I am watching 100km/hr gusts churning the water in the bay as I sit to write this supposed Spring newsletter. To switch up the old adage I hope this is a sign of the storm before the calm, and it will be clear skies and smooth sailing until the fall! It does lead into one of the themes of this newsletter though.
As Spring approaches we start thinking of the new boating season ahead.
Every year as boats are in for service one of the things I notice is either the lack of safety equipment, gear passed serviceable life, or out of date equipment. At the start of each season inspect your lifejackets, life rings and throw/tow ropes. As they are exposed to the marine environment the materials deteriorate. If you or family enjoy water sports, life jackets get torn and tow lines get frayed. Once torn or frayed they are no longer of use and should be disposed of. DO NOT keep them as back ups or spares?. Many of us have pets that enjoy coming along on the water with us, don’t forget about them. There are life preservers and boarding devices available for them too. If you need information on these be sure to give us a call or email. As a side note, self inflating life jackets are only counted as legal if worn, not if just on the boat. See your owners manual as these PFD’s have specific annual service requirements.
Check your signaling devices, expiry dates of flares and fire extinguishers. Replace, repair, or recertify as required. Visit the Transport Canada website at address below for the latest requirements.
Note that there have been changes in the last year, some may be applicable to your vessel.
Before starting your engine/s and heading out on the water for the season:
- de-winterize engine and house systems, and re-install impeller, drain plugs, etc.
- check the electrical systems including the battery fluid levels, connectors (replace and/or clean as required), and harnesses.
- check the bilge pump wiring and operation. Inspect navigation lights and lenses.
- check all the thru hull valve shut offs. They should be moveable, free from contaminants and easily accessible. Attach a cedar bung with a cord. Remove things stored around them that could affect access during an emergency.
- check the spares bin with back up impeller, belt, quart of oil, coolant, filters, etc. and replace as necessary.
- check first aid kits and replace or restock as necessary.
Something to consider is getting a qualified mechanical check of your systems. This certainly is not required annually, although we would recommend it, but should be done occasionally. No matter how proficient you are, a second trained set of eyes can reveal some issues that should be attended to that would make our boating experience more enjoyable and safe. A quick check by a qualified mechanic should only take one to two hours and could save you days of dock side tie ups or even worse a tow back and a week end trip ruined.
News from Vector Yacht Services & The Boat Yard
Starting March 31st thru til Sept. 29th, the Boat Yard and Vector Yacht store will be open Saturdays from 8:30 to 4:00 for service, haul outs, and parts. Trained service and travel lift personnel will be available for regular service requests as well as any emergency that may arise.
Come on in, say hi, visit the store, get advise, and prepare for safe and enjoyable Spring Boating!