It might still be a bit chilly outside but in another month or so boat owners will be thinking of getting their craft back on the water ready for the new season.
There are always things that need to be put back on board, checked over and replaced. Right at the top of that list is safety equipment. Tasks left to chance mean that faulty equipment might not be noticed until it really needs to be used, with fatal consequences.
It is still not too late to get your safety equipment serviced and now is the time if you have not already done it. Equipment like liferafts are rarely – hopefully never – used, and lifejackets, while worn regularly, are, again, rarely inflated, so dig them out, along with the Jonbuoys, EPIRBs, pyrotechnics, fire extinguishers and all the products that have a shelf life, service date or need batteries or canisters replacing. Take them along to a reputable servicing agent before your season starts.
It cannot be emphasised enough that safety equipment checks are just as important a consideration as other aspects like rig and warp checks and the removal of upholstery and sails.
Dave Godfrey, Service Manager at Ocean Safety, told All at Sea: “It is important to get into a routine of checking safety equipment annually. Make a note to ideally get the equipment to a service agent at the beginning of the winter, and preferably late autumn. It will beat the sudden rush in spring.”
But, as he points out: “Spring is better than never!”
During the non-sailing period there is a great opportunity to explore your safety equipment with the help of experts. Because the majority of owners and crews have never had to use any of the safety equipment that is typically on board their boat it is questionable how quickly and easily it would be to operate.
Seemingly simple things like making sure a lifejacket is the right fit can add an extra 10 minutes of fiddling about in a crisis, and it would be doubtful that many people would be familiar with launching and inflating a liferaft in a hurry. Likewise, operating an EPIRB can take a moment or two if you have not looked at it since the day it was installed. It is also all too easy to overlook the state of equipment when it is inside a canister or valise like a liferaft.
It is a good idea to take your safety equipment for servicing to a company like Ocean Safety, which has branches around the country, and at the same time make an appointment to see your liferaft being inflated in the comfort of dry land, under cover in one of their service stations.
Ocean Safety also hosts winter open days for customers.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more and make an appointment. It is a good idea to be able to discuss all your safety equipment and get questions answered at the same time.