As the spring begins to heat up, like most boat owners you’re probably getting antsy to get back on the water. With the great weather we have been experiencing the push for boats to be launched is much earlier then normal but owners still need to take the proper steps before the season gets underway. Before you launch included are a few tips to get you best prepared for a new season on the water.
Signals – Every boat should be equipped with distress signals and they should be checked annually. Distress signals need to be stored in a dry and cool location aboard your boat and each device has an expiration date. Expired equipment cannot be counted towards your visual distress signal requirement, but can be carried as extra. The USCG states that a minimum of three signals for day and three for night are required to be onboard at all times.
Personal Floatation Devices (PFD) – Look to see all PFDs are in working condition, and your type IV throw-able PFD is stored in an easy to access place. When checking the condition of each PFD look for broken buckles or straps, mildew and rips in the fabric. Be sure to examine inflatable life jackets’ CO2 cylinders, and auto-inflate systems to confirm they are all functioning and have not been used. It’s also important to check your type IV throw-able PFD, as these tend to damage easily from elements.
Fire Extinguisher – All fire extinguishers have to be USCG approved and in good working order. Before you head out on the water, make sure all the gauges are fully charged as some extinguishers can have pop-up charge indicators.
First-Aid Kit – These are very important to have onboard regardless of size of vessel. Numerous things can happen while on the water and a simple kit onboard can go a long way when an injury pops up. Regardless if you’ve packaged your own first aid kit or you bought a packaged one, make sure it is fully stocked and that all medicines are not expired.
Communication Equipment – Whether or not you take your electronics out of the boat at the end of each season, owners should be sure to test the communications systems before hand. First, check your radio’s antenna, microphone and power connections for corrosion. Regardless of where you stored your radio over the winter make sure to perform a radio check with the marina or another boater to verify that the radio is receiving and transmitting correctly. If you go offshore during the season and own an Emergency Position Indication Radio Beacon (EPIRB), then you should make sure your EPIRB is registered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), check the battery and confirm that it’s not expired, and ensure it has no physical damage.
Insurance- It’s always important to keep a copy of your current insurance certificate in the boat in case of any emergency or if it is required while visiting a marina. Always be sure to review your limits and navigational territory to ensure you have the proper coverage and you’re not breaking the policy limits. If you have any questions on the above spring checklist, feel free to call Blake Murphy at 781-239-7615 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.