Spring Safety Checks
Fire extinguishers expire after 12 years from manufacture, and should have a date of manufacture stamped on them, normally the bottom. Some even have expiration dates. Most marine fire extinguishers are sealed and non serviceable/rechargeable. As you can see, I am in need of a few new extinguishers! Whoops! 2003 was a a while ago.
US Coast guard requires a mounting bracket, and has minimum requirements for amount of extinguishers based on the size of the boat.
B1 extinguisher is about half the size of a B2.
Boat Length - <26' 1 B1 26' to 40' 2 B1 or 1 B2 40' to 65' 3 B1 or 1 B2 +1 B1
Flares expire 42 months after manufacture, and must be replaced after expiration. Check the dates! Each flare should have an expiration date printed directly on it. Keep the old flares as extras - They don't suddenly go bad, and could be useful later. The really old ones can be set off somewhere safe for practice (and some fun).
Check your emergency kit for missing pieces. Flares, mirror, whistle, strobe light/emergency light, etc… I like to include a few extra things like waterproof matches, emergency blankets, E-PIRB/PLB, and AIS Beacon.
First aid kit
Medications in first aid kits do expire, and they generally expire at different times, so keep track of the medications in your first aid kit, and make sure to replace anything that was previously used.
Carbon Monoxide monitor
ABYC Standard A-24 recommends CO detectors on any boat with accommodation spaces and gasoline powered engines or generators. That means almost every boat with a cabin aside from smaller center consoles should be equipped with CO detectors.
Carbon monoxide is just as dangerous on a boat as it is in a home. CO monitors don’t last forever, each has a replacement date printed directly on it. CO monitors are generally good for 3-10 years depending on the brand and model. CO Monitors can be either powered by the boat electrical system or self contained, powered by internal batteries.
Test your smoke detectors! Fire on a boat is no joke. Though not technically required, it is still a good idea to have one in each enclosed cabin. Smoke detectors can be either powered by the boat electrical system or self contained, powered by internal batteries.
Inflatable Life Preservers
Inflatable life preservers are inflated by a CO2 cartridge, which is either activated by being submerged in water, or manually activated with a pull string. These can rust or corrode and leak, making the life preserver useless. There is a gauge that will show green or red when installed in the life preserver, so make sure to check it regularly.
Stay safe out there!