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The Saga guide to protecting your boat

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					The Saga guide to protecting your boat
Useful tips on how to keep yourself and your boat safe and sound

Contents
Safe and sound ...........................................................................................................3 Buying a new boat ......................................................................................................4 Buying a secondhand boat ..........................................................................................5 Maintenance: protecting your investment ....................................................................6 Protect your belongings.............................................................................................13 Security devices .........................................................................................................14 Security marking .......................................................................................................15 Stolen boats and goods.............................................................................................16 Mooring your boat - security considerations ..............................................................17 When your boat is not in use ....................................................................................18 Selling your boat .......................................................................................................19 Items for your safety and protection ..........................................................................20 Useful contacts .........................................................................................................23

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Safe and sound
Boating is a sport of contrasts. You can potter gently along in an ancient dinghy, skim across the surface on a sailboard or rattle every vertebra in your spine as you bounce from wavecrest to wavecrest at the helm of a muscular powerboat. You can find yourself getting as much pleasure out of heavy weather as you do out of sunshine and calm seas. Sailing is all about harnessing powerful natural forces for your own ends. In motor boating, the forces are man-made, but the environment still packs a heavy punch. As a result, both sailors and motor boaters learn to be safety-conscious. Their pastimes are not inherently dangerous, but they don’t forgive irresponsible or negligent behaviour. In this guide you will find a range of topics of interest to all kinds of boat owners. From buying a boat to security marking. From selling your boat to maintaining it in good working order. Looking at the subject of maintenance, for example, the guide explains the importance of regular ‘checks and changes’ and how investing in your boat can pay dividends. It is also important to be aware of security matters. Marine crime is on the increase in every area of the country, and boat owners now have to pay particular attention to ways in which it can be prevented. This guide will help you take some simple measures to protect yourself against marine crime, so you can leave the worries at home - which, after all, is the whole point of an escapist sport like boating.

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Buying a new boat
Since the EU Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) came into force in 1996, anyone who wants to sell a new boat on the European market has had to CE-certify it, confirming that it complies with a number of essential requirements. Mostly these concern the safety and stability of the craft, but significantly the RCD demands that all manufacturers provide a technical file saying how they intend to build and equip each boat. This has had a significant effect on the standard of equipment aboard UK-built craft, because there is a trickle-down requirement for manufacturers seeking CE certification to make sure that the equipment they buy in meets British Standard, International Organisation for Standardisation and European Norms Standards. In most cases, boats aren’t built for stock, but for specific customers. Signing the contract for a new boat is usually the signal for the manufacturer to start building. Because of the figures and volumes involved, it’s more like buying a house than buying a car: the builder will require at least a deposit, probably stage payments as well. This raises the remote possibility that, should the builder go bankrupt while the contract is under way, his creditors may seize the boat that you have already partly paid for. To ensure that your interests are protected, the contract should be based on the RYA (Royal Yachting Association) Agreement for the Construction of a New Boat. Under this agreement, ownership of the unfinished boat is gradually transferred to you as work progresses, so even if the builder fails you will still be able to recoup your investment.

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Buying a secondhand boat
New boats can be expensive, and you might find it difficult to justify the investment on something that will only be used a few times a year. The reality is that the boat will depreciate in real terms and the craft will lose around 15% of its value the moment you take delivery thanks to the dealer’s margin, delivery costs and so on. Boats have never appreciated in value, but rising new craft prices have always drawn secondhand values up in their train. The result is that a five-year-old boat bought for 50,000 in 2003 is probably still worth 50,000 as a 10-year-old in 2008. In terms of straight realisable value therefore, buying secondhand is a much better bet, especially if you buy privately from the previous owner and don’t have to pay, directly or indirectly, the broker’s fee usually charged on brokerage sales. For every new boat that comes on to the market each year, another three or four are sold secondhand. The popularity of used boats is not just a question of price, although that in itself is a significant factor. Almost as important is the fact that a boat with a season or two’s use is a more mature product: the inevitable teething troubles have been sorted out, the owner has fitted the extra equipment that needs to be fitted for cruising, and so on. There will almost certainly be more tweaks and improvements that can be made to tailor the boat more closely to your needs. You can achieve quite a lot of repair and customisation for a fraction of the difference between a new and a used craft. Do be careful with your expenditure. Wooden boat ownership is a crusade, and you’re unlikely to see a return: you might with luck recoup the cost of the materials, but you’ll have to put in the work free. Similarly, very old glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) boats are not going to repay too much renovation. Seventies standards of design and construction were generally a far cry from those of today, and while you can transform the accommodation with new upholstery and interior fittings you will never be able to make the boat look anything other than a well kept veteran. 5

