For many in the northern hemisphere winter is the off-season, which means it's a great time inspect safety gear. Lifejackets and throwable rescue aids like the Lifesling which incorporate materials that degrade over time deserve particularly close attention. Even new safety equipment deserves close inspection. Probably the most startling safety equipment failure we've experienced was that of a newly bought child's safety harness with a polypropylene tether that immediately broke under very little load.
As the winter chill settles in over the northern states, the boat winterizing process is in full swing. If you are about to winterize your boat for storage, or have already winterized and worry about having the right antifreeze solution, there are a couple surefire ways to find out. Having the right antifreeze solution matters two reasons: first, you don't want your boat's plumbing or engine cooling system to freeze or corrode; second, you don't want your potable water system to turn into a biological breeding ground this coming spring.
Last year, we ran a review of a Union 36, and the opening photo of the boat featured a unique folding ladder that I hadnt seen before. The ladder, instead of hanging vertically, folded out at a comfortable angle in a way that seemed-at least in the photo-pretty practical for routine boarding. One problem: the maker-the American Ladder Corp., based in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., appears to be out of business.
The second vessel’s AIS broadcast showed the length at 200 feet, but the overall length of the vessel and its 40-barge tow was 1,600 feet. Without the information regarding the total length of the other vessel and its tow, the operators did not have a full understanding of the pending passing situation. As the vessels rounded the bend and completed their turns, they collided, causing the down bound towing vessel to capsize and sink with several fatalities.
The truth is, many of the practices followed by some of the most widely roaming sailors would be heresy to publish widely, and there is a good reason for this. Some of these practices are inherently risky, and these are good people who don’t want to risk someone misunderstanding their advice, or applying it to situations where it isn’t valid.
If you're going to sail you'll be doing some stitching-no two ways about it. That doesn't mean you have to go overboard with sail repair tools. Don't jump into the $100 do-everything kit. Start with a modest kit, adding tools and materials only as your skills grow and projects require them. Chances are, you already have most of what you need in your other supply lockers or tool boxes.