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I’m sure that the first time I have a real need for any of the safety implements that we carry on our boat, my opinion on the subject will change but, at present, I really hate spending money on things that we hope never to use. For the record, we’re talking about a fair chunk of change here and some of the products have either a limited shelf life or need to be serviced on a regular basis.

Just for interest’s sake, the following items are required by, what the MCA calls, Class XII vessels. These are pleasure vessels between 13.7m (45′) and 24m (72′) in registered length. Before we get into this though, in case this isn’t 100% obvious, even though I may be quoting some code, this is not a formal document! Do your own research as to what your country requires of your vessel.

That said, according to what I have read, the following times are listed as requirements for every ship of 13.7 meters in length or over but less than 24 meters in length that will be engaged on a voyage to sea during the course of which it will be more than 20 miles but less than 150 miles from the coast. In other words, a passage similar to that which we are about to undertake today. Vessels traveling further offshore require an even more extensive list of safety equipment.

The new fire blanket that we just purchased and installed.
It is what got me motivated to post on this subject.

Let’s assume for the estimates that you are a husband and wife cruising with a couple of kids and have another couple on board as guests. If your vessel fell into the category described above you would be required to carry:

  • One or more inflatable liferafts with a total capacity to accommodate at least the total number of persons on board (in our example that would be 6): Approx. $3500.00
  • Two lifebuoys (Approx. $90.00 each), one of which shall be fitted with a self-igniting light (Approx. $140.00) and a buoyant lifeline at least 18 meters in length: Approx. $320.00
  • A lifejacket suitable for a person weighing 32 kilograms or more for each such person on board (Mustang hydrostatic inflatable with harness – Approx. $300.00 each); a lifejacket suitable for a person weighing less than 32 kilograms for each such person on board (Approx. $50.00 each): Approx. $1300.00
  • Each lifejacket shall be fitted with a lifejacket light complying with an appropriate MCA recognized standard ($20.00-100.00 each): Approx. $300.00
  • 4 parachute flares (Approx. $63.00 each): Approx. $252.00
  • 4 red hand flares (Approx. $27.00 each): Approx. $108.00
  • 4 white hand flares (Approx. $27.00 each): Approx. $108.00
  • 2 orange smoke flares (Approx. $63.00 each): Approx. $126.00
  • A maritime radio capable of transmitting and receiving, appropriate to the area of operation. Approx. $150.00
  • Not less than four multi-purpose fire extinguishers to a recognized standard (Approx. $35.00 each): Approx. $140.00
  • Not less than two fire buckets with lanyards. Fire buckets may be of metal, plastic or canvas and should be suitable for their intended service. It’s a bucket… if you’re spending a lot on this you are not a cruiser!: Approx $10.00

Obviously the biggy in the above list is the liferaft. Even if I take that out though, the remainder still totals almost $3000.00. With the liferaft in we’re talking a whopping $6500.00. That’s not all though. The above list is just what the MCA code talks about for that class of pleasure vessels. It makes no mention of all of the following safety products that are either mandated for other vessels or are carried optionally.

I’m sure there’s plenty more safety stuff on the market too. I was just listing things that came to mind without any research.

If all goes well, our next stop will be Union Island. Wish us luck because there are a lot of things on this list that we do not have on board. We will be carrying with us a good dose of (un)common sense though. Hopefully that will see us through.


  • In ships of Class XII, every inflatable liferaft, compressed gas inflatable lifejacket and hydrostatic release unit shall be serviced by the manufacturer’s approved agent, at the manufacturers recommended intervals, however where liferaft(s) are stored in valises these should be serviced at least annually.
  • Multi-purpose fire extinguishers shall have a capability to deal with both Category A fires involving sold materials, and Category B fires, involving liquids or liquefiable solids. Portable fire extinguishers provided in compliance with these Regulations shall be of approved types and /or technically equivalent to BS EN3.


  1. Hope you have a good passage!


  2. I always felt a quilt dunked into the ocean will become a quick fire blanket. Perhaps the extra fire extinguishers make the most sense; we had a fan catch fire off-shore, and that was stimulating.

    For the guests, why not meat-and-potatoes plain jackets? I feel they are more likely to survive stoage.

    Your cat sink? No, not in any hurry. And you have an inflatable tender. Fire is the only concern.

    And I can’t help sharing my “captain Safety” rant.

    Certainly, the further out and the larger the boat, the more makes sense. It’s when I see all of this on obvious dock queens that I snicker.

    • The fire blanket being right beside the stove means that it could be quickly deployed. You’re right about fire being our biggest threat which is why I don’t mind (too much) spending that bit of money.

      As for the life jackets, I only listed inflatables as an example. Rebecca and I have one each but the rest of the PFDs we have on board are normal ones.

      As for your post, I liked it!

  3. And the price for some of that gear goes up exponentially if you’re out of the US. Well over $100 each eight years ago for parachute flares in Mexico!

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