Maintenance: protecting your investment
As a nation, we have never had so many garages - but we are using them less and less to keep cars in. 21st century paints, coatings and plastics will protect modern cars from the ravages of the weather and keep them looking good for most of their relatively short lives. The idea of keeping a modern car in a garage so that it does not rust is seen as quaintly old-fashioned. Boats could hardly be more different. They are kept in a damp, usually salty environment, which does nothing for the intricate electronics and plush fabrics inside - or for the moving parts left open to the elements outside. They can remain unused, unvisited and untouched for weeks or months at a time, yet they are expected to repay the substantial initial outlay with a long operational life. Glassfibre may not be indestructible, but it is safe to say that a modern fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP) hull and deck will usually outlast most of the other components installed within them. Second-hand values do not have to follow the same depreciation curve as used cars. A prospective boat buyer is likely to be more interested in its condition than in the number of years since it came out of the factory. So the best way to protect your investment in a boat is to keep it well-oiled, functional and gleaming.

Hull and superstructure

• Modern composites are considerably more durable than their predecessors. Isophthalic resins offer greater water resistance and tensile strength, while techniques such as performance-matching give a better bond between the gelcoat and the skin coat beneath. However, even the strongest carbon fibre and epoxy laminate can still be chipped, dented, scratched or cracked. 6

• Repairing damage to FRP laminates is important for structural as well as cosmetic reasons. Thanks to advances in composites technology, there is now less likelihood of a boat developing osmosis - but any breach of the gelcoat must be viewed as potentially letting water into the substrate, which could ultimately lead to delamination of the hull or deck. This is particularly important with sandwich construction on older boats where, to keep the laminate light but strong, the builders included a reinforcing layer of plywood. If water is allowed to soak into the ply, it can swell up and eventually split the laminate. • Crazing of the laminate can be found on almost any older boat, particularly around highly-stressed areas of the deck such as stanchion bases. If the crazing is below the surface, the gelcoat integrity is probably unaffected - but keep an eye on the problem and, if it starts to spread, think about repair. • Glassfibre is not difficult to repair using proprietary kits, but repairing more advanced FRP laminates will need careful matching of materials. • If you find signs of osmotic blistering on the hull, get professional advice so that you know how far the problem extends. Unless it is very local, you will probably need to call in the experts to deal with it. • Wooden and steel boats should be protected from water by an impermeable skin of paint or plastic - so if the skin is chipped, rubbed or flaked off it ought to be repaired as soon as possible.

On deck

• Deck fittings need to be checked regularly, because the safety of both boat and crew often depends on them. The first items on the checklist should be load-bearing fittings such as winches and standing rigging. A rigging screw that fails can bring down the whole rig. Check their condition, operation and the security of the deck fixing.

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• Some items do not carry much of a load under normal circumstances, but need to be able to do so in an emergency: stanchions, guardwires and the like. If the motion of the boat throws you, or if you trip and fall against a guardwire, you want to know it will be able to prevent you falling over the side. So inspect it carefully for broken strands and give it a good strong tug to ensure it is anchored firmly. Stanchions will often be a little loose in their sockets, but the base itself should be firmly fixed to the deck. • Hatches may be your only way out of the cabin in an emergency, so it is very important that they can be opened easily. Check that they do not leak when closed. Also check fixed and opening windows, lights and ports. • Almost any through-bolted deck fitting can let water into the cabin, because the bolthole provides a convenient channel through the laminate for rain or sea water. Check that the fixing is secure and that sealant around the base of the fitting is not cracked or missing.

