Being Prepared for a Boat Inspection

Recently I was in charge of re-modeling a boat for a friend of mine. As this boat had not been worked on in years, there was extensive work that had to be done. But I worked diligently and made that boat look better than it ever had (since he owned it anyway)! From the bottom flooring to the tip of the bimini top, everything was refurbished, down to the stainless steel screws. It looked great and my friend was impressed.

However, there was something he had forgotten about: the safety equipment checklist – things that every boat has to have in order to keep the boat legal as well as safe. Fortunately for him, I had done my homework and all of his equipment was already checked and replaced. Otherwise, if he had been stopped on the waters and had his boat searched, he could have been in serious trouble. He thanked me and said he had forgotten all about that. I made a list for him just so that he could double check it every time he decided to go boating.

Here are the things I included on the list:

First of all, you have to have the boat's paperwork, proof of insurance, a legal sticker on the side and you have to have life jackets. You have to have 1 per person when traveling on enclosed waters. These must be suitable for the person wearing them, meaning a child’s life jacket would not meet the requirements for a full grown man. They have to be in good condition and easily accessible.

Other items you have to have are an anchor, a bucket (just in case you have to bail water), and a magnetic compass. Distress signals are also needed to ensure that your boat is legal. You need 2 orange smoke handheld flares to use in the daytime and a minimum of 2 red hand flares for use in the day or night. You should be able to locate and ignite the correct flare, even in total darkness. Most flares have a use-by date of 3 years, and they have to be replaced before they expire. Otherwise, you could face penalties.

You need a fire bucket and a fire extinguisher, just in case there is a fire on board. Also, a paddle or oar is a requirement, just as a secondary means of propulsion if the motor fails. A whistle or air horn has to be on board, so that if there is a problem, help will be able to find you .

Waterproof floating torches are needed on your boat. These are valuable safety devices for use as navigation lights (on smaller vessels) at night and when working on the engine. Spare bulbs and batteries should be carried. Other things that are helpful, but not required, would be first aid kits and tool kits.

Some items need to be protected from the water- these may be put into plastic bags or even in glass jars. Also, make sure your life jackets are in a dry, well-ventilated area, away from oil and fuel. Always make sure that everyone on board knows where they are. As long as you keep your equipment up to date, you should not encounter a problem if you are ever stopped on the water.

Susan B- Shipping Manager