OK, that's a trick question, but did you know an offshore safety inventory can cost over £3,500?
Some argue that safety on a yacht is a state of mind. I don’t disagree at all. You certainly don’t buy it in a big yellow plastic package, that’s for sure.
But if you are doing a race or a rally, or you’re running a coded yacht, there’s a long list of big packages you’d need to buy, and gear you must carry, service and keep in date. And it all costs. A lot.
Vendée Globe skipper Jean-Pierre Dick has written an interesting blog on the importance of safety (if your French is up to it) here in which he discusses the types of gear required for the solo round the world race. The teams are in the process of being scrutineered in advance of setting off in a few weeks.
For the ordinary sailor planning an ocean passage, safety gear is also a major consideration and expense. I’ve totted up the cost of the equipment you’d want or need to carry on an ISAF Category 1 event such as the ARC rally.
If you were sailing independently, no-one would force you to carry all this stuff, but if you look at the list below you’ll see it’s fairly basic and there’s nothing here that most people would find controversial, or too frivolous if sailing with friends or family.
By my reckoning, if you started from scratch, you’d need to spend around £3,600 on gear.
Here’s how it breaks down, with approximate costs:
4 x lifejackets with integral harness: £520
4 x lifejacket light £50
4 x safety tethers with double Gibb hooks £100
4 x lifejacket sprayhoods £80
2 x lifebuoy & light £80
Inflatable danbuoy £150
Helicopter Lifting strop £60
Throwing line £60
Handheld waterproof VHF £140
406 EPIRB £400
Enclosed radar reflector £125
See-Me Active Echo £500
RORC flare pack £170
Offshore first aid kit £70
2 x 2kg foam extinguishers £45
Engine auto dry powder 2kg £45
1.5Kg GTFE (halon replacement) for engine room £125
Fire blanket £20
Six-man liferaft £700
2 x 12m webbing jackstays £80
That said, every year I meet dozens of skippers who have spent double that amount on a new spinnaker for an Atlantic crossing, so it’s all relative.