Today we wanted to inform us about the type of safety equipment on board a ship. So to explain everything necessary we talked with our friends V de Bravado dry dock, the best slipway for boats we know, or at least the best slipway in Barcelona.

With his extensive knowledge of all types of boats in the dry dock and his great experience as sailors, we have been told about different safety elements such as harnesses, pyrotechnic material, life jackets, etc. All that equipment that we hope we do not have to put into service or use ever in life but, if we ever need to, we better know where they are and how they work.

seguridad a bordo


Currently, there are five categories of safety equipment that we have to take on board our ship:

– Rescue
– Navigation
– Accretion
– Fire protection
– Prevention of dirty water discharge

The equipment and the obligatory safety material for our boat will depend on the area for which our boat is authorized. Contrary to what we thought, and our friends of the dry dock have stressed us, the navigation area does not refer to the area where we usually navigate. If not, it refers to the seven zones determined by the distance from the coast and the design category:

1- Unlimited navigation, design category A Oceanic.

2- Navigation on the high seas up to 60 miles from the coast, Design Category B.

3- Navigation on the high seas up to 25 miles from the coast, Design Category B.

4- Navigation in coastal waters up to 12 miles from the coast, Design category C.

5- Navigation in coastal waters up to 5 miles from the coast, Design Category C.

6- Navigation in coastal waters up to 2 miles from the coast, Design category C.

7- Navigation in protected waters in general, Design category D.

equipo de seguridad


Next we will see, one by one, the different elements of the security team:


At the time of acquiring a lifejacket, it is important that it includes either EC or SOLAS approval. We must also take into account the use that we are going to give: the self-inflatable vests with harness are very comfortable and safe. Especially for those who sail at night or alone.

There are some very complete models that in addition to the reflective bands that all carry, include a strobe light and a MOB (person to the water) warning that emits a signal captured by the instruments on board.


The lifebuoys are installed in the stern or in the fin, they have a rope that floats (at least 50 meters) and a self-igniting buoy with strobe light. It is worth noting that rescue helicopters have specific instruments and strobes are the ones detected at a greater distance. The lifebuoys must have a system that allows them to be released and thrown into the water quickly. It’s the first thing we have to do as soon as a crew member falls into the water.

material de seguridad a bordo


In order for the liferafts to work properly, it is important to comply with the terms of the revisions and choose the place to install them on deck. Usually, the boats tend to sink by prow, because the stern has greater volume, reason why it is not very recommendable to install a raft in the prow.


Portable fire extinguishers should always be within reach and reviewed, in date and form, by authorized and approved companies.

In addition to the obligatory buckets for water, it is convenient to have a fireproof blanket with which to drown small fires. This is ideal for small boats, whether sailing or motor.


Survival suits are essential in ocean crossings, mainly for cold waters and where the help could take many hours, or even days, to arrive. They are not easy to put on and some type of training is necessary to do it well. The best thing is to do a survival course, where its use and that of the rest of the elements are explained in detail.


Obviously you have to have a first aid kit and control the state of its elements. But we should also carry a survival backpack, material and waterproof construction where, if it were necessary to leave the boat, we could take a portable VHF, radio beacon, knife, energetic food, water, waterproof flashlight, strobe light, pyrotechnics, flares, rockets, orange smoke and if possible dry and warm clothes.

seguridad a bordo

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