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Winter Maintenance brought to you by MDL Marinas - Safety Equipment Prep & Servicing

As the new boating season is nearly here (hurrah!), this month our winter maintenance series focuses on onboard safety equipment and getting it ready for your upcoming on-water adventures.

To ensure you have a fun-filled and carefree time afloat, we speak to Alistair Hackett, Managing Director at Ocean Safety, based at our Saxon Wharf marina, who offers his advice on prepping your onboard safety equipment so it’s ready to go should you ever need it.

“Although we all hope we’ll never have to use it, onboard safety equipment is a form of insurance and gives us peace of mind,” says Alistair. But if you did need to use it in an emergency, are you properly prepared?

“Ask yourself, do you have the right equipment onboard for the type of sailing you’re doing? Does everyone know how to use it? Is it fully functional? And, do you and your crew have a plan of what to do and when to do it? If the answer is yes, to all the above, great…but if not, we can help.”

What’s onboard?

“In addition to the basics of lifejackets for each person, a VHF radio, flares and first aid kit, the safety equipment you have onboard will largely depend on where you’re sailing, and the number and experience of the crew,” continues Alistair.

“If you’re planning to go offshore, we advise having an EPIRB and a liferaft with capacity for all onboard as well. Purchasing a liferaft is an option, but it’s also possible to hire one to keep your costs down. This is something we offer at Ocean Safety. Not only is it a fraction of the cost, you also don’t have to worry about servicing it either.

How does it work?

Apart from lifejackets, most safety equipment, thankfully, rarely needs to be used. But this does mean that crews are not always familiar with all the lifesaving equipment onboard, and sometimes don’t know how it works.
Alistair Hackett, Managing Director at Ocean Safety

“Therefore, before heading out it’s essential that you show your crew where everything is stowed, and make sure they can access things easily. Always run through how everything works and get them to give you a demo once you’ve explained it. Why not carry out a man overboard drill, just to confirm everyone is aware what to do should someone fall over the side?

Is it serviced and fully operational?

“An extensive inventory of safety equipment onboard is fantastic, but if it’s out of date or doesn’t work, you might as well not have it at all! Get everything checked regularly as it’s easy to miss issues if equipment is used infrequently, or it’s inside a canister.

“We offer servicing by experienced professionals at all our branches for a wide range of lifesaving equipment, there’s also a click and collect service making it even easier to get equipment serviced – MDL is one of our partners for this too.

“I can’t emphasise enough just how important it is to have the right safety equipment onboard and to ensure it’s working properly. Hopefully, you’ll never need it, but the security of knowing it’s there, ready to go, will mean you can relax and enjoy your time out on the water this season.”

With over 500 tenants across our marina network supported by our expert boatyard teams, there’s a marine business at an MDL marina near you that can assist you with any winter maintenance work or boating equipment you might need.

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