Sails

• Anyone who has ever stood on a foredeck with a jib flapping round them knows the huge forces that can be generated by a sail. The rigging that harnesses those forces to drive the hull forward is only as strong as its weakest point. Sheets can chafe and part, a block can seize and fail, the sail itself can split at the seams. If anything’s going to happen, it will happen at the most inconvenient moment when the loads are highest. • Blocks, sheaves and furling gear should be inspected regularly. If there is any sign of sticking, free and grease them. Anything that squeaks under load needs attention. • Look after your sails. A sail is actually a shallow bag rather than a flat panel, carefully designed and cut to hold and distribute loads efficiently. It should be folded and bagged sensitively, so that the fabric retains its shape and is not bent in a direction that it is not designed for. Do not just stuff the foresail into the sailbag, but roll it so that the luff wire is not kinked or twisted. 8

• If possible, hose sails down after use to remove the salt, then let them dry before bagging them. If you have to leave the mainsail on, fold it over the boom and put the cover on. • Finally, check the condition of all cordage regularly, especially the sheets.

Engines

• The RNLI are regularly called out to help motor boats that have simply run out of fuel. A motor boat has no sail to drive it along if the engine stops and, in most cases, it is impractical to paddle or row. Common sense dictates that you do not go anywhere, especially offshore, without carrying out a few simple checks to minimise the risk of a breakdown. • Do you have enough fuel for the trip - plus a reserve in case of delay? Is the engine cooling system working? Are fuel and water filters clear? Are the engine and gearbox oil levels correct? • Increasingly nowadays in our crowded waters, boats run the risk of getting a rope caught around the propeller. With outboard engines and most outdrives, this is not too much of a problem: you can lift the prop out of the water to clear it. With shaft drive transmission, however, it is less simple because the propeller is under the hull and you may have to call in a diver. Canal boats, which tend to collect weed around the prop, frequently have the ideal solution built in - a weed hatch accessible from the inside of the boat.

Sterngear and underwater fittings

• The parts of the boat that you rarely get to see include some of its most vulnerable points and, because they are below the waterline, any failure can have catastrophic effects. You might not be able to see the outside of a skin fitting, but you can usually check its integrity from the inside. Any sign of a leak, either from the skin fitting itself or from the seacock, should be dealt with immediately. 9

• For shaft-engined boats, the other significant point of vulnerability is the sterngear. The sterntube is moulded into the hull, with the propeller shaft rotating inside it, and the gap between the two is sealed with either a cutless bearing or a sterngland packed with grease. If the latter, the packing needs to be topped up from time to time, whenever there is any sign of seepage. • All metal underwater fittings are at risk from galvanic corrosion. Ignore this at your peril! There are essentially two points to watch out for: one, that all fittings are connected to an internal bonding system; and two, that enough sacrificial anodes are fitted. Check the state of the bonding wires - that the anodes are zinc for salt water and magnesium for fresh water. As the boat moves into the higher concentration they should be swapped accordingly (i.e. when salt water exceeds 50%, change to zinc).

Internal maintenance
• A boat is, in effect, like a bucket floating in the water. Propane and butane are both heavier than air - so if you have a gas leak on board, the gas will gradually fill the bucket (just waiting for a spark or a light to set it off). Similarly, a leak in a fuel line will drain fuel into the bilges, where it will stay because it has nowhere else to go. This is why gas and fuel safety must be taken seriously.

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• Bilges should be inspected as a matter of course, for either water or fuel. If there is a fuel leak, use a manual bilge pump (not the electric one) to pump out the bilge. A gas sensor is a useful investment and will warn of gas build-up before it becomes critical. • The state of a boat’s interior has a significant effect on its secondhand value. Though rarely subject to a great deal of wear and tear, it can age quickly if neglected. Keep it clean, dry and mildew-free. Give wooden surfaces an occasional buff with ordinary household furniture polish. Periodically remove any soft furnishings that can be removed, such as curtains, to get them cleaned.

