child on boat

Safety onboard

Onboard safety

Onboard safety tips:
Tip 1
Wear a Personal Flotation Device
Always wear a lifejacket or suitable buoyancy aid to help keep you afloat
Tip 2
Download the SafeTrx app
Let your loved ones know where you are and gain quick access to emergency services
Tip 3
Use Channel 16 in an emergency
Contact the Coastguard via a Mayday distress alert using a marine Very High Frequency (VHF) radio
Tip 4
Register your beacon
Carry a 406 megahertz (MHz) beacon and make sure it's registered with the Coastguard
Tip 5
Hone your skills
Find out about available training and qualifications to ensure you are safe and confident onboard
In an emergency at sea send a Mayday distress alert on Channel 16
Boat illustration
App on phone


Motorboating can a be an exciting way to enjoy the UK coast, from small rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) to powerboats and motor cruisers. 


Reduce the risks:

  • Check the weather forecast and tide times before you leave home.
  • Wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) and make sure you are also wearing suitable clothing.
  • Always wear a kill cord if fitted and carry a spare.
  • Always carry a means of calling for help and ensure everyone on board knows how to use it. Consider having an additional method like the SafeTrx app.
  • Safety plans - we advise that you practice man overboard procedures with everyone on board and conduct a safety briefing.
  • Ensure your engine is well maintained, that you have enough fuel for your journey, and carry adequate tools and spares.
  • Ensure you pilot your boat at an appropriate speed to the environment and conditions.
  • Hone your skills - contact your national governing body, club or watersports activity centre to find out which training is best for you.
  • Understand rights of way - you must follow the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) - a power driven vessel must give way to a sailing vessel unless the sailing vessel is in the process of overtaking it.
  • Tell someone else where you’re going and when you’ll be back. If you are late returning, they can raise the alarm by calling 999 and asking for the Coastguard.
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