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Boaters Checklist

Items Required by Montana or Federal Law*

Girls wearing lifevests.
  • Wearable Life Jackets
  • Throwable PFD (boats 16’ or longer)
  • Fire Extinguisher(s) (Motorboat)
  • Backfire Flame Arrester (Motorboat)
  • Ventilation System (Motorboat)
  • Whistle or Horn
  • Navigational Lights
  • Registration Document
  • (sailboats 12’ long and longer and all motorboats)
  • Registration Number and Decal
  • (sailboats 12’ long and longer and all motorboats)

Emergency Gear

  • Throw Rope/Bag
  • Signaling Mirror (on life jacket)
  • Whistle (on life jacket)
  • Light/Strobe (on life jacket)
  • Rescue Blanket
  • Spare Warm Hats, Mittens, Socks
  • Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB)
  • Matches (in a waterproof container), Lighter or Flint and Steel
  • A type of Fire Starter
  • Water Purification Tablets, Filter or Purifier
  • Distress Flag (black square and ball on orange background)
  • Emergency Food and Water
  • Dry Bag(s)

Recommended Items

  • Dewatering Device (bucket, bailer, bilge pump)
  • Anchor and Line
  • Mooring Lines
  • Extra Lines
  • Toolkit or Multipurpose Tool
  • Maps
  • Compass
  • GPS
  • Extra Paddle/Oar
  • Spare Parts (as appropriate)
  • Spare Prop (Motorboat)
  • Weather Radio
  • Knife
  • Flashlight/Spotlight (preferably with batteries that work)
  • Communications Ability (VHF radio, CB radio, cell phone,
  • satellite phone, 2-way radios)
  • Emergency Gear (see list)
  • First Aid Kit (see list)
  • Repair Kit/Duct Tape
  • Boat Hook
  • Extra fuel/oil (Motorboat)
  • A clean boat (remove mud and vegetation so aquatic
  • nuisance species are not transported)

First Aid Kit*

  • First Aid Manual
  • Adhesive Bandage Strips (various sizes)
  • Adhesive Pads
  • Butterfly Closures
  • Sterile Dressing Pads
  • Gauze Roll
  • Waterproof Tape (roll)
  • Cohesive Compression (roll) Bandages
  • Triangular Bandage
  • Eye Pads/Eye Wash
  • Antiseptic Solution
  • Cotton Swabs/Balls
  • Antibiotic Ointment
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • CPR Mask (learn how to use it)
  • Safety Pins
  • Antimicrobial Soap
  • Antiseptic Towelettes/Ointments
  • First Aid Spray
  • Hydrocortisone Cream
  • Sting Relief Spray, Gel, Ointment or Swabs
  • The Extractor© (for stings and snake bites)
  • Exam Gloves
  • Thermometer
  • Aluminum/Foam Splints
  • Drugs***

Personal Comfort Items

  • Sunglasses
  • Sun Screen
  • Hat
  • Food
  • Water
  • Cooler
  • Warm Clothes
  • Seat Cushion(s)
  • Camping Gear (as appropriate)
  • Drysuit or Wetsuit/Boots
  • Insect Repellant
  • Binoculars
  • Camera

* Required equipment varies by type and length of boat, open or closed construction, inboard, outboard, sail or manual propulsion and whether operation is on state or federal waters. Review the latest editions of Montana Boating Laws and Federal Requirements and Safety Tips for Recreational Boats to determine which requirements apply.

** It is a good idea to have your first aid kit in a watertight, floating container.

*** Drugs or medicines in your first aid kit should be specialized for the people in the boat. For example, if someone is strongly allergic to insect stings, you would want to include a doctor-prescribed kit for anaphylactic shock. For manually-propelled craft, you may want to include pain relievers or muscle relaxers.