Laying up and fitting out
Firstly, check your insurance policy to see if it covers 12 months in commission or if you are required to lay up your boat ashore during the winter months. Most importantly, ensure you maintain full insurance cover when laid up for risks such as storm damage, theft, vandalism and fire, which are more likely to occur during the darker nights and exposed weather conditions. If there is a warranty or endorsement on your policy that requires your boat to be ashore by a certain date, remember it is important that you adhere to this. Plan ahead and book a reputable crane company well in advance. If there are any delays due to weather conditions, tides or crane problems you must contact your insurer immediately for agreement. If you are moving your boat and it requires transportation by road, check that you are covered by your insurance policy whilst it is in transit. Not all insurers will cover this, but Saga Boat Insurance automatically provides cover whilst in transit (within the UK) subject to policy security conditions. If you are using your own trailer, ensure it is thoroughly checked and serviced if necessary before setting off – it can be a policy condition that the trailer is kept in a roadworthy condition. It is also a condition that a wheel clamp is fitted if left unattended at any time, even if you are just popping into the motorway services for a short break. If you choose to transport your boat using a haulier, then even though the haulage company may have professional indemnity for the boat, Saga Boat Insurance will still cover you because haulage companies do not always cover for the full amount of the boat’s value. 11

Winter preparation for your boat is important once ashore, and a few hours spent shutting down in the autumn can provide valuable protection and save valuable time at the start of next season. If you have an engine, get it professionally winterised or carefully follow the instructions for decommissioning it given in the manufacturer’s handbook. In particular, you will need to flush out the raw-water cooling system, drain down and replace the oil, lubricate any external moving parts and give electrical connections a spray of WD40. Batteries will benefit from an occasional recharge, if practical. Elsewhere on the boat, you should be carrying out the usual rigging and equipment checks mentioned earlier. Replace anything that needs replacing now – or order it in so you don’t have to wait for it to arrive at the start of next season. Follow the checklist below and it will help guard against frost, damp, corrosion and theft: • Choose a boat yard with good security, lights, patrols and CCTV • Remove all valuable and personal items • Store the outboard motor, tender, life-raft, oars and lifebuoys in a secure place • Leave all doors (fridge and cooker), lockers and compartments open for ventilation • Move all soft furnishings, mattresses and cushions to a dry store • Ensure the fuel tank is full throughout the winter to avoid damage caused by damp • Change the oil and filter to minimise corrosion from sulphuric acid • Lubricate hinges and locks and dress external connectors with petroleum jelly • Drain all pipes, pumps, water tanks to prevent freezing • Replace fresh cooling water with antifreeze 12

• Have engines winterised by a professional, or carefully by yourself • Wash and dry mainsails, headsails, and sprayhoods and store them in a dry place • Disconnect batteries, and keep them fully charged • If leaving on covers make sure they are close fitting, do not tie to chocks as gales can pull them out • Close curtains so that no-one can look in • Take your personal and vessel papers home with you • Finally, visit your boat on a regular basis, as early detection of any problems can prevent long term damage.

Protect your belongings
Marine crime generally ranges from theft of boats and equipment to that curse of the modern age, vandalism. Thankfully there isn’t much in the way of piracy in the UK, but then there doesn’t really need to be. At any one time the would-be thief has a choice of several hundred thousand unattended craft to choose from. In rivers and estuaries, harbours and marinas, the boats lie unoccupied for weeks or months on end, frequently with expensive and readily saleable equipment on board. Very few have more than a padlock or simple Yale-type lock to keep out the intruder, even though an investment of just a few pounds will buy a much better lock that will deter the majority of opportunist thieves.

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Security devices
Boat alarms. There are as many different varieties of burglar alarm for boats as there are for houses. The most basic consists of a sensor fitted to entry hatches or doors, and connected to an audible onboard alarm; more sophisticated ones will also send a signal to a remote monitoring station, such as the marina office. There’s even a new system that allows you to log on to a website to see your boat on CCTV. Hatch and door locks. Many boats have hatchways closed by drop-in boards and a sliding hatch, the whole contraption kept in place by a hasp and staple secured with a padlock. Almost any such boat can be made more secure simply by beefing up the dimensions of the various components, or by replacing them with a rim lock fitted on the inside. Sliding doors on more modern craft with basic Yale-type cylinder locks can be made less vulnerable with a plunger lock through the track. Window locks. Even boats with adequate door locks may have sliding windows fastened in place only by small clips that could be forced in minutes by any competent thief. These should be upgraded. Equipment alarms. The most vulnerable equipment on board is the gear that lives outside the accommodation because it’s too bulky, heavy or dirty to stow below. It’s now possible to buy an alarm that provides “perimeter protection”, with a closed-loop electric cable that you weave round anything a thief might target such as an outboard, a liferaft, a tender, or even a lifebuoy. Any attempt to remove the cable by cutting it or bridging it sets off the alarm. Outboard motor lock. Smaller outboards aren’t through-bolted on to the transom of the boat: they’re fixed and held in position simply with a pair of screw clamps, making them easy for the owner to remove. Unfortunately, this also makes it easier for the thief. An outboard motor lock is a stainless steel tube with a slot along most of its length and a barrel lock at the open end. The tube is slid in place over the clamps and the barrel lock secured, preventing the clamps from being turned or released. Locks are available to suit all types and sizes of outboard including the bolt-on kind.

