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Mark Matthews 01-25-2000 07:00 PM

Safety Check
 
<HTML><P><a target="top">Whether</a> sailing inshore, coastal, or extended voyaging, safety plays a key role in the gear you'll need. A variety of skippering styles exist from the &quot;elements-be-damned&quot; to those who won't sail in anything over 10 knots of breeze. Equally disparate attitudes toward safety follow. Extremes of any kind should be avoided though. If we take too many risks, we won't be returning, and if we don't leave the slip, we won't be sailing. The Coast Guard has established a minimum list of safety requirements which serve as a legal guideline to follow. <!--<p> must precede this sidebar table COLOR,ARTICLE ID, HEAD CHANGES --><p><table border="0" align="right"><tr><td width="8"></td><td></table></td></tr></table></td></tr></table><!--first line of text starts immediately after this table-->These items are by no means inclusive. Oars are a good idea in the event the wind quits, as is a VHF radio or cell-phone in the case of gear failure or other situations requiring assistance. Anchors, anchor line, and dock lines are also essentials. Common sense and forethought are perhaps the most important elements in any nautical outing.<P><b>Personal Flotation Devices</b>&nbsp;&nbsp;There are five classes of PFDs, or Personal Flotation Devices, life vests designed to keep one floating in the water.<ol><li type="1">Type I offshore life jackets provide at least 22 pounds of buoyancy and are designed to turn an unconscious person face up. It's a good choice for boats that may be sailing far from possible rescuers or sailing in cold water as the bulk of the life jacket can offset hypothermia longer than less insulated jackets. while the insulating qualities can be an important consideration, its bulkiness can hinder mobility.</li><p><li type="1">Type II is a near shore life vest providing at least 15.5 punds of fixed buoyancy. While these stow easily and are less bulky than the Type I and more economical, a wearer may float facedown if unconscious and they are rather uncomfortable.</li><p><li type="1">A Type III Inflatable Vest has 23-25 pounds of inflated buoyancy. Typically, inflated by a manually activated CO2 cartridge, these can also be inflated by mouth in the event of a cartridge failure. The most compact and comfortable of all types, it has the look and feel of sturdy suspenders. Inflated, this type of vest keeps the face high above water. It is slightly more expensive than other types of PFDs, but is the best device in many situations. </li><p><li type="1">A Type III Float Coat is a combination jacket with a built-in 15.5 pounds of buoyancy. This model is appealing for sailors in colder regions, although the buoyancy is small.</li><p><li type="1">Type IV are throwable devices, in the form of a cushion with handles, a ring buoy, Lifesling, or horseshoe buoy. They have a minimum of 16.5 pounds of buoyancy for floating a person leaning on them. Cushions and liferings can become waterlogged with rain, so they should be stowed below when the boat is not in use and replaced regularly. Not all on the market are Coast Guard approved, so be careful when selecting one. </li><p><li type="1">Type V Special Use Devices include inflatable life jackets with integral safety harnesses, jackets for white water rafting and canoeing, as well as hybrid life jackets which have enough buoyancy to float most swimmers with their heads just above the water, plus an inflation system providing more buoyancy.</li></ol><P>Keeping life jackets in a designated and easily accessible space on the boat will keep them in good condition, making them more likely to be worn. A jacket that has been crammed into a dirty lazerette or has been sopping in bilge water is not an appealing item likely to be used.<P><b>Fire Extinguishers</b>&nbsp;&nbsp;Preventing a fire in the first place is the best course of action. Store flammable materials away from flame sources and insure that shifting cargo doesn't accidentally activate aerosol spray cans. There are three types of fire extinguishers designed to put out different types of fires. <P>Class A extinguishes ordinary combustible materials including wood, paper, cloth, rubber, and some plastics.<P>Class B extinguishers are designed for flammable liquids including gasoline, oil, kerosene, diesel fuel, alcohol, tar, paint, and laquers.<P>Class C extinguishers are for live electrical fires where the heat source is a circuit which is arcing or hot due to overloading.<P>Type B extinguishers are most commonly found on boats. Some extinguishers are rated only AB for the first two types, while others are rated ABC. The Coast Guard requires one to three extinguishers on pleasure boats, depending on whether the boats have an engine and whether there is a permanently mounted fixed extinguisher system in the engine room. A permanently mounted fixed extinguishing system counts as one type of fire extinguisher. Fire extinguishers are additionally classified according to the volume of propellant. A number after the letter refers to the weight of the extinguishing agent. Model B-II type fire extinguishers have twice the extinguishing capacity of B-I. <P><b>Lights</b>&nbsp;&nbsp;When underway between sunset and sunrise, or when visibility is poor, all vessels are required