Essential equipment

Navigation Aids

In all but the smallest of boats you will need a chart. If you go more than a mile or two from shore you will need a compass. A GPS and a depth sounder are very useful. Exactly what you carry will depend on the size and type of boat and how far from land you go. Talk to Coastguard or Maritime NZ for advice.

Bailing System

Even if you carry an electric bilge pump, always carry a bucket or bailer. It can also be used to put out fires and has many other uses.

Communication Equipment

This includes VHF radio, flares, locater beacons and cellphones. On any trip you need to carry two means of communication and three means if you are over 2 miles from shore. The number of lives lost could be reduced by 60% if a waterproof means of communicating distress was carried on all boats under 6m.


To determine the right size for your boat, the anchor should weigh not less than 1.5 kg per metre of boat length, with chain at least equal the length of the boat. A non-floating rope well secured to the boat should be as long as practicable.

First Aid Kit

Should contain enough supplies to cover minor accidents or injury. Remember to carry a remedy for sea sickness as well as sun block.

Fire Extinguishers

If you have an engine or cooker on board always carry at least one fire extinguisher that is suitable for your type of boating. Know how to use it and ensure it is serviced regularly. (image Fire extinguisher)

Boat Hook

As well as being used to pick up lines, buoys and objects in the water, your boat hook can be used for checking the depth of water, pushing off or help in recovering a person overboard.

Throwing Line

A floating line at least 12m in length with a floating weight at one end.


Always carry a torch with spare batteries and bulb.

Alternative Power

Spare outboard, oars or paddles to help you manoeuvre the boat in the event of a power failure or if the wind dies away while sailing.


Always carry an extra length (or two) of rope, you never know when you might need to use it.

Life Jackets and Buoyancy Aids

You must always carry one of the correct size for each person on board. Wearing it is mandatory at all times of increased risk.


Has many uses – keep it sharp.

Radar Reflector

Assists other vessels to see small boats at night.

Protective Clothing

Carry adequate warm, protective clothing.