Available from authorised Yamaha marine dealers. Further information and Yamaha dealer locator can be found on www.yamaha-motor.co.uk

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Wheel clamp. This is still the most effective way of preventing a trailer from being moved: few thieves will have the gear needed to cut through the padlock and release the clamp.

Security marking
No matter what you do to protect your boat, if a really determined, competent thief wants to get in, he will. And if he wants to steal your boat, he will. So where do you stand then? You need to give the police or other investigators something to work on. Draw up a boat file containing all the information you can assemble, and keep it at home - it’s not going to be much use if it gets stolen along with the boat. Take a set of photographs of the boat from all angles, inside and out. Note down any identifying marks on the boat and serial numbers of any removable equipment. Modern craft have a HIN (Hull Identification Number) fixed in an appropriate place, but you may have to hunt for it. Lloyd’s-registered yachts and motor cruisers will have the registration number and tonnage shown on a metal plate (it used to have to be carved into a deck beam, but that disappeared with the advent of glassfibre). SSR (Small Ship Register) numbers can usually be removed easily and replaced with another set, so they are less reliable as a means of identification, but note them down anyway. The boat file should also include a list of all the equipment on board that can be removed, together with every serial number you can find. A more proactive method of marking your gear is to use Datatag. This consists of a system of transponders and microdots coded with a unique ID number. The transponders are hidden on the boat, the microdots fixed to any equipment that needs securing, and you register with Datatag, who then enter your contact details against the ID number on their database. Police and harbourmasters can then check the true identity of any protected boat by using a special scanner that picks up the ID from the transponders and accessing the Datatag 24-hour database. There’s a once-only cost, with no annual fees. HPI is running a similar system called Boatmark in conjunction with the British Marine Federation and the Government’s Chipping of Goods Initiative. The idea here is that boatbuilders fit the chips, a form of electronic tag, and the keeper of the boat can then register it free on the HPI database if he wishes. Registration is free, but there is a small charge for recording subsequent changes of ownership on the register. Owners of existing unchipped craft can buy a Boatmark kit from chandlers or HPI itself containing a number of tags that can be fitted around the boat. Alternatively, mark everything with your home postcode so it can be identified as yours if found.

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Stolen boats and goods
The high price of marine equipment ensures that there is a thriving market in secondhand gear: if you peruse the small ads or visit a boat jumble, you can kit your boat out fully and cheaply with everything it needs, from paddles to GPS receivers, liferafts to outboard motors.

Crimestoppers
If you have any information about criminal activity, particularly concerning stolen boats or items stolen from boats and then sold to the public, you can contact

But a word of warning. The same 0800 555 111 marketplaces also attract the less You do not have to give your name. scrupulous trader, so it is an unfortunate fact of life that some of the gear you are offered will have been obtained dishonestly. Undercover policemen do the rounds of boat jumbles, masquerading as yachtsmen, and all too frequently find stolen goods on the benches there. You therefore need to be careful what you buy - not only because buying stolen gear simply serves to encourage the trade, but because you might be throwing your money away. This is because under the law no one can pass on a better title to goods than he possesses - in other words, if he doesn’t legally own it, you haven’t bought it. Even if you pay hundreds of pounds for an outboard which you buy in good faith, if it turns out to have been stolen you will lose both the engine and your money.