to display lights in a distinct pattern recognized by all mariners. Knowing these lights instantly in the disorienting absence of depth perception is crucial. Anchor lights are mandatory for boats lying on a hook, and day shapes are to be displayed when anchored, fishing or not under control. <br>See our <A class="articlelink" HREF="/collections/learningtosail/rules/"><b>tutorial</B></A> to learn more. <P><b>Distress Signals</b>&nbsp;&nbsp;Visual distress signals alert other people to the fact that you are in trouble and provide a location for rescuers to find you. There are day signals and night signals. <table border="0"><tr><td width="10">—</td><td valign="baseline" width="13"><img vspace=0 hspace=4 src="http://www.sailnet.com/images/content/authors/Bullets/outfitting_bullet.gif"></td><td>Day Signals: Any kind of smoke on the water is considered a sign of distress. Smoke flares throw off bright orange smoke that is highly visible in daylight hours. An orange flag with a black circle and a black square is an internationally recognized day signal of distress. Also, a US flag flown up-side-down is universally recognized. A small, compact signal mirror can reflect sunlight in the direction of rescuers to attract their attention.</td></tr><tr><td width="10">—</td><td valign="baseline" width="13"><img vspace=0 hspace=4 src="http://www.sailnet.com/images/content/authors/Bullets/outfitting_bullet.gif"></td><td>Night Signals: There are three different types of flares for different types of sailing. Handheld flares which are low altitude; long duration flares which burn for up to 120 seconds and allow rescue vessels and aircraft to locate your position; meteor flares are short duration signals that last up to eight seconds at an altitude of 250 to 400 feet; parachute flares are medium-duration high-altitude signals that reach 1,000 feet in altitude and are the best for attracting attention since they can be seen at great distances and stay in the air for at least 25 seconds.</td></tr><P>The farther offshore, or the larger the body of water, the larger your visual distress arsenal should be. The Coast Guard recommends three day and night or combination day/night signals for recreational craft over 16 feet. Again this is the minimum requirement; a level wise to exceed considering flares can become outdated, wet, or non-functional when most needed.</table><P><b>Sound Signals:</b> Depending on their size, vessels are required to carry a bell, a whistle, horn, or other device to make an &quot;efficient&quot; sound signal. There are specific sound signals legally required to be made during periods of reduced visibility such as fog, rain, or snow, as well as when maneuvering in close quarters, in crossing, and overtaking situations. Through a series of long and short blasts on a sound producing device, skippers of all craft are able to communicate intentions including how they intend to pass each other, if they are going in reverse or are aground, or if the risk of collision exists. Sound producing devices come in both manually and propellant activated styles. Care should be taken with all sound producing devices, as hearing can be damaged if the signal is activated close to the ears. If absent from the boat for prolonged periods of time, double check that propellant activated sound signals haven't lost their sound producing ability.<P>Familiarity with the various aspects of Coast Guard requirements will ensure your time on the water is safer and more enjoyable, and that if an emergency does arise you will be familiar with equipment, its location, and use.<a name="sidebar"><hr noshade class="articlelink"></table><h2>Coast Guard Minimum Requirements</h2><P><b>Class A (Boats less than 16 feet)</b><p><b>Flotation Devices </b><br>One Type I,II,III or V PFD for each person on the boat or being towed.<b>Fire Extinguishers</b><BR>At least one B-I type. Fire extinguishers are required on boats with enclosed engine compartments, enclosed living spaces, or permanent fuel tanks. <P><b>Visual Distress Signals</b><BR> All vessels used on coastal waters, the Great Lakes, territorial seas, and those waters connected directly to them up to the point where a body of water is less than two miles wide, must be equipped with visual distress signals. The following vessels are not required to carry day signals, but must carry night signals when operating from sunset to sunrise: <UL> <LI>Recreational boats less than 16 feet in length</LI> <LI>Boats participating in organized events such as races, regattas, or marine parades</LI> <LI>Open sailboats less than 26 feet in length not equipped with propulsion machinery</LI> <LI>Manually propelled boats</LI> <LI>Flares are considered unacceptable 48 months after the date of manufacture</LI></UL><P><b>Sound Producing Devices</b>&nbsp;&nbsp;Horn, whistle, or any device capable of making an efficient sound signal. <P><b>Backfire Flame Control</b>&nbsp;&nbsp;Vessels having a gasoline engine are required to have a device called a Back Fire Flame Arrester, a mechanical arrangement which prevents the engine from back firing and/or possibly exploding. <P>Every gasoline engine installed after April 25, 1940, excluding outboard motors, must be equipped with an acceptable means of backfire flame control. Sailboats with an engine are considered a motorboat. <P><b>Ventilation</b>&nbsp;&nbsp;The boat operator is responsible for keeping the ventilation systems in operating condition, making sure openings are free of obstructions, ducts are not blocked or torn, blowers are operating properly and worn out components are replaced with equivalent equipment. <P>In addition, a device known as an exhaust blower is required for use with gasoline engines. Since gas vapors are both volatile and heavier than air, they can accumulate to dangerous levels in the bilge of an unventilated boat. The exhaust blower is turned on five minutes before starting the engine to evacuate any residual vapors outside the boat. Diesel engines don't require a blower, since diesel fuel ignites at a higher temperature and is therefore less likely to explode or catch fire from a spark.