After my Coast Guard career and seeing too much tragedy I have my own opinions:
If your boat is large enough carry a raft in a canister and inspect annually
If not large enough carry one in a valise bag and inspect as required
Have a good ditch kit nearby and not down under the bunk
If you need to abandon the boat, get mayday call out on VHF with Position and number of POB'S First
Make sure everyone on board DONS PFD, grab ditch bag and manually release and activate EPIRB.
Don't forget a float plan
At the beginning of year inventory all lifesaving equipment and check it. Don't be cheap and purchase lights and whistles for PFD'S, mark the expiration date of hand held flares and shotgun flares with a sharpie. Check your expiration dates on hydrostatic releases and EPIRB batteries. Make notes and replace if getting close.
I feel that if a few of these things were done in the Clearwater NFL players situation, they would have all survived. Remember, safety first and there is not a fish worth dying over. Sometimes we can get careless with safety gear when it is by far more important then those fresh ballyhoo on board.
This is just my opinion