Crimestoppers on

Stolenboats.org.uk
The website stolenboats.org.uk was launched in 2005 and is an online database of stolen boats and marine equipment. All the information on the website is provided by the marine insurance industry and the Police and is cross-checked with the Police National Computer. Information about boat thefts is circulated to the Police and the general public by means of a theft alert mailing list. Before purchasing a boat or any marine equipment it is always worth checking the site to ensure it is not a stolen item. 16

Mooring your boat – security considerations
Where you moor your boat is the single biggest factor in determining its vulnerability to marine crime. Thieves like to minimise the risk and the hard work, so their favourite hunting ground tends to be small, open marinas or bankside moorings. If someone comes to investigate, they stand a much better chance of escaping than they would when rifling a boat moored in the middle of an estuary. The larger the marina, the more staff it is likely to employ, and the greater the security measures in force. These may range from keycoded gates at the head of each pontoon to CCTV or even alarm monitoring services. Nevertheless, on the principle that a wellguarded castle means a well-stocked treasurehouse, thieves still target such marinas and it is a good idea to ensure that your boat has its own security measures in place. In many of the popular sailing and motor boating areas of the country, such as Hampshire, boat owners have set up Boatwatch organisations along similar lines to the community-based Neighbourhood Watch. These are usually set up in co-operation with the local police force, so to find out if there is one operating in your area get in touch with your local Crime Prevention Officer or Marine Police Unit.

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When your boat is not in use
Remember that security isn’t just about protecting your boat from criminal actions. Floods and high winds can both carry it away from its moorings, and boats have been known to sink or catch fire without anyone going anywhere near them. Make sure the boat is firmly secured before you leave it. If you have a pontoon mooring, put out springs if possible. With a riverbank mooring, don’t just drop a bight or an eye over a piling or a post: if the river floods, the rising hull will simply lift the warp up and off the post and the boat will float free. The security of a swinging mooring depends very largely on the ground tackle, and if that doesn’t belong to you there’s not much you can do to improve it. However, you can make sure your boat stays attached: put out two lines from the boat to the buoy, and make sure they are in good condition and protected where they may be prone to chafing. Close all valves on through-hull fittings. Turn off the gas at the cylinder and the electricity at the master switch. (If you have automatic bilge pumps you may want to give them a separate power source, or route their power supply to bypass the master switch.) If you need mains electric power for a dehumidifier, bring it directly on board from the shoreline to the dehumidifier: don’t route it through the boat’s own AC power circuit.

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Selling your boat
When it comes to selling your boat, don’t forget the equipment. Generally it will be easier to sell the boat as a package with all its gear but if you are selling in order to buy another boat, you will probably want to take some contents and equipment with you - portable gear such as lifesaving equipment, for instance. Removing anything plumbed or wired in is a different matter, and you need to make it clear to the prospective purchaser that this is what you intend to do. In fact, in almost all cases it is a good idea to itemise the equipment that will be remaining on board and whether or not you want to charge extra for it.

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Items for your safety and protection
As well as protecting your boat you should consider installing the right safety equipment to protect yourself. All the following equipment can be bought from any specialist supplier of chandlery equipment. Smoke alarms. These are a must and should be loud enough to be heard over the sound of the engines at full throttle. At that level, they should also be audible to other people in the marina if a fire breaks out in your absence. Fire Extinguishers. Every boat should ideally carry a minimum of one small fire extinguisher located at the exit to each cabin, in addition to a fire blanket if cooking facilities are provided. If the vessel has an enclosed engine space it is recommended that a fixed automatic fire extinguisher is also installed. Both the RNLI SeaCheck scheme and the RYA boating safety guidelines also recommend carrying one larger general purpose fire extinguisher mounted in the main cabin or saloon area, and the fitting of an LPG gas alarm and a carbon monoxide alarm if cookers or other flame burning devices such as heaters are installed. Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB). This is a small radio transmitter that sends out a coded signal on a special frequency used internationally for distress purposes. The signals are picked up by a network of satellites that can locate the approximate position of the EPIRB and then relay this information down to a rescue co-ordination centre. Every EPIRB that operates on this 406 Mhz satellite frequency must be registered with your national coast guard authority and therefore as soon as they receive a distress signal they will be able to identify who the vessel is, its approximate locaton, and who its shore based contacts are. Distress Flares. These are an essential part of any safety equipment inventory and are still the most instantly recognizable signal that someone is in distress. Looking out from cliff tops and beaches, countless passers-by have been the first to raise the alarm upon sighting that little red star, or billowing orange cloud of smoke. 20

