This year, winter seems to be exceptionally cold and wet. I’m sure statistics will prove me wrong but that’s how it feels to me. Summer can’t come quickly enough!
I mention the weather because safety is also about being prepared for cold and wet weather. Make sure you are wearing warm clothing and if necessary your wet weather gear. Being cold is bad enough, but being wet as well is a whole different ball game. Hypothermia can quickly become a problem and cause all sorts of issues including shivering and mental confusion.
As spring and the new boating season approaches, now would be a good time to make sure all your safety gear is in good order. If you have an epirb, test the battery to make sure all is o.k. I have to notify AMSA every two years that the registration has not changed, check if you have to do the same. Check your PFD’s annually, (you can do a self check), this is a legal requirement. Make sure your flares are current and, if more than three years old they will need replacing.
It’s a good idea to have a chart displaying where the safety gear is stowed. This list should include the battery isolator and fuel cut off switch.
We recently had to help a boater find his way back to the public ramp as he had run aground, and had no idea which way to go to get off the mud. Talking to him later he said he had a plotter/fish finder but only knew how to use the fish finder. So, if you have the equipment learn how to use it.
A good anchor is an absolute necessity. I recently bought a new 22kg Sarca to replace the 22kg CQR that came with Julini. To my mind, the CQR is absolutely useless, as we found out while on “anchor” at Deal Island. After a wind shift, Julini dragged her anchor and headed for the rocks in East Bay. We were off the boat and wandering around the light house when I noticed Julini was not where we had left her! Luckily the anchor grabbed just as I reached her after a cold swim. Aggie and my friend Dick arrived in the tender and helped me to clamber aboard. There was no way I could get aboard by myself. If you do end up in the water, make sure there is a method for you to get back onto your boat. We leave the ladder down, but in this instance, regrettably, we had not followed procedure.
With regards to this years return of Safety certificates and Insurance details, I am pleased to report we had a 100 % success. Your early response saves a lot of time and effort by Vicki and me in following up the slow returns. With the new forms coming out in September I hope we can repeat this years great result.