As we head towards the winter months and store our vessels for the winter, we’re left with much more downtime—ideal for spending time with family and friends but that doesn’t mean it has to be a complete pause in your boating life. This is the perfect time to create a checklist for your boating safety equipment, ensuring that when you do get back on the water, everything works as you need it to. Take advantage of this checklist so you can be sure that your boating safety equipment is completely functional and that you’ll be safe next year!
1. Check Fire Extinguishers
Check that the pressure gauges on all of your onboard fire extinguishers read in the green “filled” zone. If any of your extinguishers are even partially discharged, it’s best to replace them outright. Just make sure any replacement fire extinguishers are Coast Guard approved. To keep your extinguishers in the best condition, you can give them a quick shake which loosens up the fire-retardant powder and makes for the best performance. Lastly, if you own any Kidde fire extinguishers, check to see that they weren’t impacted by this recall.
2. Inspect Your Life Jackets
Take a look over your life jackets to see if the straps, buckles, fabric, and flotation materials are all still in working condition. If you have any doubts over whether or not they’re okay to use, it may be time to replace them. When it comes to inflatable life jackets, just make sure that all CO2 cartridges are removed and inspected. In the event that they are damaged or used up, make sure you replace them before you go back out on the water.
3. Make Sure Your Flares Are Good
All flares you have onboard need to be replaced around every three years so check the expiration dates on any handheld or meteor flares. If they are set to expire mid-boating season, set up a reminder so that you remember to replace them. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of replacing flares every few years, you can use an electronic distress signal that won’t expire—just make sure it’s USCG approved like this one.
4. EPIRBS and PLBs
The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) requires re-registration of these devices every two years. While they do send out reminders, you may not receive them if your contact information has changed, so it’s good to check if you’re nearing your time to re-register. You also want to look into replacing the batteries of your EPIRBs and PLBs as well, many of which have test procedures so you can guarantee they are in functioning order.
5. Check and Replace Smoke Detectors and CO Monitors
Most modern smoke detectors and CO alarms have expiration dates printed directly on them, so you should take the time to check and see if they will need replacing any time soon. Typically, these units last between 5-10 years, after which they lose the ability to accurately detect problems and lose their usefulness. If there isn’t any expiration date printed on your unit, it’s likely old enough that now is a good time to replace it anyway.
Reach Out to Tidewater Today!
If you’re in the greater Baltimore area and are in need of boat services, contact Tidewater Yacht Service at 410-625-4992 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our location is at 321 East Cromwell Street Baltimore, MD 21230. Get in touch with us today! Whether you need hauling, systems repaired, or storage, we have the experience and expertise to help. We’ve been providing our services to the Chesapeake Bay for over 30 years and know how to properly handle your vessel with care.