Buoyancy aids and life-jackets. Personal floatation devices come in two main forms – buoyancy aids and life-jackets. A buoyancy aid is designed to keep someone afloat. It allows the wearer full movement whilst an active sporting activity is carried out. However, if unconscious, the wearer’s head could be face down in the water. A life-jacket has a buoyancy distribution sufficient to turn the user to a position where their mouth is clear of the water, even when they are unconscious. Where it was once rare to see people wearing life-jackets afloat, it is now an accepted norm. Always wear a life-jacket when abandoning ship. Specialist life-jackets are available for infants and children. Remember that inflatable life-jackets and buoyancy aids require regular checks and servicing.

What should I wear?
• a buoyancy aid in a sailing dinghy, personal watercraft, windsurfer, canoe or waterskiing or if providing safety cover for such an activity. • a life-jacket in an open boat such as small power boat or when going ashore in a yacht tender. • a life-jacket at all times on a yacht or motor cruiser if you are a non-swimmer and when there is any possibility of entering the water. Also when the skipper deems it necessary, or whenever you want to wear one. First aid kit. A first aid kit is the most frequently used item of safety equipment found on a boat. Whether it’s patching up cuts and scrapes with plasters or strapping up twists and sprains, the contents of most first aid kits rarely stays intact for more than a season. On charter boats and commercial vessels it is always a good idea to have a regular everyday first aid kit for these minor bumps and grazes as well as the sealed SOLAS Cat-C approved first aid kit required by the MCA. Saga Boat Insurance customers can receive a free Windward grab bag, worth £19.95, with every order of safety equipment* over £100 at Force 4 Chandlery. This bag is specifically designed to store all the critical safety and survival gear required in an emergency. Made from waterproof material, it has interior pockets for flares and documentation, plus an external compartment for an EPIRB. To order a Force 4 Chandlery catalogue, which details all the safety equipment they have available, call 0845 1300 710. The above offer is only applicable to orders made over the phone when quoting reference SAGA0608.
*Offer excludes all electronic equipment.

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Useful contacts
The British Marine Federation operates a Boating Advice Centre at its London and Southampton boat shows, and has an associated website at www.britishmarine.co.uk. As well as answering general queries about how and where to go boating, events, holidays and so on, the service provides more specific information about manufacturers and suppliers of marine equipment and services. Saga Boat Insurance Tel: 0800 015 3360 saga.co.uk/boat UK Small Ships Register (including pleasure craft) Tel: 02920 448 800 www.ukshipregister.co.uk Boatmark is run by HPI in Salisbury Tel: 01722 413346 www.checkitover.co.uk Datatag Tel: 01932 358100 www.datatag.co.uk Stolen boats and equipment www.stolenboats.org.uk Maritime and Coastguard Agency www.mcga.gov.uk Tides www.easytide.ukho.gov.uk RNLI sea safety www.rnli.org.uk Marine Accident Investigation Branch www.maib.gov.uk Yamaha www.yamaha-motor.co.uk Force 4 Chandlery Mail order hotline: 0845 1300 710

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Whatever your boat...
Saga Boat Insurance offers protection for most types of craft including yachts, motorboats, speedboats, dinghies, sailboards, surfboards, sportscruisers and narrowboats. Our cover can extend from inland waterways, to coastal waters and beyond.

Saga Boat Insurance provides...
• Up to 3 million third party liability cover • Up to 100,000 of marine legal expenses cover • Up to 10,000 of personal accident cover for you and your passengers • Up to 20% No Claim Discount, which you can protect for a small charge • Protection for personal effects and hand held navigation equipment • A choice of two cover levels – All Risks and Third Party Only • Claims line open 365 days a year. Terms and conditions apply.

For further details, please call

0800 015 3360
quoting reference FL5802 Lines are open 9am-5.30pm weekdays and 9am-1pm Saturday. For more information or to apply online, visit saga.co.uk/boat

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Description: The Saga guide to protecting your boat