The beginning of the year is an excellent time to inspect your boat safety equipment. For many boaters, the month of January is a quiet time in terms of boat use, making it a great month to inspect and update boat safety equipment. Even you are in the Jon Boat for Fishing; then you must have the safety equipment. Whether you have put the boat down for wintering or not, here is my suggestion for a 10-point checklist. To know about 10 common boating mistakes to avoid you can read the article.
Table of Contents
- Safety equipment is required on a boat
- 1. Check the distress flares
- 2. Inspect fire extinguishers
- 3. Test your EPIRB or another individual distress beacon (PLB)
- 4.Examine lifejackets
- 5. The horn of fog or horn
- 6. Replace your batteries
- 7. Test your bilge pump
- 8. Inspect your anchorage
- 9. Turn on the navigation lights
- 10. Schedule a control visit
- Like this:
Safety equipment is required on a boat
1. Check the distress flares
Usually, the rockets must be replaced every three years. Whether flares, parachute flares, or smoke, check the expiration dates that are printed above.
If they are set to expire in the middle of the season, put a reminder on your calendar or replace them immediately to be quiet.
Remember, for obvious security reasons, to deposit them in a place provided for this purpose, inquire with the harbormaster.
2. Inspect fire extinguishers
It’s effortless to do! Check the gauges on all the extinguishers on your boat to make sure they are in the green zone.
If some of them seem to have been partially unloaded, replace them with approved fire extinguishers.
Tip: It is sometimes more interesting to replace a small fire extinguisher like this one than to have them reviewed by a specialized “marine” company.
Shake your existing extinguishers a bit to release the fireproof powder that might have hardened to the bottom. Also, make sure the bracket holds the extinguisher well.
3. Test your EPIRB or another individual distress beacon (PLB)
The EPIRBs must be registered with the National Frequency Agency with your MMSI number.
Check with this organization that your beacon is registered; if it is not, it has no use since no help will be triggered in case of distress.
Most tags have a “Test” mode; it’s time to activate it to see that everything works but watch out for nuisance tripping.
Make sure the fabric, straps, buckles and flotation materials are in good condition. If in doubt, discard and replace it with brand new lifejackets.
If you have inflatable life jackets, remove and inspect the CO2 cartridges, check the LEDs and inflate them manually and put everything back in (it’s a job!)
In case of damage or use, replace them with new ones.
5. The horn of fog or horn
Make sure you have a powerful electric haze horn on board. I also advise you to buy more, for safety a horn of brown like this: Horn of fog, which will replace the first in case of failure. For 8 € it would be a shame to deprive yourself.
6. Replace your batteries
Replace all the batteries in your flashlights and buy extra batteries to keep them on the boat. Batteries tend to oxidize quickly in the marine environment of the boat. You can expect to have some in advance well locked in a plastic bag.
7. Test your bilge pump
This is a check to do all year round, not just during boat safety checks. Indeed it is perhaps the most crucial element in terms of security. I control the bilge pumps at every visit without exception.
The pump must be tested from the control knob but also by lifting the float to see if the pump will automatically trip in case of the waterway. If your bilge pump is not equipped with a cork, I recommend that you install one as soon as possible. If it’s a boat motor, then always test it before using it.
Also check if the cables are in good condition, that they do not show any corrosion.
8. Inspect your anchorage
Exit and inspect all your mooring: chain, end, shackles, replace items that show excessive corrosion. Also check the condition of the windlass motor, to avoid corrosion spray from the WD40.
Remember that in terms of boat safety, your anchor box must be equipped with a stationary knife that will result in an emergency to cut the end that attaches the anchorage to the boat.
Turn on all the navigation, mooring lights to make sure everything is working. There is nothing worse than seeing that navigation lights do not work when you need them.
10. Schedule a control visit
If you want to make sure your boat is as safe as possible, call a professional if you are not there. He will be able to plan a boat-safety-based control visit taking into account the boat’s safety recommendations. In the case of a square stern canoe, you should take extra protection as that is quite a different type of boat.
I hope this article will have helped you, if you want more precision on the mandatory material, I invite you to comment. If you are interested in more on sports and outdoor-related information you may have a look at our sports and outdoor section.