Be Prepared

January 2020 Multimedia Jane Willow Web Exclusive

Do you live full-time on your houseboat or just use it for recreation and vacations? Statistics show that over 87 million Americans participate in recreational boating, using a boat for travel or sporting activities. Taking to the water is a great way to enjoy the peace and quiet away from town or city life. Houseboats can take different forms but whatever form your houseboat takes, technology can be used to enhance enjoyment and improve safety on board.

Emergency communication tools

It’s always good to be prepared for all kinds of weather, especially bad weather. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a weather or emergency radio on board. For maximum safety, it is advisable to get a radio with backup power for those situations when the other power sources on the boat are unreliable. The more advanced weather radios will even turn on automatically when there is an urgent weather bulletin. Emergency radios are a vital part of an emergency survival kit on a houseboat as it will enable you to keep in touch when your mobile phone dies.

Finding your way

When out on the water in a houseboat, just like on the roads, you need to be able to find your way. For this, you can combine the use of navigational maps and a GPS system. Navigational maps are specially designed to provide boaters with information to help them stay safe. GPS systems will communicate with US government satellites to obtain your location. This can be helpful in an emergency as well as helping you get from A to B.

Keeping the lights on

Houseboat owners based in a marina will likely be connected to AC electrical power - this means a regular supply of 120v power to their houseboat. However, what happens when there is a problem at the marina and the power is out? Or if you decide to take the boat out on open water?

It’s highly advisable to understand the battery setup on a houseboat. Many will have lead acid batteries which are only designed to use up to 50% of their capacity before the next charge. Therefore, for those times when AC power is unavailable, an alternative source of charging should be available. This can be in the form of solar panels, a wind generator or a portable generator.

Preparing for an emergency that may never happen is better than getting caught out unexpectedly. Stay safe and be prepared.

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