When you’re the skipper, you should always make sure all the appropriate safety gear is on board and in good working order before you head offshore.
You should have your safety gear serviced regularly and be familiar with how to use each item. It’s a good idea to do regular safety drills. You might also like to think about safety and sea survival courses. They’re a great way to prepare yourself for going offshore, In some blue-water yacht races they are actually a requirement.
And anytime a new person steps aboard, you should make sure you provide a full safety briefing each time, no matter how experienced they are.
If you are heading more than two nautical miles offshore, you must carry an EPIRB.
Having an EPIRB on board provides peace of mind and means you signal your exact position in the event of an emergency.
The global satellite system for detecting an EPIRB signal is fast, accurate and greatly increases the chances of your survival.
Satellites now only process alerts from the 406 MHz EPIRBs, not the old 121 models. So make sure you upgrade your EPIRB if you haven't already done so.
Remember to register your EPIRB, it’s a free service and is a significant help should you ever need a search and rescue effort.