Accessories and Equipment for Safety at Sea
Safety is key in any activity and the marine sector is no exception to this. Before leaving land for sea, a number of items are a must to secure your own safety and that of others. Responsible boating is key to ensure a most positive experience.
Choosing safety equipment should be a process which takes into consideration specific requirements listed by marine authorities as well as knowledge on product use. Selecting renowned brands who research and develop their products wisely is key in ensuring utmost functionality and safety.
Meeting basic safety requirements usually entails having the following on board: basic first aid, personal flotation devices (life jackets or vests), signaling devices, fire extinguisher, boat anchor, ropes and dock lines, and marine VHF Radio and Cell Phone.
This article will look into specific marine boat accessories and equipment with the aim of ensuring optimal boat safety.
Personal Flotation Devices (PFD)
The presence of Flotation Devices, or as more widely known, life jackets, is a mandatory requirement for most marine authorities. This entails ensuring the availability of personal standard flotation devices for every person on board that are: of proper size, in good and serviceable condition, and stowed in a way to make them easily accessible. Various kinds of flotation devices exist which we’ll look into more detail below:
Off-Shore Life Jacket
This type of life jacket is aimed for use in open, rough or remote water where rescue might not be immediate. It is designed for extended survival in open water and will normally turn an unconscious person face up.
Near-Shore Buoyant Vest
As the name suggests, a near-shore buoyant vest is good for calmer inland water, where rescue should be fast in coming. It is usually less expensive than an off-shore life jacket and comes in several sizes, including for children. Many options of this vest will also turn an unconscious person face up in the water.
Unlike its predecessors, a flotation aid does not usually turn an unconscious person face up. This is because use of this aid is intended for calm water where fast rescue is possible. Flotation aids come in various sizes and styles developed for different sports and boating activities.
A Throwable Device is designed to be easily thrown in water. Care should be taken though as this device is not appropriate for persons who do not know how to swim, children or someone who is unconscious. It can serve as a backup to a wearable flotation device; in terms of design, it usually resembles a cushion, a ring or a horseshoe buoy. Throwable Devices are good for calm, inland waters with help constantly at reach.
Work vests, deck suits and hybrids for restricted use are known as special use devices. These are usually a requirement for activities such as sailboarding and rafting.
Inflatable and Hybrid Devices
Compared to other personal flotation devices, inflatable and hybrid devices turn wearers and unconscious users face up faster. They are comfortable, highly visible when inflated and less bulky but must only be used for approved activities.
Ropes constitute a key item in safely rescuing a person who has fallen overboard. Throw lines provide accurate means by which to deliver a line to a person overboard or pass a messenger line to another boat. Ropes are usually made of polypropylene, nylon, polyester, and natural fibers. It is imperative that ropes are kept constantly clean: dirt, sand and oil destroy ropes, be they made of natural fibers or synthetic.
How to retain the quality of your rope
When washing, place rope in a pillow case or mesh bag and use a mild cleanser. This prevents it from knotting or ruining the washing machine. Don’t let your rope kink when taking it off the spool and ensure that ends are kept neat. Frays will grow and ruin more of your rope: make sure to whipp, back splice, dip or burn the end to ensure consistency. Added to this, having an area of rope that is constantly rubbing another surface will only mean that that area will fail sooner. Use chafe guards in this case.
Chains should be safely connected every time a boat is towed. This ensures towing safety. Crossing chains under the coupler and securely attaching to the vehicle ensures that they don’t bounce loose. It should be kept in mind that only enough slack to permit full turning should be left; leaving too much limits chain control.
There are various reasons why you’d want to anchor your boat: be it to fish, swim, or stay overnight, or more emergency reasons such as to control the boat in bad weather or if the engine has quit. Whichever reason, the important thing is that you choose the best anchor for the job. There is no one anchor that does the job for all conditions. The three types of most common anchors found on pleasure boats are: the fluke, the plow and the mushroom anchor. Mushroom anchors, for instance, do not have as much holding power as a fluke or plow anchor and are hence more appropriate for small, lighter weight boats. Anchors are attached to the boat via line, chain or a combination of both. This is called the anchor rode.
A minimum of three fenders are usually required for a boat alongside a dock. Placement depends on the design of the boat, but more fenders is better than less. Each fender should have a suitably sized line to fasten to the boat. The lines can be either three strand nylon or braided. Polypropylene is not suggested as this breaks down with UV exposure. Lines should be tied to the boat using two half hitches and fenders placed vertically to protect the boat.
Life rings are a device that most of us have seen many of: be it on boats or as decorative gear in fish restaurants, but when it comes to their proper use, appropriate function is imperative. Using life rings appropriately is key in ensuring safety. Life rings are used in unexpected emergency situations: ensuring that they can be easily accessed and thrown is hence imperative. Set up your life ring for speed by making sure that they can be removed and dropped into the water fast. If your life ring includes a retrieval line, secure it in a way that they are ready for use without any extra effort. Just having a life ring on board is certainly not enough.
In choosing your rigging, consider size, breaking strength, and the tensioning system: lashings or turnbuckles? Your rigging supplier will assist you in choosing the best option for ensuring utmost safety for your needs.
Marine Safety in Malta
In Malta, the Marine Safety Investigation Unit is responsible for contributing to maritime safety by carrying out investigations into accidents and incidents as well as participate in academic research and safety studies. Being a major flag state, Malta remains a major stakeholder in the maritime industry and is also a very active member within the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
Contact the Marine Safety Equipment Experts
A Ferriggi supplies marine boat accessories and safety equipment, including life jackets, all kinds of ropes, chains, anchors, fenders, life rings, and rigging accessories amongst others. Products are individually sourced, ensuring that each item meets the required standards, ensuring client safety. A Ferriggi offer a personalised service to assist their clients in choosing the best equipment possible. With years of experience in this industry, A Ferriggi strives to provide you with only the best in marine supplies.
Contact the experts via the contact details below:
A Ferriggi Importers & Distributors
T: +356 99475154 | +356 21673719 | +356 79050756
A: 65, Fiorella, Triq Guzi Abela., Zejtun, ZTN 1651