Whether you’re just getting into sailing, or you’re a seasoned vet with several years on the water, you probably have the gear you need to handle the water safely and have a good time while you’re at it. However, there’s one bad habit a lot of sailors fall victim to.
They don’t maintain their sailing equipment.
Maintaining your sailing equipment is key to ensuring it works when you actually need it. So, we’re going to go over a brief checklist of the most commonly neglected pieces of gear.
1: Fire Extinguisher
You have a fire extinguisher aboard your boat, but when’s the last time you actually checked to make sure it works?
You might not have thought about it, but fire extinguishers have expiration dates, and if they expire, they are not putting out fires. That can spell disaster if your boat catches fire and you haven’t bothered to check the extinguisher in several years. The link above explains it in further detail.
Simply put, you really need to check your extinguisher’s expiration date regularly and replace it when it’s expired. Fire Protection Equipment can save your life during a fatal accident.
2: Survival Food
If you’re smart, you have a week’s worth of survival food or more stashed away on your boat along with fresh water or a method to get fresh water reliably. If something happens, and you get stranded at sea, that little stockpile can save your life.
However, it will expire. Even the water can get tainted.
First, make sure you don’t leave the food or water in the sunlight. Stow it away. Then, check the food’s expiration date, take note of it, and leave a reminder in your cabin to replace it on the expiration date. This isn’t too bad. It lasts several years. For water, just replace your water supply when you do your food. The plastic packaging leeches into the water, and yes, environmental contaminants can breach the water bottles, too.
3: Safety Raft
It would be pretty embarrassing, and unfortunate of course if you went to deploy your life raft and realized it had a big hole rotted in it. This isn’t common, but if you’re sailing on salt water, the salty air can degrade it, bugs and pests can get to it regardless of where you’re sailing, etc. Things happen. Before you go out, just take a peek to make sure it’s in good shape. If not, you might want to replace it before you end up going down with the ship.
4: Satellite Phone
If you’re using a satellite phone on your boat to supplement your radio, you need to maintain it the most often. Satellite phones come with monthly subscriptions. They’re kind of like your normal smartphone. If you don’t pay that, you’re not reaching anyone on it. So, try to find a deal you can afford, and then commit to paying it every time you’re supposed to. If you won’t be sailing for an entire season, feel free to cancel it. Just make sure you renew your subscription before you go sailing again.