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 Windsong Dockbox: Windsong Dockbox - January 2013

Windsong DockboxBy Capt. Bruce & Capt. Wendy Longman

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! With the passing of another year comes….you guessed it…Resolutions! Have you made a resolution to get out and do more boating this year? Promise to take a little more time for yourself, family and friends on the sandbar?

We’re so fortunate to live in a place with year round boating. Do you have a “Honey Do” list for your boat? If not, now is the time to take stock in your boat inventory to ensure all is ship shape. Let’s start with pulling off the engine covers and spray the entire engine with anti-corrosion spray.

Check to make sure you have visual distress signals that meet both day and night use. To see specifically what’s required for your length and type of vessel, visit: http://myfwc.com/boating/safety-education/boat-safety-equipment. Check the date code to see they haven’t expired. If they have expired, separate them from unexpired flares and keep them as back ups for an emergency. You can also put them in the trunk of your car in case of a road side emergency as well. Then of course, there’s July 4th!

Please dispose of expired flares properly. Coast Guard Auxiliary will generally take them for training exercises. You can also call West Marine or the Fire Department. Flares that have been ignited and fully extinguished may be thrown in household trash.

Speaking of extinguished have you checked the gauges on your fire extinguisher lately? Don’t forget to turn them upside down and shake it up to loosen up the powder.

How’s that horn? It’s always a good idea to have a back up because horns (like fuel gauges) have a notoriously short life span. Something as simple as a whistle will legally suffice. Air horns are a great back up, however, only if it’s full!! There’s nothing worse than needing a sounding device and it is out of juice.

How are your life jackets? If there are tears, ripped seams, wear spots or mildew it’s time to invest in some new ones. By law, if a life jacket or throwable has a rip or tear, it is rendered useless by the USCG. You would (at the very least) get a warning if not a fine. This is one area you never want to skimp on!

Is there a doctor on the boat? First – Aid kits also have expiration dates on certain contents so keep an eye on them. Is yours refilled and fully stocked after it was used last summer? You don’t need the kitchen sink in your kit, but a well equipped kit means the difference between a great day on the water or coming in early to finish the land “Honey Do” list.

This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. There’s bilges, spare fuses and bulbs, spare docklines, checking the anchor rode, stanchions, hardware and the list goes on and on and on and on.

As always, if you have questions or would like to see a topic covered, please email Bruce@WindsongCharters.com. Wishing you and yours a wonderful and prosperous New Year with no break downs.

Happy Boating!

Note: Bruce & Wendy Longman are USCG Licensed Captains who live in Gulf Harbors and own Windsong Charters. Visit their site at www.WindSongCharters.com

Posted On Friday, January 4, 2013

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