<P><b>Navigation Lights</b>&nbsp;&nbsp;Many states require all sailboats to carry sidelights and a sternlight, but small sailboats (under 23 feet) are not required to do so under the Inland Rules of Navigation. If a small sailboat does not have navigation lights, the Rules require a flashlight or other white flare-up light to be exhibited in sufficient time to avoid a collision. <hr noshade><p><b>Class 1 (Boats from 16 to 26 feet)</b><p><P><b>Flotation Devices</b>&nbsp;&nbsp;One Type I,II,III or V PFD are required for each person on the boat or being towed, plus one Type IV throwable device.<BR><P><b> Fire Extinguishers</b>&nbsp;&nbsp;At least one B-I type hand portable. <P><b>Visual Distress Signals</b>&nbsp;&nbsp;All vessels used on coastal waters, the Great Lakes, territorial seas, and those waters connected directly to them up to the point where a body of water is less than two miles wide, must be equipped with visual distress signals. The following vessels are not required to carry day signals, but must carry night signals when operating from sunset to sunrise:<UL> <LI>Boats participating in organized events such as races, regattas, or marine parades</LI> <LI>Open sailboats less than 26 feet in length not equipped with propulsion machinery</LI> <LI>In Canada vessels over 18 feet must carry Canadian Coast Guard approved flares. US Coast Guard flares are unacceptable</LI> <LI>Flares are considered effective 48 months from the date of manufacture</LI></UL><P><b>Sound Producing Devices</b>&nbsp;&nbsp;Horn, whistle, or any device capable of making an efficient sound signal. <P><b>Backfire Flame Control</b>&nbsp;&nbsp;Vessels having a gasoline engine are required to have a device called a Back Fire Flame Arrester, a mechanical arrangement which prevents the engine from back firing and/or possibly exploding.<P>Every gasoline engine installed after April 25, 1940, excluding outboard motors, must be equipped with an acceptable means of backfire flame control. Sailboats with an engine are considered a motorboat. Arresters must be USCG approved.<P><b>Ventilation</b>&nbsp;&nbsp;There should be at least two ducts for the purpose of ventilating every closed compartment that contains a gasoline engine and tank, except those having permanently installed tanks which vent outside the boat and contain no unprotected electrical devices. Also, engine compartments containing a gasoline engine having a cranking motor must contain power operated exhaust blowers which can be controlled from the instrument panel. <P>The boat operator is responsible for keeping the ventilation systems in operating condition, making sure openings are free of obstructions, ducts are not blocked or torn, blowers are operating properly, and worn out components are replaced with equivalent equipment. <P><b>Navigation Lights</b>&nbsp;&nbsp;All sailboats must carry port and starboard sidelights as well as a stern light. A sailboat under sail should not display a masthead light, as this light is shown only by powered machinery. A tricolor masthead light may be used, as may a red over green light at the mast head to denote a sailing vessel, although the two cannot be used simultaneously. When a sailboat is motoring, it is required to exhibit a steaming light. <hr noshade><P><b>Class 2 ( Boats from 26 to 40 feet)</b><P><b>Flotation Devices</b>&nbsp;&nbsp;One type I,II, or III, and Type IV throwable devices are required for each person on board or being towed.<P><b>Fire Extinguishers</b>&nbsp;&nbsp;At least one B-II class approved hand-portable fire extinguisher or at least two B-I class approved hand-portable fire extinguishers are required. If the vessel has a fixed fire extinguishing system, there must be at least one B-I class approved hand-portable fire extinguisher.<P><b>Visual Distress Signals</b>&nbsp;&nbsp;All vessels used on coastal waters, the Great Lakes, territorial seas and those water connected directly to them up to the point where a body of water is less than two miles wide, must be equipped with visual distress signals. The following vessels are not required to carry day signals, but must carry night signals when operating from sunset to sunrise..