Four must-haves for any sailboat

Set your nautical compass to fun, hoist your sails and get ready for the trip of a lifetime. But not so fast! You'll first need a few things with you to ensure your trip goes smoothly. Below are four must-haves for every sailboat trip.

Four must-haves for any sailboat

1. First aid and emergency kit

One of the most important items to bring with you on your sailboat is a first aid kit. No matter how safe you are, accidents can happen.

You can purchase a first aid kit at most marine stores or your neighbourhood pharmacy. If anyone who's going to be on the boat has medications or emergency devices such as inhalers or auto-injectors, keep them near the emergency kit.

2. VHF marine radio

A VHF Marine radio allows you to radio in to the coast guards and other emergency services.

While you might think that you'll never personally need the help of these organizations, you may come across another vessel in distress and your call could save them.

Though most radios are sold as plug-in options, there are some that can be wired into the boat. Both are equally effective but you should also consider a battery-operated hand held radio as an emergency backup. In a situation where the boat's electrical system goes down, a handheld radio could be a life saver.

Whichever model you choose, once you've got a VHF radio on board, make sure you follow the instructions that come with it to test it before each adventure you set out on.

3. GPS - marine chart plotter

There are some who know the open waters like the back of their hands but mishaps can throw even the most seasoned navigator off-course.

Having a Marine Chart Plotter can help you stay on track. You can also map out your trips, find local docking ports and find alternate routes to your destination.

A compass is handy as well. There are compass and GPS- Marine Chart Plotter apps on Android and iOS but if your carrier doesn't serve the area you're sailing in you may have trouble connecting.

To avoid connection issues, you might be better off using an independent GPS.

4. Gas cooking appliances

A lack of electrical cooking appliances is a real pain for most sailors but there is a solution: gas appliances.

However, these appliances can cause a fire hazard so make sure to buy appliances that say "safe for road and boat travel."

You can purchase gas ovens, burners and grills for a wide variety of boats. Just remember that if your sailboat doesn't have electricity you'll have no way to cool any perishable foods. If this is the case, it's best to buy foods that require little water  to prepare and no cooling.

Get the right gear for your trips

Before you head out on your sailboat, make sure that you've got the right gear for the kind of trips you'll usually be taking.

Covering all of the areas outlined here will see you off to a good start. And it will help you stay safe and comfortable while out on the water.

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