Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
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AIS is not all that useful IMHO, unless you have a chartplotter or radar display that can read the AIS information and display it graphically on-screen. Most units that have AIS capability are relatively new, so getting AIS would generally require either a new chartplotter or new radar.
I'd second the idea of filing a float plan, either with the USCG or with family or friends.
You don't necessarily need to buy an EPIRB, as BoatUS/West Marine have an EPIRB rental program. However, if you're renting for more than a week a year, it makes sense to buy your own in many ways.
Jacklines, tethers, non-expired flares, knives, strobes and whistles on the safety harnesses of the PFDs are all good ideas. Also check any inflatable PFDs and their inflation equipment, and make sure you have spares CO2 cartridges and automatic release kits for any inflatable PFDs.
The idea of having some water-proof or water-resistant flashlights about the boat is great one. You should have some equipped with a red-lens that are clearly and easily recognized as such, even in the dark.
Some good spare clothes, preferably polar-fleece or other synthetics that stay relatively warm when wet are also a good idea to have on-board. I carry a small stash of polar-fleece blankets too. Good for when crew gets wet and needs to warm up.
Last thing... get a good, well-insulated, big vacuum flask or thermos bottle. The ones with the wide mouths and a pour top are excellent, as you can use them for either hot drinks or hot soups, and they're easier to clean out.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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