Rescue Ready Boating in Alaska Series: Equipment

Angela: “Before you make any voyages it’s important to have a lot of the safety equipment on board, depending on the type of vessel you have, and where your voyage is going to be.” Jacques: “For you to be rescue ready, you need to be wearing your life jacket, you need to have some sort of communication device on you, and, you know, some way to signal somebody, so, like a whistle, or flares, or something that is on your person at all times. It’s really important that you have a re-boarding device on the vessel to help you get back into the vessel.” Trooper Libbing: “Based on the size of your vessel, there’s certain requirements that you’ll need to have on your boat: life jackets, throwable devices, sound devices, visual distress signals, fire extinguishers, depending on the size of your boat, navigation lights, backfire flame arrestor, if it’s an inboard engine, ventilation, and a copy of the registration. We also recommend that operators of a boat attach an engine cutoff device as well.” Kelli: “People don’t really realize that canoes and kayaks are considered vessels and there are certain equipment that they must have. They must have a life jacket, they must be able to make a sufficient sound signal They must have an all around white light between sunset and sunrise or in restricted visibility, like smoke or fog. That includes stand up paddle boards too.” Jacques: “Prior to getting underway you need to make sure all your safety equipment is properly stowed and accessible where it needs to be. It’s very important before you go on your trip that you do a walk through on your vessel to make sure that you have all your proper safety equipment on board and anything else that you might need for that trip.” Kelli: “A boater should carry both an alert device and a locate device.” Jacques: “So emergency communication devices would include like a marine VHF radio, cell phone in a waterproof bag, or a personal locator beacon.” Angela: “So if you have a dash VHF radio on your vessel, ensure that it’s connected to your GPS, so that when you have a distress that happens, you’re able to press that emergency distress button and it gives us your exact position. If you have an emergency locator beacon on you or on your vessel, make sure that it’s properly registered with the proper name of your vessel, your name, and a contact information we’re able to reach out to you your name, and a contact information we’re able to reach out to you.” Hanna: “A really calm wake turned into raging swells because of wind, and the boat just started taking on water and sinking. So my dad yelled at us to jump, get away from the boat, and within a matter of a split second, I turned around and the boat’s gone. And my dad just said, ‘We need to get out of this water.’ And my dad just said, ‘We need to get out of this water.’ And a mistake that we made was not having our personal locator beacon on our person, it was in our boat, completely gone, totally submerged. We just started swimming because we knew that we were probably not gonna receive any help at that time. I saw how far away we were from the shore, um, ‘I also wanted to see my mom again, and I wanted to be able to go to college, and I wanted to be able to go to college, and I just wasn’t ready.'” “Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!” Kelli: “So if you’ve pushed your personal locator beacon or you’ve completed your mayday call and you know that search and rescue is on the way, utilizing a mirror, a whistle, smoke, a flare, a flashlight, a white LED light, some way to bring search and rescue professionals in the final mile is very helpful.” Hanna: “Once me, and my sister, and my friend reached the shore, it was just the three of us at that point, we had lost my sister’s friend and my dad. We saw like a plane or two kind of doing a grid pattern, so we were pretty sure that they were looking for us and we were down there for a good while and then we kind of looked to our left and we noticed that there was possibly a boat way off in the distance, we weren’t completely sure. We just kept waving, hoping that if it was, that they would see us.” Jacques: “A person on the beach or in the water is really hard to see and so the signaling device makes you more visible to your rescuers and gets their attention.” Hanna: “You know anything can happen, and it’s always best to be as prepared as you can You always want to have a communication device on you and some way to alert others around you that you need help.”

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