They say ‘worse things happen at sea’ and when it comes to safety this is true. Miles from shore and facing extreme weather, the last thing you should need to worry about is the quality of your marine safety equipment. Ensuring that your equipment is of the best quality and in the best condition is one of the crucial things any sea goer should ensure before setting sail.
Marine safety equipment covers a broad range of products to ensure survival in the face of adversity, when buying time and preventing further injury can mean the difference between life and death. Item’s for marine safety are required by law for places like oil rigs and docks as well as on any seagoing craft – be it leisure or business.
The most obvious and most crucial marine safety equipment item in any seafarers armoury would be the life jacket. Life jackets truly can save a life, enabling assisted floatation no matter how rough the sea is or how strong the current. When it comes to marine safety equipment, no boat or marine installation should be without sufficient quality and quantity life jackets for all crew.
Life jackets come in a variety of styles including standard foam floatation devices to gas activated jackets which self inflate on contact with water. For leisure boating a simple foam life jacket will suffice, but professionals will find jackets for all tasks including marine welding, rig workers and hard wearing naval style life jackets.
Other necessary marine safety equipment includes items such as distress flares, fog horns and fire extinguishers. Emergency floatation devices such as life buoys and throw lines are essential equipment on board any sea going vessel or coastal installation.
Larger vessels which can accommodate such equipment are required to have life rafts installed – with rafts available for 4-12 people and upwards. Cruise liners, tankers or container vessels, oil rigs and naval craft all are required to have life rafts available for all crew and passengers. Life rafts are available as pre-fabricated boats with solid hulls or a variety of self activated craft that will ‘unpack’ on contact with the water. These life boats are usually found on vessels where space is at a premium such as pleasure vessels and naval craft.
Remember that you will need to keep your marine safety equipment serviced regularly to ensure that it is still up to standard and has not degraded or been damaged. This includes all items from life rafts to fire extinguishers and flares.
Quality marine safety equipment is an essential and although the initial cost may seem prohibitive, there is no substitute for having reliable and quality equipment when you need it most. When buying an item such as a life raft for example it is worth knowing that there is an established local service network for the raft you are buying. Too often sailors choose items that seem cheaper at the time – from the far east for example – but in fact only have limited service stations in their country.
Buying cheap marine safety equipment is ultimately a false economy – it is worth remembering that marine safety equipment is there for a reason, to save lives, and that cheap equipment may save you a little here and there, but ultimately at what cost? So ensure that when you are choosing your equipment it is from a reputable and trusted supplier and that all items are certified and tested.