<UL> <LI>Boats participating in organized events such as races, regattas, or marine parades</LI> <LI>Manually propelled boats</LI></UL><P>Most boats, and all boats operating in open waters, must be equipped with visual distress signals classified by the US Coast Guard as day or night use only, or a combination day/night use. Each device must be in serviceable condition, readily accessible, and certified by the manufacturer as complying with Coast Guard requirements. Distress flares, smoke flares, and meteor rockets have expiration dates of 42 months after the date of manufacture. <P>In Canada vessels of 18 feet must carry Canadian Coast Guard approved flares according to the length of the vessel, and US Coast Guard flares are not acceptable. These flares are considered effective for 48 months after the date of manufacture.<P><b>Sound Producing Devices</b>&nbsp;&nbsp;Horn, whistle, or any device capable of making an efficient sound signal. <P><b>Backfire Flame Control</B>&nbsp;&nbsp;Vessels having a gasoline engine are required to have a device called a Back Fire Flame Arrester, a mechanical arrangement which prevents the engine from back firing and/or possibly exploding. <P>Every gasoline engine installed after April 25, 1940, excluding outboard motors, must be equipped with an acceptable means of backfire flame control. Sailboats with an engine are considered a motorboat. Arresters must be USCG approved<P><B>Ventilation</B>&nbsp;&nbsp;At least two ducts for the purpose of ventilating every closed compartment that contains a gasoline engine and tank, except those having permanently installed tanks which vent outside the boat and contain no unprotected electrical devices. Also, engine compartments containing a gasoline engine having a cranking motor must contain power operated exhaust blowers which can be controlled from the instrument panel.<P>The boat operator is responsible for keeping the ventilation systems in operating condition, making sure openings are free of obstructions, ducts are not blocked or torn, blowers are operating properly and worn out components are replaced with equivalent equipment. <P><b>Navigation Lights</b>&nbsp;&nbsp;All sailboats must carry port and starboard side lights as well as a stern light. A sailboat under sail should not display a masthead light as this light is shown only by powered machinery. A tricolor masthead light may be used, as may a red over green light at the mast head to denote a sailing vessel, although the two cannot be used simultaneously. When a sailboat is motoring, it is required to exhibit a steaming light.<hr noshade><P><b>Class 3 ( Boats from 39.4 to 65.6 feet)</b><P><b>Flotation Devices</B>&nbsp;&nbsp;One Type I,II,III or V PFD are required for each person on the boat or being towed, plus one Type IV throwable device.<P><B>Fire Extinguishers</B>&nbsp;&nbsp;At least three B-I class approved hand-portable fire extinguishers, or at least one B-I class plus one B-II class approved hand-portable fire extinguisher are needed onboard. If the vessel has a fixed fire extinguishing system, there must be at least two B-I class or at least one B-II approved unit.<P><B>Visual Distress Signals</B>&nbsp;&nbsp;All vessels used on coastal waters, the Great Lakes, territorial seas, and those water connected directly to them up to the point where a body of water is less than two miles wide, must be equipped with visual distress signals. The following vessels are not required to carry day signals, but must carry night signals when operating from sunset to sunrise.<UL><LI>Boats participating in organized events such as races, regattas, or marine parades</LI><LI>Manually propelled boats</LI></UL><P>Most boats, and all boats operating in open waters, must be equipped with visual distress signals classified by the US Coast Guard as day or night use only, or a combination day/night use. Each device must be in serviceable condition, readily accessible, and certified by the manufacturer as complying with Coast Guard requirements. Distress flares, smoke flares, and meteor rockets have expiration dates of 42 months after the date of manufacture.<B><P>Sound Producing Devices</B>&nbsp;&nbsp;These boats must carry a whistle and bell. The whistle must be audible for 1/2 nautical mile and the mouth of the bell must be at least 200mm in diameter.<P><B>Backfire Flame Control</B>&nbsp;&nbsp;Vessels having a gasoline engine are required to have a device called a Back Fire Flame Arrester, a mechanical arrangement that prevents the engine from back firing and/or possibly exploding. Every gasoline engine installed after April 25, 1940, excluding outboard motors, must be equipped with an acceptable means of backfire flame control. Sailboats with an engine are considered a motorboat. Arresters must be USCG approved.<B><P>Ventilation</B>&nbsp;&nbsp;At least two ducts for the purpose of ventilating every closed compartment that contains a gasoline engine and tank, except those having permanently installed tanks which vent outside the boat and contain no unprotected electrical devices. Also, engine compartments containing a gasoline engine having a cranking motor must contain power operated exhaust blowers that can be controlled from the instrument panel.<B><P>Navigation Lights</B>&nbsp;&nbsp;All sailboats must carry port and starboard sidelights as well as a stern light. A sailboat under sail should not display a masthead light as this light is shown only by powered machinery. A tricolor masthead light may be used, as may a red over green light at the masthead to denote a sailing vessel, although the two cannot be used simultaneously. When a sailboat is motoring, it is required to exhibit a steaming light.</HTML>


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