Essential Equipment
Aswell as the compulsory compass, there is a whole host of other equipment you should give real consideration to when owning your own boat. These items can make your fishing experience much more accurate, comfortable,reassuring and some of them might also save your life. Some can prove expensive while others very cheap. But all will prove their usefulness in the right situation.
A good strong boat Hook is a very important tool that all small boats should possess. It never fails to be useful in bad situations. The hook can be used to catch your mooring when coming back from a trip or ensuring your boat is not bashed off walls when in harbours allowing passengers to get off or on. Should you find yourself in a situation your engine will not start and are drifting into shallows or rocks, this will often be your last line of defence. remember you often can not start your engine in very shallow water and this tool can be used to literally pole you out! If you do not have one GET ONE! Any small boat skipper will tell you the same.
Boat Hook:
A small outboard is worth its weight in gold. Who knows when you might run into trouble with your main engine? You can usually pick one up relatively cheaply second hand. The 'Seagull' engines are old but tend to be very reliable as they are of quite simple costruction. The usual going price is only 150 which is well worth it when you consider the reasurance they give.
Auxillary Outboard:
Fish Finder/Sounder:
Not normally considered to be safety equipment, The sounder does give you an indication of the depth you are in and many give you a reading of the power in your battery. These are important safety features and provide great peace of mind and more importantly damageing your propellar on the bottom.
G.P.S. The global positioning system has countless uses and all skippers should invest in one. The peace of mind they provide and fuel economy they provide will pay for itself many times over. A huge wealth of information from anchor drag alarms - your current speed are all provided from this compact unit as well as the ability to mark hazards and tell the coast gaurd EXACTLY where you are. A masterful tool should you find yourself in fog or night situations These are only some of the functions and should not be sniffled at.
All boats should have one. The VHF is a very useful tool which will allow you to call up the coast gaurd or another boat should you be in peril. Hourly forecasts are given and allow you to update your situation. Groups of boats can easily stay in contact and thus keep an eye on each other and the ability to listen into port radio allows you to keep out of the way of shipping lanes.
V.H.F. Radio:
Flares:
Flares again should be on all boats. there are different flares for different situations and you should have the correct ones and know how to use them. They often save peoples lives.
Radar:
Not an instrument carried by many small boat owners but it does have it's obvious uses. Other boats, rocks, cliffs and ships are all shown on the radar and can be indespensible in fog situations. They do tend to be expensive though.
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