What You Need For A DIY Boat Safety Kit

Mom always said: it’s far better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

Based on experience, conversations with other boaters, and my own research, this safety kit lists the items that we’ve equipped our boat with to make sure that while aboard, everyone is safe and prepared for the worst-case scenarios.

Keep in mind that the size of your boat, its maximum capacity, and your boating environment should result in slight changes to what you will want in your boat safety kit. Some of these are obvious (and things I hope you already have onboard!) like a first aid kit and others are a little more out-of-the-box, while still helpful.

This is also just advice from one boater to another, so don’t take this as gospel. Do your own research (which is probably why you’re reading this – hello, responsible captain!) and decide what is right to keep you and your crew safe based on the boat you have and the environment you’re in.

Items For Your DIY Boat Safety Kit

Dry Storage Box

Would also recommend leaving this dry storage box dedicated to your safety and emergency equipment.

Distress Light (instead of flares)

Flares are great, but they’re also limited. This distress light serves the same purpose but can last much, much longer. Consider it, and maybe also get flares if you’re into going the extra mile.

Noisemakers! Air Horn + Whistle

There are several reasons you may want to call loud attention to yourself on the water. These will certainly help with that!

VHF Radio

Because keeping in contact is important. Some notable things about this VHF radio in particular are that if floats, has GPS, and a simple-to-use screen and interface.


It’s always helpful to have a knife, in particular a sharp one. Also, be sure your knife has a guard, or folds into itself easily, as this feature is essential to maintaining safety.

Duct Tape

Just a great thing to have on hand; enough said.

Mask and Snorkel

There’s a chance you may need to go underwater to check on something. You never know when that moment will come, and when it does, you’ll be happy you’re prepared.

Underwater Flashlight

Always helpful to have, even if it’s used for non-emergency things like diving down if you have dropped your phone off the stern into the water (not that I have experience with that…).


Very important. Don’t go offshore, or really anywhere without it.

Throw Rope

Also very important. Always get more than you think you need in distance, and make sure it’s a floating rope.

Basic Tool Kit

Having a toolkit to troubleshoot just about anything is a staple item for any DIY boat safety kit.

Microfiber Towel

By getting a microfiber towel instead of a regular beach towel, you’ll be able to get all the same function and conserve space in your kit.

Marine Fire Extinguisher

Essential to have; also, be sure to check the expiration date.

Trash Bags (go eco-friendly!)

For anything and everything.

Extra Sunscreen

Eco-friendly non-toxic brands are our favorite. Blue Lizard and Sun Bum are both great.

Extra Bug Repellent

Once again, eco-friendly non-toxic brands are going to be your best bet, like this one.

Spare change of clothing

Because you never know when you might fall in… or just need another change of clothes.

If you’re not feeling so DIY…

Lastly, this basic survival kit (Stealth Squads’ 42 in 1 Survival Military Pouch Kit) also has quite a lot of these items. It includes many of the “standard” safety items that are great to have on hand for emergencies.

Now you’re all set to build a DIY boat safety kit. If you think there’s something we missed, leave it in the comments below!

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