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Monthly Archives: March 2015

  • 57. Top Tips Tuesday - Don’t navigate 'on a wing and a prayer’ with a page from an atlas!

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    If you do, you may end up on the rocks like intrepid sailor Michal did the other day. But joking apart if you haven’t updated your electronic charts for the 2015 season, now is the time to do so. Garmin BluechartsNavionics and C-Map (latest update due out this week) can usually be turned around same day. If you are ‘moving on’ you can of course update to a different area and if changing to a new chartplotter you can update to a different format if required. Navionics are now also offering updates to their charts from selected C-Map or Garmin products so bear in mind your old electronic charts still have value.

    If you have purchased a Raymarine plotter with C-Map essentials, a recent innovation, you are entitled to a free C-Map MAX+ local chart or for a small fee an upgrade to MAX full 4D with 3D overlays and easy routing.

    Of course one must not rely entirely on electronics you should always carry corrected paper charts of the area you are likely to be boating in, Imray updates hereAdmiralty updates here

    For more on the story mentioned above - The Telegraph Reported:

    Sailor rescued by coastguard is found on yacht with nothing but a page torn from an atlas

    Michal Trejbal, 40, was attempting to sail to Plymouth but was rescued by coastguards after his 25ft yacht collided with rocks

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    A sailor was rescued by coastguards when his 25ft yacht smashed into rocks - and he was found with nothing but a page torn from an atlas. Michal Trejbal, 40, was attempting to sail to Plymouth, Devon, but got into trouble when the keel of his yacht collided with rocks near Ventnor, Isle of Wight. A nearby fisherman raised the alarm and teams from Needles Coastguard and Ventnor Coastguard were called to the scene. It is not known where Mr Trejbal, who is a Czech national, set off from but it is thought he eventually wanted to travel to Turkey.  The boat had no safety equipment, Mr Trejbal was navigating with one page from an atlas and when he was rescued he thought he was 30 miles away - in Southampton. Last August a man was rescued five miles off the Dorset coast after attempting to sail to America in a £300 dinghy.

  • 56. Top Tips Tuesday - Get A Grip On Yourself With KiwiGrip

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    Many many years ago when I was racing dinghies competitively, the recipe for obtaining a non slip floor or gunwales (if we were racing a trapeze class dinghy) was an application of varnish then a sprinkling of clean, dry silver sand (using a sieve to get an even coating) whilst the varnish is still wet and when dry lightly brush surplus away and apply another coat of varnish. Some years later we ‘graduated’ to 3M non slip tape, absolutely brilliant but oh so aggressive, it could wear a hole in a wetsuittrapeze harness and draw blood during a championship race! Following on from that we used a mixture of epoxy and colloidal silica and applied with an Artex roller, excellent non slip but almost as aggressive as the tape. Now there are a variety of coatings available, non slip deck paintsnon slip tapes the same 3M tape we used in the mid seventies and of course Treadmaster. My favourite these days is KiwiGrip. As its name implies it was developed down under and it’s quite simply a revolutionary, durable, non toxic, non skid coating that comes out of a can with a yogurt-like consistency but spreads easily using the roller supplied with the kit. By varying the application technique the texture can be adjusted from ‘fine’ to ‘aggressive' and if you want to ‘hide’ blemishes in an older deck, KiwiGrip is ideal. It comes in five different colours and if you really want to push the boat out we can even offer a custom tinting service (Dulux Trade Colour Range) however, like all good things, this service does come at a price.

  • How To Apply KiwiGrip

    How To Apply KiwiGrip

    Step by step instructions on how to apply KiwiGrip non-skid coating.

    KiwiGrip is a gel that gets its texture from the unique roller sleeve that comes with KiwiGrip. Your result depends on your technique as well as your application conditions. Immediately after rolling out your KiwiGrip gel into a nice uniform miniature mountain range pattern, the peaks start to settle under the effect of gravity. In warm, arid fast drying conditions, there is little settling time so the peaks remain tall and sharp with deep valleys. In cool or humid conditions, drying time is slow, allowing plenty of settling with rounded peaks, and thicker valley floors. Tall sharp peaks offer a superior non-skid but the surface tends to trap dirt. Soft rolling hills are easy to keep clean but are not as effective at slip stopping. KiwiGrip right out of the tin at 60 - 70°F (15 - 20°C) is formulated to give a texture in the middle between the Swiss Alps and gentle rolling hills.

