Safety and survival gear have always been a tough sell to
mariners, whether they’re coastal cruisers or commercial operators. In New
England that tradition goes back to the days when fishermen chased cod from
small dories launched from wooden sailing ships in the often treacherous and cold waters
of Georges Bank. Most never learned how to swim. In the event of capsizings they’d rather drown quickly than
tread water or hold on to an overturned boat.
Carrying modern survival equipment, where it’s life rafts,
inflatable jackets or electronic signaling devices, should be a no-brainer,
especially if you cruise or fish offshore. It’s inexpensive compared to just
about everything else on a boat and the beacons can bring help quickly in an
emergency—as long as you maintain it properly and know how to use it.
We asked the top marine safety and survival gear manufacturers
to tell us what they consider to be
their Best & Brightest EPIRBs and personal survival devices. Here’s what