Tip 14: Regardless of your budget or the size of your vessel, take safety seriously. That means a certified ocean life raft, EPIRBs, SOLAS-rated and -equipped life jackets with harnesses, a VHF radio with AIS, ample bilge pumps and even a sat phone if voyaging offshore. Before loading up on electronics, cover the safety gear. Sure, it's nice to have an SSB radio, a big-screen chart plotter, an autopilot, a TV, a Wi-Fi router and so on. But buy the life raft first — if not for yourself, then for your crew and loved ones (even if they're not sailing with you).