    Here's a video showing you the basic steps to applying KiwiGrip non-skid coating.

    Weather & Conditions

    Like all paint products, KiwiGrip will cure properly only under suitable weather conditions. Fortunately, KiwiGrip enjoys a wide weather windo. Relative humidity must be low enough for the water in KiwiGrip to evaporate before the co-solvents escape. Warmer temperatures allow for higher humidity. Do not apply KiwiGrip when drying conditions are expected to fall outside the permitted application window. In all cases, KiwiGrip MUST dry before it gets wet or before realtive humidity rises above 90%.

    Avoid application in direct sunlight, which will elevate your deck temperature. Warm decks will reduce your working time, making it very difficult to get a uniform texture. KiwiGrip may be thinned with water 10% by volume to slow drying in hot and or arid conditions.

    Surface Preparation

    Always apply KiwiGrip over a sealed surface to prevent water and co-solvents from absorbing into the substrate. Avoid solvents like acetone, MEK, paint thinners, etc.

    Old Gel-coat - Scrub old gel-coat with a stiff scotch pad or stainless wire brush and a good degreasing soap to remove oxidation, dirt and oil. A de-waxing agent is required if the surface has been waxed within 5 years.

    Fresh polyester or epoxy fiberglass - If the polywester includes wax this must be completely washed away with a de-waxing agent. Then sand well with 60-100 grit sand paper. Wash well with degreasing soap and water.

    Aluminum or steel - Metals require a primer to protect the underlying metal from rust or corrosion. KiwiGrip is compatible with all primers. Apply primer per manufacturer's instructions. KiwiGrip will tie-coat to epoxy primers. To tie-coat, apply KiwiGrip over the epoxy when the epoxy is beyond tacky but not yet hard. (Test: walk with stocking feet on epoxy. The epoxy is perfect whent it tries to take the socks off your feet but releases them before pulling the epoxy off the deck). Unless tie-coating, sand primer lightly with 100-200 grit sand paper. Wipe up dust 3 times with damp rags.

    Wood - Wood needs a coat of paint or sealer to prevent water and co-solvents from absorbing into wood. Any paint or non-silicone primer is fine. When dry, sand paint, primer, or sealer lightly to remove any gloss. 100-220 grit is fine. Damp rag wipe 3 times to remove all dust.

    Concrete - Concrete must be fully cured and sealed with any non-silicone sealer. Follow with a good soap and water scrub. Allow to dry.

    Tile/Marble/Porcelain - Surfaces must be free of oils, soap-scum, and contamination. For swimming pool decks, beware of body oils which may have built up over a number of years. Normally aggressive scrubbing with a good degreasing soap is sufficient for oil removal. Sand well to remove any gloss and offer some "tooth" for KiwiGirp to hold onto. Wipe up dust 3 times with damp rags.

    Vinyl Flooring - De-wax with a de-waxing agent. Sand aggressively with 80-150 grit to remove gloss and add a tooth. Wipe 3 times with damp rags to remove dust. We suggest a small test patch to ensure a good bond. Remember to wait a few days before testing bond strength as water-based acrylics typically need a week or so to achieve full bond strength.

    Replacing Carpet - Remove old carpet. With a belt sander or orbital sander, remove as much of the carpet adhesive as comes easily. Don't worry about adhesive remaining in the grain or small shards of adhesive that are difficult to remove. If bare wood is exposed, seal as described in the "Wood" section of these instructions. KiwiGrip will get a good bond to remaining adhesive and the shards will be lost in the kiwiGrip texture.

    Masking

    If you are refinishing glossy surfaces, complete this work prior to applying KiwiGrip. Don't worry about overspray that extends onto your nonskid areas. Interlux, Awlgrip, Sterling, Alexseal, Petit, Imron and other linear polyurethanes require 3 days cure time prior to applying masking tape. Attention to masking will be well rewarded with a professional result.

    Masked corner radii can be quickly created using either of two methods:

    First, 3M stretchy fine line tape (1/4 inch width works well) is great for following pencil radius scribed on the deck.

    Second, corners can be taped square and later trimmed with a light touch on an Exacto-kinfe following the circumference of a cup or can as a guide. Do not cut into the top-coat. Apply just enough blade pressure to score the take for easy and controlled tearing>

    After masking, sand the fresh topcoat with 60-180 grit. Take care to sand right up to the maskign tape. Consider using a fine grit paper near the edges to avoid damaging the tape. Damaged tape can be easily repaired simply by applying another layer of tape directly over the damage. Follow sanding with several damp rag wipes to remove all dust.

