After 20 years of sailing, both coastal and over 20,000 miles in open ocean passages, here is what I would recommend in the cockpit and readily handy for coastal sailing. What should actually be in the cockpit depends a lot on the size of the crew, the state of the weather, the experience of the crew, and the type of boat involved. I am presuming you are talking about a 30 - 40 foot cruising sailboat here. Of course the best safety equipment
anybody can carry on a boat is caution. Secondly, the more stuff you have, the more stuff to go out of date eventually, needing replacement, or needing education amongst those who might have occasion to need it at some time. By coastal I am also presuming you are not going substantially out of sight of land.
First, I would have an inflatable
pfd with a built in harness for everyone on the boat. Since people usually don't wear their pfds all of the time, you also will have to pack a solid pfd i.e,. the big orange for everyone if you want to meet coast guard regs when they are not actually wearing their inflatable
Along with the pfd, have a tether for every crew, and some substantial pad eyes with backing plates
or other deck hardware
for them to be clipped to if the weather pipes up. If you have a cabin
below, there should be a way for crew to clip on before entering the cockpit, and a way for them to move clipped if necessary.
The companion way should have the ability to secure the hatchboards so they cannot come out if locked.
I don't use jacklines
in ordinary circumstances, but if you are sailing in rough conditions or overnight they are a good idea.
Every pfd should have a whistle and a light.
I keep a substantial fixed blade knife taped to the helm
for quick access in an emergency
. I also tell crew to bring their own sailing knives or give them a personal sailing knife to use if they don't have one.
A pair of multipliers is a neccesity in my opinion.
You can meet the USCG safety minimums for signaling pretty easily, but I think having three SOLAS hand helds, three rocket flares, and at least one smoke is a good idea.
A waterproof high intensity flashlight.
A fire extinguisher where it can be accessed without getting into the engine
compartment. If the boat is a larger boat, you will need a minimum of at least two extinguishers.
A handheld VHF
and a GPS/EPIRB unit is a good idea also.
A lifesling on the stern railing ready for deployment if necessary.
A heaving life to throw to any crew that goes overboard.
Several throwable cushions
that also act as seats if a MOB situation occurs.
A pair of safety glasses like those worn in factorys. If you have ever been in a big storm with water
flying sideways, your eyes need some protection. Better idea is to not go out if the weather looks questionable.
You already said you had a life raft. Just make sure it stays certified and is not abused while in storage
by having junk dumped on it, or placed in a damp or wet environment
Foulies and sea boots readily handy.
You can spend a lot more by buying
a lot of extra stuff I didn't mention. But if you buy it eventually it will just go out of date and you are left with replacement. Also, in a coastal situation, you are likely to get help a lot faster than in the open ocean. I would recommend a coastal version of some sort of first aid pack, but that doesn't need to be in the cockpit.
If you are sticking coastal and like to listen to the radio
, and if you have a chart plotter that will support it, XM marine radio
and weather is really, really useful and does a lot to enhance safety. If not, and you have a smart phone
and are noy going to far out, you should be able to get a radar
app and stick it on the phone
to see what is moving around you occasionally.
Thats about all I can think of.