We recommend buying your own lifejacket. There are many different types, but we would favour a manual lifejacket which does not incorporate a harness (which adds unecessary weight & bulk). Buoyancy aids can also be used, but they are very hot to row in. There are some good deals online-
Yachtshop (based in Holyhead)
VHF marine radios are important pieces of safety equipment and which we carry on the boat. A short range certificate is necessary to use any marine radio other than the few that can only transmit on M & M2. Some modern marine radios are capable of Digital Selective Calling. This enables another radio to be called, much like using a phone, by using an MMSI code. If you are considering getting your own radio, it'd be worth speaking to us.
As most of our rowing takes place in daylight, flares are not particularly useful. Coloured smoke is, however, a very good way of attracting attention. We carry flares and smoke when we undertake our trips.
Personal locator beacons
These are nifty bits of kit which, when activated, transmit a radio signal (which with certain models contains your GPS location) that's picked up by satellite. A search and rescue operation is then mounted and the PLB continues to transmit a signal which can be homed in on by the SAR asset. PLBs come with a sealed battery which has a 5yr shelf life & they need to be registered with OFCOM. Beyond the purchase price, there are no more fees associated with PLBs.
Similar devices called Satellite Emergency Notification Devices (SEND) perform a similar role, but require an active subscription and only send your GPS location to the satellites. There is no facility to locate these beacons by any other means and, as such, they are not as reliable as PLBs. The advantage they offer over PLBs is that they can be used in tracking mode to send their position at intervals to a website.