    Stirring/Shaking

    For best results, shake a full can of KiwiGrip on a commercial shaker. Alternatively, KiwiGrip can be stirred by hand with a broad paddle to ensure product has not settled after manufacture. (NOTE: small granules of cured product suspended in the gel are a normal artifact of production. They will be lost in the texture).

    Stirring rapidly or shaking a partial can will introduce small air bubbles which become micro-craters in your finished surface. These small craters do no harm, but make the surface a bit harder to keep clean.

    Application

    Your technique will improve as you go, so to ensure an excellent outcome practice first on cardboard or plywood before moving on to your deck.

    Choose a small section on your deck for the first application of KiwiGrip. Proceed with small sections first, moving on to larger sections of your deck as you build experience and confidence. If you aren't happy with a result, simply wipe up KiwiGrip with a damp rag and try again.

    Work small areas at a time, starting with only a square foot. Using a large brush or notched trowel, apply thick coating to the selected area. Apply at a rate of about one liter (quart) per 2 square meters (20 square feet).

    Some customers prefer application with a serrated (notched) trowel commonly used for applying adhesive for tile setting. 3mm (1/8 inch teeth yield a thin, fine finish, much like sand filled top coat) while 1/4 inch teeth yield a thick coating with taller peaks and deeper vallys. A thin coat will give you a more refined look that is easier to keep clean but offers a shorter wear life and won't bridge hairline cracks well. A thicker coat will give you a more aggressive non-skid with long wear life and great craking bridging but will be harder to clean.

    Practice on cardboard, plywood, or right on your deck to choose a texture that is right for you. Keep in mind that not all surfaces demand the same texture. Cockpit seats for example may prefer a finer texture than the cockpit floor.

    With your roller, evenly distribute the spread KiwiGrip over your small area. Once this is achieved lightly roll back and forth over the surface in any direction (or multiple directions) to even out the texture. Finish the section with a few passes of your roller using a very light pressure. These last few passes will pop any bubbles that may be lurking under the "mountain peaks".

    Once texture looks even and you are happy with the result, remove the masking tape and quickly move on to the next section. (*See note later about pulling the masking tape)

    While KiwiGrip may be applied single handed in cool conditions, it is best applied with a buddy. One person should be designated "slather-er" whose job is to apply a consistent amount of KiwiGrip ahead of the roller and double back to pull the tape behind the roller. The roller is charged with evenly distributing the KiwiGrip gel on the deck and dialing in a consistent texture. Trading jobs will introduce slight changes in texture which may be noticeable.

    If the KiwiGrip is drying too quickly, and you're having difficulty achieving a consistent texture:

    (a) Work smaller areas, trying to keep a continuous process (maintaining a wet edge)

    (b) Stop and wait for a cooler time (night time with lights or early morning after wiping up dew)

    (c) Add up to 10% water to slow the drying

    * A note about pulling the masking tape: Removing the tape while the coating is wet allows the edges to roll over and create a nice looking radius. If the KiwiGrip skins over and goes rubbery, you'll need a light touch with a razor blade to remove the tape. Pulling your tape when KiwiGrip is almost dry, but not yet fully cured and bonded, will lift film from the deck.

    If you are not happy with the evenness or result, wipe up the gel and repeat the application but use less (or more) material on the second try.

    For a very aggressive texture, allow the coating to partially dry, then re-roll to lift the settled peaks back up sharp. We call this back-rolling. You will have to experiment a bit to find the besty delay for back-rolling in your conditions. We suggest you back roll every 5 minutes to find the delay when your KiwiGrip is thickenign but not yet tacky.

    Drying Time

    Drying time is temperature and humidity dependent. At 60°F (10°C) you'll have about 20 minutes working time before losing your "wet edge". Normally drying is well advanced in an hour at 70°F (23°C). Allow at least 4 hours before recoating. High humidity will prolong drying time and offer longer working time.

    You can walk on your new decks without shoes the next day. The product will be tough but slightly rubbery in less than 48 hours, and will reach final hardness over time. The bond strength continues to mature over a week or so.

    Re-coating

    When maintenance or re-coating is required, remove all surface contaminants with boat soap to ensure the surface is completely clean. No sanding is required, you simply need to apply the coating as you have done previously. If you are careful with the brush and roller, there is no need to re-mask. If you are uncertain of your technique, re-mask the surface to the edge of the previous KiwiGrip coating and then proceed. In general you need only re-coat areas where you peaks have worn down.

