The following equipment must be with you on board and should be inspected fully in your pre-departure safety check
To participate in the ARC rally, the official rally handbook provides information about equipment that must be carried and recommends additional equipment that is essential on board. For your reference, the following is an overview of all products available from us that meet ARC regulations.
1. Life rafts
You must carry a self-inflating life raft suitable for this purpose with sufficient capacity for all crew members. When selecting a suitable life raft, remember to choose one that is ideally large enough to accommodate the exact number of crew members, as this will have the best performance features. As a general rule, the life raft should comply with ISO 9650-1 (Class A) and include an emergency pack 2, which is designed to keep occupants safe for more than 24 hours. Please note that SEAGO, SEA MASTER and PLASTIMO TRANSOCEAN life rafts require an optionally available grab bag to comply with the ARC safety regulations for a >24h emergency pack.
Choose a place to store your life raft on board so that it can be launched within 15 seconds. The release line must always be fixed to a suitable attachment point on deck. If the life raft isn't firmly attached to the ship, it won't trigger when thrown into the water and can drift away.
Any EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) carried on board must be floatable and activate automatically on contact with water or have manual activation. It transmits distress signals with a GPS position on the frequency 406 MHz (satellite frequency) and a search signal on 121.5 MHz (bearing frequency). Using the two frequencies in parallel speeds up the recovery process, as both surrounding ships and rescue helicopters can pick up the distress signal.
The following EPIRBs from our product range meet ARC safety regulations:
3. SSB - Short wave marine radio
A short-wave marine radio system (SSB - Single Side Band) can be used to transmit over very long distances. In addition to maritime radio, shortwave is also used by aircraft and the military and is therefore crisis-proof. A shortwave radio system is required for participation in the World ARC in order to be able to communicate with other sailors on challenging sections. For the ARC it is not mandatory but recommended. All the information you need on the subject of SSB on board, with helpful hints and tips for installation and advice on choosing the right components, can be found in our SSB guide.
Learn more about SSB »
4. VHF - Very High Frequency marine radio
In addition to an SSB marine radio system, a VHF radio system must also be carried on board. The difference between the two types of radio equipment is that they use different frequency ranges. In order to comply with ARC regulations, VHF radio equipment must have an integrated DSC controller and an output power of at least 25 watts. The DSC controller can be used to send a distress call to all ships in the vicinity. In addition, a DSC controller enables direct calls from other vessels via the respective MMSI number. As well as an antenna in the mast, there must also be an emergency antenna for the VHF radio on board.
The following is a selection of all VHF marine radios that meet ARC safety regulations:
5. VHF handheld radio
In addition to a permanently installed SSB and VHF marine radio system, a VHF handheld radio must also be carried on board. This must have a transmission power of at least 5 watts and be completely waterproof. As the handheld radio should be taken into the liferaft in an emergency situation, it is recommended to use a handheld radio which also has an integrated DSC controller and GPS function. This allows to make distress calls from the liferaft and rescue can be initiated as quickly as possible.
The following handheld radios are equipped with an integrated DSC controller:
6. Passive radar reflector
The required deck equipment also includes a passive radar reflector. In an emergency, it must be mounted at a height of at least 5 m above deck (e.g. hoisted up on the flag line). A round radar reflector should have a diameter of 300 mm, a rectangular octahedron a diagonal of 405 mm. Having a radar amplifier does not mean that you are exempt from this requirement. This is because no signals would be transmitted by an electronic radar reflector in the event of a power failure on board.
7. AIS devices (Automatic Identification System)
Using AIS equipment on board is equally essential. AIS devices can be divided into pure AIS receivers and AIS transponders, which not only receive AIS signals from other ships, but also transmit the ship's own AIS data. With these devices it is possible to dynamically monitor the traffic situation on the water. Course and speed data of surrounding ships are automatically displayed, allowing early decisions to be made on collision avoidance, for example. Due to the heavy demands on equipment when crossing the Atlantic Ocean, it is worth considering purchasing an AIS SOTDMA (Self Organizing TDMA) transponder. Compared to conventional AIS transponders, SOTDMA devices transmit AIS data at a higher frequency. Furthermore, transmitted SOTDMA Class B (recreational shipping) signals are no longer blocked by Class A equipment used in commercial shipping.
An AIS transponder is mandatory for the World ARC, ARC/ARC+, ARC Caribbean 1500, ARC Europe and ARC USA. This must be connected via a low-loss antenna splitter to the VHF antenna in the mast head. Alternatively, a separate AIS antenna is permitted, which is at least 381 mm long and whose base is mounted at least 3 m above water.
To keep installation work to a minimum, it is recommended to use an AIS transponder with integrated splitter. This can be connected directly to the radio's existing VHF marine radio antenna.
Find out more about AIS »
The following AIS transponders in our range include a splitter and meet all ARC requirements:
In addition to the AIS systems that are permanently installed on board, each crew member is required to carry an AIS man-overboard transmitter. This must be correctly attached to the life jacket as per its activation mode.
The easyONE DSC CL is one of the AIS MOB maritime emergency transmitters which is especially recommended. To increase the chances of quick rescue, the easyONE DSC CL transmits a DSC emergency call to up to eight programmed MMSI numbers in addition to the AIS emergency signal.
Flares are an indispensable visual signal for emergencies at sea. These must comply with SOLAS standards and may not exceed the expiry date printed on them or be more than four years old from the date of manufacture. It is also important that they do not expire before the end of the rally. Pyrotechnic signalling devices must be stored in a watertight container together with protective gloves and goggles. The minimum equipment required is four red hand flares (two of which may be electronic) and two floating orange smoke flares.
The following flares from our product range meet ARC safety regulations:
9. Bilge pumps
A manually operated bilge pump must be installed on deck, which can be operated from there even when companionways and hatches are closed. It is also recommended to have a hand pump installed below deck. All removable pump handles must be attached to the deck with a rope so that they don't get swept away by waves or lost when heeling.
10. Navigation lights
Lights on the yacht must comply with international maritime traffic regulations at all times. The ARC therefore requires that two independently switchable navigation light circuits are available. In order to minimise installation work, we recommend installing the following three-colour light in addition to the existing navigation lights in place of the anchor light in the mast head.
11. Life jackets
A self-inflating life jacket with integrated harness must be carried on board for each crew member. A floatable life jacket must be carried for children under 40 kg.
The following standard equipment must be included with the life jackets: whistle, light, reflective stripes, crotch strap, spray cap, integrated AIS emergency transmitter (see next item AIS-MOB) and lifeline with a length of 2 m and three carabiners.
A life jacket can accidentally be lost overboard by itself and not necessarily in an emergency situation. In such a case it is very important to have the name of the ship and ideally the name of the owner written on the jacket with a waterproof pen. This allows quick contact with its owner to determine whether there has been an emergency or not.
The following life jacket in combination with an optionally available lifeline is permitted:
12. Jackstays and hook-in points
On both starboard and port side and wherever necessary, jackstays must be positioned in such a way that crew members can move around the deck and cockpit with as few clipping in and out manoeuvres as possible. It's important to be able to clip in before stepping onto the deck to prevent possible going overboard.
13. Other mandatory equipment