Marine safety: 10 essential items for summer

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

Check out these 10 essential pieces of marine safety gear.

Boating season is about to head into full swing with the real summer just about here. Having the right marine safety gear is one of the most important things on a boat, yet it’s often one of the most overlooked.

Indeed, every year the water police conduct countless checks and as well as marine safety campaigns targeting boat owners and their safety gear – typically followed by numerous fines and warnings.

Here are 10 marine safety items that will help show you’re doing the right thing (especially if you’re checked by the authorities next time you’re out on the water).


10 essential pieces of boat safety gear


Smallest EPIRB in the world 

Smallest EPIRB in the world

Ocean Signal has created the world’s smallest EPIRB, launched at the Sydney International Boat Show. Weighing just 422g and 178mm high, the rescueME EPIRB is a Class 3 device (manually-operated) with retractable antenna for easy mounting in power boats or yachts.

While compact in size, the rescueME unit does everything you’d expect of an EPIRB – integrated 66 channel GPS, 10 year battery life and transmission on the COSPAS-SARSAT-monitored 406MHz satellite system. Additionally, there’s a 121.5MHz homing beacon and two bright strobes for visibility in poor conditions. Once activated, it will transmit for at least 48 hours. The unit will be available from November through Taylor Marine nation-wide and All Sat Communications.

More info:

SMRT V100 Locator Beacon

sMRT V100 Locator Beacon

Dan buoys have traditionally been used to mark the position of a man overboard and give the person in the water something to cling onto while the boat circles back. Now SOS Marine and Mobilarm have launched an electronic MOB beacon which sends GPS coordinates of the dan buoy to the vessel’s chartplotter, ensuring a faster and more accurate response. The sMRT V100 Locator Beacon also provides an alarm over AIS and DSC to alert other vessels in the area that a search is underway.

sMRT V100 price: $1250

More info:

Road Tech Marine lifejackets 

Road Tech Marine lifejackets (PFDs)

Not only is it unwise to head out for a boating session without a lifejacket (PFD) onboard – it’s illegal, too. So be sure to throw one in your kit for yourself and your crew.

Road Tech Marine carries a large range of PFDs from standard foam-filled to inflatable lifejacket vests, for both adults and children of all sizes.

Among the most popular items are Axis brand Offshore 150 lifejacket – far more comfortable to wear than bulky foam-filled units, and manually inflated via the toggle that activates a small gas cylinder mounted on the vest.

Road Tech Marine lifejacket price: $79.90

More info:

Sea and Rescue Survival liferaft 

Rescue and survival liferafts

If you find yourself in a position requiring a liferaft, the odds are you’ve got bigger problems going on than figuring out how to launch the damn thing. Maritime history is sadly littered with tragedies where crew or passengers were unable to deploy their liferafts, so the concept of a self-deploying liferaft makes a lot of sense. Sea and Rescue Survival has developed a water-activated liferaft release system, which can be fitted to new products or retro-fitted to existing safety gear during regular servicing. Such a system eliminates human error or accessibility issues, and on larger vessels the water activation system can be combined with a cradle system, allowing safety gear to be deployed via remote from the helm station. Recue and Survival Group also sells a range of liferafts suited to both recreational and commercial vessels.

More information:

Crewsaver Ergo Fit lifejacket 

Crewsaver ErgoFit lifejacket

Billed as the ultimate Personal Flotation Device (PFD), the Crewsaver ErgoFit collection offers 3D moulded lifejackets of professional quality. Used globally by career mariners and racing sailors, the ErgoFit PFDs feature twin crutch straps, an integral safety harness, a pocket for a safety knife and on some models, an integrated hood and SOLAS-approved light. Best of all, they’re designed for comfort with soft mesh lining, foam padding and quick-adjust buckles.

Crewsaver ErgoFit PFD price: $209 (Ergofit Coastal 190); $349 (ErgoFit 190 Offshore); $369 (Ergofit Ocean 290)

More info:

 ACR Res QLink PLB

ACR ResQLink personal locator beacon

Personal locator beacons are becoming more popular for all sorts of outdoor activities, but they’re essential equipment for any trip on the water.

Boating in even the most benign weather can occasionally go wrong in an instant and the compact ResQLink PLB from ACR can get you out of a jam if required. Small enough to fit in your pocket or
attach to a lifejacket and available in floating or non-floating versions, the ResQLink PLB will guide rescuers to within 100m of your location once activated. For trips further afield, ACR’s GlobalFix Pro EPIRB is another safe bet, in Category I (automatic) or Category II (manually deployed) configurations. Don’t leave home without ‘em!

ACR PLB price: $350 (ResQLink); $500 (GlobalFix Pro)

More info:

 Digitech 3W VHF

Digitech 3W VHF radio

It’s all very well having a handheld VHF on board your boat, but what about when the sheet hits the fan? You’d better hope that VHF is built to take a pounding, otherwise calling for assistance might be slightly tricky. This 3W VHF from Digitech will do the job – it’s built waterproof to IP67 spec and floats too, for those with a tendency toward fumbling.
This compact number covers all the usual tasks – one-touch emergency Channel 16, full coverage of international VHF channels, transmission range up to 10km and power-save switch for when you’re just chatting to nearby boaters. Included is a mains charging cradle, or it can also be powered using an on-board 12V source, available separately.

Digitech 3W VHF price: $99

More info:



GME’s new MT600G EPIRB features improved GPS functionality which is aimed at reducing the search area in an emergency.

The MT600G EPIRB (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon) includes a 66-channel GPS receiver which, as mentioned above, reduces the search area to a 100m radius plus a 121.5MHz homing signal to aid rescuers. It also features a quick-release bracket, automatic antenna, 10-year battery life and self-testing capability.

MT600G EPIRB price: $399

More info:

Rescue ME PLB1 

RescueME PLB1

Wherever you are at sea or on land, the RescueME PLB1 provides reassurance that emergency services can be alerted by the press of a button. This Personal Locator Beacon can be operated with one hand, in even the most challenging situations but a simple spring-loaded flap covers the activation button preventing inadvertent use.  When activated, the RescueME PLB1 transmits your position and your ID to a rescue coordination centre via satellite link. Rescue services are promptly notified of your emergency and regularly advised of your current location.

RescueME PLB1 price: $399

More info:

Dan Buoy liferaft 

Dan Buoy liferaft package

It’s frightening enough when an emergency occurs while boating, but bulky, complicated rescue equipment can often make the experience even worse for inexperienced boaters. A new lightweight and affordable Dan Buoy and a two-person liferaft from SOS Marine are specially designed for couples boating alone, many of whom spend much of their time within sight of land. Both products are ready-to-deploy and auto-inflating, ensuring that anyone can safely launch the device to quickly assist their partner in an emergency.

The 4kg Dan Buoy package simply requires being thrown toward a person overboard, while the 7.5kg liferaft is fully-kitted out, but without the high servicing costs of larger rafts.

Dan Buoy price: $299 | Two-person liferaft price: $1249

More info:


Want the latest stories delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for the free TradeBoats e-newsletter.