    Clean Up

    Wash tools and equipment with fresh water while material fresh. After full cure (a few days) scrub your new decks with fresh water to remove a soap like component that migrates to the surface during KiwiGrip's cure.

    Custon Tinting

    KiwiGrip can be tinted using any universal tint system found at paint resellers. Limit tint to 2% by volume (20cc or 2/3 oz. per liter). This is sufficient to create virtually any light pastel color.

  • 55. Top Tips Tuesday - Hook & Moor - Stress Free Mooring

    Hook & Moor

    Those of you who know my mate Pete (went to school with him, sailed together since the age of 8, have a beer or two on Tuesday evenings and if i'm lucky get invited to go for a sail, participate on non sailing hols with him and his missus) will know that apart from being the owner of a drop dead gorgeous Dutch built 37ft yacht, he is a highly experienced winter racing/summer cruising sailor however not easily convinced if a new bit of kit is introduced to the marine market.

    Last Saturday night however, he came round to watch the rugby and during ½ time I introduced him to a new product we have just started retailing... Hook & Moor. Well for once Peter was impressed and his first mate even more so! Looks like picking up a mooring buoy with a force 8 blowing on the West Coast of Scotland just became a whole lot easier and this year when he takes the Breeholm across to the Baltic, threading the mooring warp through the ring on the stern mooring piles could be a piece of cake!

  • 54. Top Tips Tuesday - Electrical and Electronic Checks and Preparations - Expert advice from the team at marinechandlery.com

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    Now at last you're on the home straight with the launch in sight so what have we still got to do? Check out our electrics and anything electronic. If your batteries have been stored at home, kept fully charged (incidentally lots of folks are now using one of the excellent C-Tek 8-stage battery chargers to do this) you probably don't have much to worry about however you should always check their condition before reinstalling (this can be done by using a battery analyzer). If they are not of the sealed variety, check that the cells are fully topped up, however at this stage don't connect.  Assuming securing straps are fitted, make sure that they are secure and hold the batteries both fore and aft as well as athwartships. If no straps, 25mm webbing, webbing plates and sensible sized fastenings are strongly recommended. If over the winter a battery has failed for whatever reason, do not be tempted to purchase an automotive battery you should go for a good quality deep cycle one for domestics, or a dedicated starting battery for engine starting. Now check your shore side power source; first check the cable for any damage to the outer casing then take both plug and socket apart, clean contacts with that excellent specialist fast drying contact cleaner, reassemble then spray with Boeshield and finally check that you are obtaining power to your RCD. Remove your external power source and make sure that the RCD is clean and that the trips are working. If you haven't got one perhaps consider purchasing a Metermaid, it gives you the opportunity to monitor your shoreside power consumption! Finally check out your 240 volt sockets assuming they are fitted. Incidentally, if you have a trailer sailor or similar. Why not consider investing in a mobile mains power unit, comes complete with its own built in RCD.

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    Now check the condition of the battery isolator switches. Are the contacts clean? If not, clean them and reattach the terminals ensuring they are secured firmly and free from corrosion, finally connect the battery leads to the battery posts after smearing a little Vaseline/petroleum jelly on both post and the internal bearing surface of the terminal, connect the positive first and then the negative. Don't forget the posts are of a different diameter to prevent connecting the wrong way round. Turn your battery isolator switch on, then with the stop control pulled out (assuming a diesel engine), turn the engine over a couple of times, turn off the engine isolator switch and push the stop control home. Now turn your attention to the house battery's isolator, are terminals clean and corrosion free? If any electrical items have been added since you last checked, is the main supply cable to your distribution board still suitable for the increased load? Making sure the house batteries are not turned on, open up the distribution panel, check for any signs of corrosion and ensure contacts are clean. Any push on connectors (bullet, spades etc) should be pulled apart and checked for dirt or corrosion and treated accordingly, finally spray all surfaces with Boeshield and replace panel. Turn on batteries then turn on all electrics one by one to check everything works and all components that should be interfaced are still communicating. Check all interior lights, including the reading light in the aft cabin, the neon tube in the engine bay, forward cabin light, and don't forget the 12 volt DC socket at the nav table, often used in conjunction with the Dual USB Charger Plug due to our ever increasing dependance on portable electronics such as iPads and tablets. To "tidy" things up perhaps consider fitting a Dual USB Charger Socket.

