10 Essential Items Every Modern Sailor Should Have Onboard


Setting sail on the open water is an exhilarating experience, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. Whether you’re a seasoned boatsman or a newbie, having the right gear on your boat is crucial for safety, convenience, and enjoyment. Let’s take a closer look at the ten essential items every modern sailor should have onboard.

Life Jackets and Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)

Safety should always be your top priority on the water. Ensure that you have enough life jackets for everyone onboard and that they fit properly. PFDs come in various styles and sizes, so choose comfortable ones for your boating style.

Navigation Tools

While modern boats often come equipped with advanced navigation systems, it’s still wise to carry traditional tools as backups. A reliable marine GPS, a comprehensive set of charts, a compass, and a depth finder are indispensable. These tools will help you navigate safely, especially in unfamiliar waters. Ensuring that your tack and canvas from Far East Sails are in mint condition before you sail is one of your most crucial onboard tools.

First Aid Kit 

Accidents can happen anytime, so a well-stocked first aid kit is a must. Include bandages, antiseptics, pain relievers, seasickness remedies, and personal medications. Familiarize yourself with the kit’s contents and ensure everyone onboard knows where it’s stored.

VHF Radio

A VHF radio is essential for communication on the water. It allows you to contact other boats, marinas, and emergency services. Ensure your radio is in good working condition and you know how to use it. In an emergency, a VHF radio can be a lifesaver.

Emergency Signaling Devices

In an emergency, you need to signal for help. Flares, a signal mirror, a whistle, and an air horn are basic signaling devices every sailor should have. An EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) or a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) can also be invaluable in an emergency.

Anchor and Rope

An anchor is essential for holding your boat in place, especially in rough waters or when you must stop for a while. Ensure you have a suitable anchor for your boat size and type and enough rope to secure it properly. Knowing how to anchor correctly is also critical.

Tool Kit

Mechanical issues can arise anytime, so having a basic tool kit and some spare parts onboard can save the day. Include items like wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, tape, and spare fuses. Also, consider carrying spare parts for critical systems, such as the engine and plumbing.

Fire Extinguishers

Fire safety is crucial on a boat. Ensure you have the right type and number of fire extinguishers for your vessel, and keep them easily accessible. Regularly check their condition and know how to use them effectively. A small onboard fire can quickly become a major problem on the water.

Food and Water Supplies

Even if you’re just out on a day trip, having enough food and water is essential. Pack non-perishable snacks, meals, and plenty of drinking water. Consider carrying extra supplies in case your trip lasts longer than expected or if you encounter delays.

Sun Protection and Weather Gear

Protecting yourself from the elements is crucial for a comfortable sailing experience. Bring sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, and lightweight, long-sleeved clothing for sun protection. Additionally, have rain gear and warm clothing for unexpected weather changes. Staying dry and warm can improve your comfort and safety while you sail.

Being prepared is essential for a successful and enjoyable sailing experience. You can navigate the waters with confidence and peace of mind by ensuring you have these ten essential items onboard. Safety always comes first, so regularly check your equipment and replace outdated or worn-out items. Happy sailing!