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Prepping safety equipment for the new season

As we enter a new boating season, to ensure you have a fun-filled and carefree time afloat, Alistair Hackett, Managing Director at Ocean Safety, offers his advice on prepping your onboard safety equipment so it’s ready to go should you ever need it.

Like insurance, onboard safety equipment gives you peace of mind, but you hope you’ll never have to use it. However, if you did, there are four questions to ask when considering how effective it will be. One, do you have the right equipment onboard for the type of sailing you’re doing? Two, does everyone know how to use it? Three, is it in a fully functional condition? and finally do you and your crew have a plan of what to do and when to do it?

Equipment onboard

In addition to the basics of lifejackets for each person, a VHF radio, flares and first aid kit, the safety equipment you have onboard will largely depend on where you’re sailing, coastal or offshore, and the number and experience of the crew.

If you’re venturing further afield, it’s advisable to have an EPIRB and a liferaft with capacity for all onboard. If you don’t own a liferaft because you rarely leave coastal waters but are planning a voyage with some longer offshore passages, then you could hire one. This is a service offered at Ocean Safety. It’s a fraction of the cost and you don’t have to worry about servicing it either.

Knowing how it works

Thankfully, apart from lifejackets, safety equipment hardly ever needs to be used. But this does pose the problem of crews not being familiar with equipment and knowing how it works in an emergency. Before heading off, ensure you show your crew where everything is stowed, making sure they can access things easily. Run through how everything works and get them to give you a demo once you’ve explained it. It’s also a good idea to carry out a man overboard drill, just so everyone is aware what to do in the event of a man overboard situation.

Serviced and fully operational

It’s all very well having an extensive inventory of safety equipment, but if it’s out of date or doesn’t work, you might as well not have it at all. It’s important to get everything checked regularly as it’s easy to overlook the state of equipment when it’s used infrequently, or it’s inside a canister.

Servicing by experienced professionals is offered at all Ocean Safety’s branches for a wide range of marine products including liferafts, lifejackets, EPIRBS and fire safety equipment.

click and collect service has also recently been launched, with Ocean Safety partnering with a number of marinas around the UK, making it even easier to get equipment serviced.

It can’t be emphasised enough just how important it is to have the right safety equipment onboard and to ensure it’s serviced. The likelihood is you’ll never need it, but the security of knowing it’s there, ready to go, will mean you can relax and enjoy your time out on the water this season.