The Storm Gear Checklist
The Storm Gear Checklist

Preparing for storms while sailing is crucial for the safety of you and your crew. This comprehensive storm gear checklist will help you be ready for any storm that may come your way.

The Storm Gear Checklist

Sailing the open seas is an exhilarating and rewarding experience, but it also comes with its fair share of challenges. One of the most significant challenges that sailors face is dealing with storms. Proper storm tactics and preparation are essential for ensuring the safety of your boat and crew. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive storm gear checklist to help you prepare for any storm that may come your way.

Table of Contents


When setting sail on a long journey, it’s crucial to be prepared for any weather conditions that may arise. Storms can be unpredictable and dangerous, so having the right gear and knowledge is essential for keeping your boat and crew safe. This storm gear checklist will help you ensure that you have everything you need to face any storm with confidence.

Storm Gear Checklist

Personal Safety Gear

The safety of your crew should always be your top priority. Make sure that everyone on board has the following personal safety gear:

  1. Lifejackets: Ensure that each crew member has a properly fitting lifejacket with a whistle and light. Inflatable lifejackets are recommended for their comfort and ease of movement.
  2. Harnesses and Tethers: Each crew member should have a safety harness and tether for securing themselves to the boat during rough conditions. This is especially important when working on deck or moving around the boat.
  3. Foul Weather Gear: Waterproof and breathable foul weather gear, including jackets, pants, and boots, will help keep your crew dry and comfortable during a storm.
  4. Headlamps: A headlamp with a red light setting is essential for hands-free illumination during nighttime storm conditions.
  5. Gloves: Waterproof gloves with good grip are important for handling lines and equipment during a storm.

Boat Safety Gear

In addition to personal safety gear, your boat should be equipped with the following safety items:

  1. Liferaft: A properly sized and serviced liferaft is essential for emergency situations. Make sure it is easily accessible and stored in a secure location.
  2. EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon): An EPIRB is a crucial piece of equipment that can help search and rescue teams locate your boat in an emergency.
  3. Fire Extinguishers: Ensure that your boat has the appropriate number and type of fire extinguishers, and that they are properly serviced and easily accessible.
  4. Bilge Pumps: Make sure your boat has both manual and electric bilge pumps in good working order.
  5. Throwable Flotation Devices: Have at least one throwable flotation device, such as a life ring or cushion, on board.

Storm Sails

Having the right sails for storm conditions is essential for maintaining control of your boat and reducing the risk of damage. Consider the following storm sails:

  1. Storm Jib: A storm jib is a small, heavy-duty sail designed for use in high winds. It helps to maintain control of the boat and reduce the risk of damage to the rigging.
  2. Trysail: A trysail is a small, heavy-duty mainsail that can be used in place of your regular mainsail during a storm. It is designed to handle high winds and reduce the risk of damage to the mast and rigging.

Anchoring and Mooring Gear

Proper anchoring and mooring gear is essential for securing your boat during a storm. Make sure you have the following equipment:

  1. Anchor: A heavy-duty anchor with adequate chain and rode is essential for securing your boat in a storm. Consider carrying a secondary anchor as a backup.
  2. Anchor Bridle: An anchor bridle helps to distribute the load on your boat’s cleats and reduce the risk of damage during a storm.
  3. Fenders: Have enough fenders on board to protect your boat from damage when moored or anchored during a storm.
  4. Mooring Lines: Ensure that you have strong, properly sized mooring lines for securing your boat during a storm.

Staying informed and maintaining communication during a storm is crucial. Make sure your boat is equipped with the following:

  1. VHF Radio: A VHF radio is essential for communicating with other boats, marinas, and rescue services during a storm.
  2. GPS and Chartplotter: A GPS and chartplotter can help you navigate safely during a storm and avoid hazards.
  3. Radar: Radar can help you track the progress of a storm and identify other boats and obstacles in low visibility conditions.
  4. AIS (Automatic Identification System): An AIS system can help you identify and track other boats in the area, which is especially important during a storm.

Emergency Equipment

In addition to the items listed above, your boat should be equipped with the following emergency equipment:

  1. First Aid Kit: A comprehensive first aid kit is essential for treating injuries during a storm.
  2. Flares: Flares can be used to signal for help in an emergency situation.
  3. Ditch Bag: A ditch bag should contain essential items such as a handheld VHF radio, EPIRB, flares, and personal locator beacons (PLBs) in case you need to abandon ship.

Storm Tactics and Preparation

Weather Forecasting

Staying informed about the weather is crucial for storm preparation. Make sure to monitor weather forecasts and adjust your plans accordingly. Consider using a weather routing service to help you plan your route and avoid potential storms.

Securing the Boat

Before a storm hits, make sure to secure your boat by:

  1. Reducing windage by removing sails, canvas, and other items that could catch the wind.
  2. Securing all hatches, ports, and doors to prevent water ingress.
  3. Stowing all loose items below deck to prevent them from becoming projectiles during the storm.
  4. Checking all rigging, lines, and sails for wear and damage, and making any necessary repairs.

Crew Preparation

Preparing your crew for a storm is essential for ensuring their safety and the safety of your boat. Make sure to:

  1. Review safety procedures and the location of all safety equipment on board.
  2. Assign specific roles and responsibilities to each crew member during the storm.
  3. Ensure that all crew members are well-rested and fed before the storm hits.
  4. Encourage the use of seasickness medication if necessary.


Proper storm tactics and preparation are essential for ensuring the safety of your boat and crew during a storm. By following this storm gear checklist and taking the necessary precautions, you can face any storm with confidence and enjoy the freedom and fulfillment that comes from sailing the open seas.