct for deviation.” Buy now.


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If you’re going to be outside on the water don’t forget to apply sunscreen. Keep an extra bottle on board for easy reapplication. Buy now.


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Double up on sun protection with a hat. In addition to blocking the sun, it will also help keep the wind from whipping across your face. Buy now.

Ziploc bags

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It goes without saying that you may end up with a little bit of water spray inside the vessel. Keep Ziploc bags in your boat starter kit to store phones or any electronics that may be on board, just in case. Buy now.

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