|Spring Safety Checklist|
Before you put your boat in the water, make sure these key items are in proper operating condition.
By the Editors
Given the precipitation-heavy winter most of us have just suffered through, it’s a wonder we’ve been able to resist the urge thus far to peel the shrink-wrap off our boats and launch them into the water in a vain attempt to hurry spring’s arrival. Wiser heads have prevailed, thankfully, and the proper winterizing protection we gave them is about to pay off in a seasonful of fun.
But only if we take the time now to inspect all our safety gear. A little attention to flares, fire extinguishers, EPIRBs, and the like can pay off in a lot of peace of mind—and could very well save the lives of you and your loved ones.
Use the checklist on the following pages to make sure your gear is in proper working order. And when you’re done reading it, download our checklist in a two-page format to keep onboard your boat for future spring launches.
One more tip before lines off: Make sure your boat registration, insurance, and/or captain’s license are up to date and stowed in a safe place.
Fair skies and calm seas to you all this season. —Diane M. Byrne
IF YOU DON'T HAVE CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS onboard, install one just inside the aft saloon door and another just outside the forward cabin, as the odorless, noxious gas typically enters closest to the engine room and settles forward
CONSIDER INSTALLING GASOLINE FUME DETECTORS AS WELL; some models automatically activate engine-room blowers
ALSO CONSIDER INSTALLING SMART KAP, a soon-to-be-released product that automatically activates your engine-room blowers when you unscrew your fuel cap; it's from the same company that created the FuelSense fuel-tank alarm system (see "Fuel Proof," April 2004)
CHECK THE EXPIRATION DATE on the side of the housing; if it is within 90 days, return the unit to its manufacturer for battery replacement. Do not attempt to replace it yourself, or you may compromise the unit's waterproof integrity. Note the new expiration date in your log book
CLEAN THE UNIT'S EXTERIOR
TEST YOUR 406 EPIRB by following the instructions that came with the unit
IF YOU HAVE A 121.5 EPIRB, test it by first tuning your FM radio to 99.5 and then depressing the unit's key; if the EPIRB is working properly, the tones will come through the radio. Also, remember that testing is restricted to the first five minutes of every hour and that just three tones (or one second of operational transmission) can be emitted
MAKE SURE THE SAFETY PIN IS IN PLACE
CHECK THE PRESSURE GAUGE; if in doubt that it reads in the safe zone, dispose of the extinguisher and buy a new one
CHECK THE NOZZLE FOR OBSTRUCTIONS
IF YOU'VE USED THE EXTINGUISHER-even for just a short burst-replace it
MAKE SURE YOUR EXTINGUISHERS are rated for the right type of fires-A, B, or C-and stowed handily where those types of fires might break out
IF YOU HAVE A DRY-CHEMICAL EXTINGUISHER, turn the unit upside down and shake it vigorously, as the contents often settle to the bottom
IF YOU HAVE A FIXED SYSTEM (usually in the engine room), the only way you can determine whether it's fully charged is to accurately weigh the container. This is a job for a professional
STOW IN A COOL, DRY PLACE
This article originally appeared in the March 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.