    Often neglected and hard to find at a lot of chandlers is the tiny compass bulb, make sure it’s working and, for what they cost, always carry a spare. Consider perhaps substituting existing filament or halogen bulbs with LED's to cut your power consumption down if shore power is not available. It goes without saying that you should of course check that your fixed VHF is transmitting/receiving clearly, if not check antenna connections ie deck plug and socket. Check, if its a DSC/VHF, (most are these days) that its getting position data from your GPS/plotter. If the boat is new to you, don't forget to contact the relevant authority (OFCOM) and get your details added and the previous owners removed.

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    Speaking of plotters, is the electronic chart card up to date and relevant for the area you are going to be using the boat in?

    Wind speed and direction, do they need calibrating? Remember to write it in your log book as you cannot do it on dry land! If, like my co director, you are not that confident with the boats electronics, make sure you have a fall back reference book should you need to seek advice, Rob swears by Nigel Calder's Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual.

    Happy boating and we look forward to seeing you on the water.

  • 53. Top Tips Tuesday - Below Deck Preparation - A Step By Step Guide By PBO Columnist Mike Coates

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    So you are almost on the home straight but before we delve below decks, always replace shaft, saildrive and hull anodes as a matter of course. Shaft anodes can become loose through erosion, the excellent MG Duff range have an integral core bar design that controls wastage, ensuring the shaft anode remains secure. Make sure you use a drop of Loctite on the thread before tightening them up.

    Now get yourself down below out of that biting wind, ensure all metal sea cocks, the engine and the propshaft are electrically bonded as one, same goes for the rudder shaft. If in doubt, consult MG Duff’s very informative Cathodic Protection Handbook. Check the condition of the earthing wire and the cross sectional area. The correct wire to use is a minimum 4mm² PVC insulated multi-stranded copper cable, if in the slightest bit of doubt replace. If you regularly use shore power, and most of us do, consider fitting a galvanic isolator into the boat's earth supply cable if there isn’t one already fitted. It may appear just to sit there doing nothing but it does prevent stray electrical currents attacking underwater fittings such as seacocks, anodes, propellers and shafts.

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    Check all seacocks operate freely and then service them. For the superb Blakes seacocks, use their seacock grease as a lubricant. For Forespar seacocks (glass reinforced nylon) it’s a smear of Lanocote and the same for Bronze and DZR. If handles are rusty, consider changing them to stainless ones. Check hose connections are sound, of course ensuring they are fitted with no less than 2 stainless hose clips for security. Check the condition of the hose material, flex it where it leaves the hose tail for signs of deterioration, change if the slightest bit suspect. In case of a problem with a seacock or hose, make sure you have the correct size wooden bung attached with some 3mm polyester cord. Consider the purchase of a set of Seabungs (as featured on Dragon's Den) and carry at least one roll (if not two) of silicon tape on board should a weep develop from a pipe later in the season.

    If you have a mechanical seal (Deep Sea Seal, PSS or Volvo), read through the manufacturer's service instructions. Does it need lubricating, do you need to 'pinch' the seal (eg Volvo) to expel trapped air after launch? Remember seals, both shaft and sail drive, have a finite life span and components should always be replaced according to manufacturer's recommendations. Your insurance company would no doubt take a very dim view if you had an intake of water and no documentated proof of having the seal replaced within the recommended timescale.

    Service sea toilets as per the manufacturer’s instructions. As a rule of thumb however, remove the pump and grease the inside of the barrel with petroleum jelly, check all seals for deterioration and consider replacing the joker valve on the toilet outlet. If cruising, carry a set of toilet spares as it may be difficult to obtain parts in some ports. For the popular Jabsco manual toilets there are three different service kits available depending on the age of the original assembly however a lot of skippers with older models are upgrading to the complete Twist n' Lock pump unit (saves you buying a spares kit and you get a complete new barrel etc). Check all outlet hoses for calcification, if only a small build up use a good quality toilet system descaler, however if serious deposits replace only with odour proof toilet hose. Consider fitting a heads water treatment unit which not only reduces odours but also helps prevent the build up of deposits in hoses.

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    If you haven’t got a gas alarm fit one or at the very least purchase a hand held detector and fit a bubble leak detector next to the bottle. If you don't already, make sure you can cut off the gas supply at the tap next to the cooker. Check the flexible orange gas hose that goes from the stop cock to the cooker is in date and also in good condition. With the publicity recently of deaths due to carbon monoxide poisoning, if you haven’t already done so fit a carbon monoxide detector. It will only take you two minutes to screw to the bulkhead but may save your life!

