Preparation Saves Lives
The ocean can be a dangerous place, in many life threatening situations the difference between surviving or lost at sea is in the preparation and planning.
For your own safety, you’re required to carry specific items that will help in an emergency, but Just having the safety gear in the boat is not enough, to be of any real use it needs to be easily reached in a panic situation and you need to know how to use it.
A life jackets for each person on board is a legal requirement, but they are almost impossible to get out from under a capsized vessel and equally as difficult to put it on when you’re bobbing around in the ocean.
The best place for a life jacket is on your back, there are slim-line designs and inflatables that don’t get in your way, even when you’re fishing.
Jackets are also of little use if they damaged or worn, the things to check for are torn seams or stitching that has come undone as well as straps and buckles are all in working condition.
There is absolutely no doubt, an EPIRB can save lives, provided you can reach it and set it off.
Having an EPIRB mounted in a hatch in the bow of the boat will not be of much use in an emergency when you literally have seconds to trigger it.
One of the most common statements made by those that have survived a sinking boat is it happened so quickly, they had little or no time to do anything.
Safety gear needs to be close at hand, easy to reach.
An EPIRB should be within an arms length of the helm so if needed, you’re not digging through gear, climbing over ice boxes or fiddling with mounting brackets to activate it.
Other safety gear like flares, V sheets, signalling mirrors and torches can also get lost in hatches and storage boxes, it’s a good idea to keep them all in one location.
You can buy a brightly coloured floating safety container made for the job which as well as being easy to spot in any light, floats so it’s less likely to go down with the ship.
One of the least used safety features is the outboard cut off lanyard, it is important to put it on when there is a chance you might be thrown out of the boat.
It’s also important to check the gear regularly, flares expire and torches go flat, when you need safety gear, you need it working.
Don’t rely on electric bilge pumps, when boat fill with water electrics stop working so make sure you have an easily accessible bailing scoop as well.
Don’t think about it, take the time to go through your safety equipment, simulate an emergency so you’re prepared, it could be the difference between life and death.