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Essential Safety Checks

As thoughts pass to the 2021 Cruising Season now is the time to check those essential items of safety equipment. Many people overlook expiry dates on pyrotechnics or forget to check batteries in torches. As delivery skippers we see all manner of safety equipment in a variety of states from brand new to simply missing.


1) Lifejacket

It is easy to think of a lifejacket as another item of clothing however if the worst should happen this key piece of safety equipment may be a lifesaver. To ensure it is in the best possible condition below are some generic checks. Always refer to manufacturer guidance.

a. Cylinder – has the cylinder corroded, is it in date and the right size for the jackets bladder?

b. On auto inflate is the system still in date?

c. Bladder – are all the seams in a good condition, can it remain inflated for at least 24 hours. One way to check is using a small pump to inflate the bladder (try to avoid inflation through breathing into the inflation tube as this introduces moisture which can lead to degradation)

d. Straps - are the crotch straps present, are the waist straps all in good condition. i.e no frays or splits.

e. Do the lights still work / batteries need replacing?

f. Retro reflective strips are they still present?

2) Pyrotechnics (Flares)

As we face reductions in the amount of places willing to accept out of date flares many owners are simply not replacing them once they are past their use by date. Always check that the flares are in date and stored in a safe and dry container . Never forget these devices contain explosive materials and need to be handled with care.

3) VHF

Has your mast been down for maintenance? Ensure your radio works as it should with a radio check to the National Coastwatch Institute.

4) Liferaft

Is your liferaft still within its service date? There is little point in having a liferaft on board if it is unlikely to inflate or if all its emergency supplies are out of date.

5) Torches

Does the torch work, do the batteries need replacing or charging? A torch can be an essential item, particularly when navigating into an unknown area at night, finding the right pontoon or simply locating that item you dropped into the bottom of a locker. In an emergency situation a torch can be used to signal for assistance.

6) Grab Bag Check

Does your grab bag contain all the items you may require, have your health circumstances changed if so do you have spare medication in the bag? Does the bag contain enough water, a handheld vhf – (Does it work), Emergency spares?

7) Safety Lines & Jackstays

Are all safety tethers still safe and usable? Are there any frays or damage to the stitching? Where possible remove all jackstays and rinse to remove salt deposits which could deteriorate the fabric.

8) Charts

Although an essential navigational tool, charts are often overlooked in relation to the safe operation of a yacht. Winter is the ideal time to review all charts on the vessel and look up if there have been any amendments or corrections for your charts. Corrections can be found in either Notices to Mariners or Imray Chart Corrections.. For Electronic charts have you downloaded the latest update?

9) Anchor, Chain & Warp

If your vessel is on the hard, now is the time to clean off your anchor. Check that the warp and chain are firmly attached. While the chain is flaked out check that all markings for depths are still visible. You may consider to redo these dependent on their visibility.

10) Bilge Pumps

Are your bilge pumps in a serviceable condition, do the strum boxes need changing, are the auto sensors working as they should?


Every Wright Marine Yacht Delivery starts with a 190+ point check of all the vessels systems. Our dedicated team of highly qualified and experienced skippers know what to look out for and how to remedy any issues. Speak to us today about your yacht delivery needs.

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