    "Fire down below" are spoken, or more likely shouted, words we never want to hear. In partnership with the Boat Safety Scheme's - 'Go Boating Stay Safe' campaign, there is an booklet available entitled Fire Safety On Boats which is worth a read. For more information on boat safety and routine safety checks visit www.boatsafetyscheme.com. We recommend that you make sure all fire blankets and extinguishersare within easy reach and close to companionways, hatches, galley and the engine. Check that your extinguishers are still in date and not suffering from lack of pressure, if dented or rusty consider replacing, and if you haven’t got an automatic clean agent extinguisher located in the engine ‘room’ and no space to fit make sure you have an engine room door fire gate that you can aim and fire a clean agent one thru. Yes, powder will work on an engine room fire however it can do a tremendous amount of damage if sucked into a running engine. Incidentally, in the last year we have seen an increasing number of customers purchasing the new generation PFE portable aerosol fire extinguishers, 70/80% smaller than standard units, they are ‘human safe’ and leave no harmful residue. It is of course suitable for use on both liquid fuel and electrical fires.

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    Having taken the precaution of winterising your water system  by adding Freezeban in the Autumn, you should first drain any treatment. Water tanks and pipes should be sterilized by adding the appropriate quantity of Puriclean into the tank then fill to the brim with fresh water. Open up all taps on board until the solution is coming through then close taps and leave for up to 12 hours. Empty the tank completely then rinse system through with another full tank of fresh water and then refill. After treatment, don't forget to replace your water filter.

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    Don't forget to check that the automatic bilge pump is working after the close season and whilst you're at it, when was the last time you changed the diaphragm in the emergency manual bilge pump? Whilst you have the floor boards up it's worth having a check that everything is in order and wipe down all surfaces with a good quality bilge cleaner.

    Your first aid box is another vital component of your safety equipment often overlooked, its certainly worth checking that the contents are in date, not damp or water damaged, and there are no gaps, bandages used last year, tweezers borrowed by your daughter to pluck her eyebrows and not replaced. Ginger tablets and seasickness tablets are they still in date. If you haven’t got a ‘sailors’ first aid book its worth a purchase and if planning an adventure like the ARC or similar why not consider enrolling on a first aid course.

    Check all flares for being within date, (it’s an offence in some foreign countries to even carry out of date flares onboard). Perhaps consider slowly changing over to a couple of LED flares - no disposal worries and they use standard AA batteries. Lifejackets should be inspected (both bladder and, where fitted, safety harnesses for wear or chafe, loose stitching etc), and should be manually inflated for at least 24 hours preferably with dry air from a pump. Any that lose pressure should be referred to a service centre for specialist repair or should be replaced. Check all lifejacket cylinders for rust, un-screw from firing head and check they have not been pierced. When refitting cylinder ensure it is tightly screwed into place. When replacing lifejacket cylinders, always ensure they are the correct weight and size specific to your lifejacket - the manufacturer's label on the jacket should give this information. Change the water dissolving mechanisms (they fire the pin that allows the CO2 to automatically inflate the bladder) annually as they may have absorbed moisture and be on the point of firing. Check ‘Hammar’ hydrostatic systems ensuring they are ‘in the green’ and in date, if not replace. If your lifejacket is not fitted with a crutch strap fit one immediately, a lifejacket without one is virtually useless. If cruising, even inshore, consider adding a spray hood, and a light preferable the Spinlock Pylon which gives 360' sighting, they can both be life savers! Safety lines, one for every member of crew, examine carefully and if not of the ‘Gibb style’ hook’s consider changing. EPIRB is the battery still in date, if you have just purchased the boat has the registration been brought up to date. Personal EPIRB'S are now under £200-00, if sailing singlehanded an essential bit of kit.

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    Your grab bag should contain an emergency torch so change the batteries. Make sure the handheld VHF is holding it's charge (replacement batteries are available for certain models) Having said that many skippers are going with a handheld VHF with DSC facility, the price have dropped again to just under £160! Check the expiry date of any flares carried in the bag. Seasickness tablets food and water rations, are these in date? Perhaps consider at least one pair of Boarding Ring Anti-motion sickness glasses. If you have an emergency credit card/cash, has the card expired and any currency appropriate for your landfall?

    Happy and safe Sailing!

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