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Heaving Lines, Lifebuoys, Flares and more
Safety Equipment Definitions

Other Safety Equipment

1)   Buoyant Heaving Lines

A buoyant heaving line floats.  It is one continuous length, not two or more pieces tied together.  It is the prescribed length, a minimum of 15 meters or a little less than 50 feet.  And it is used only as safety equipment, not as a mooring line, or for any other purpose.  It should also be readily accessible in the boat.

NOTE:  Some lines tend to be stiff and once coiled can be difficult to straighten out.  The better lines are more flexible, and straighten easily when uncoiled.

2)   Lifebuoys

Like lifejackets and PFDs, these have a Transport Canada approval label or stamp.  They must be at lest 61 centimeters (24 inches) in diameter.  SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) lifebuoys are 76.2 centimeters (30 inches) in diameter. 

NOTE:  The smaller, horseshoe-shaped lifebuoys are not approved.

3)   Reboarding Devices

A reboarding device is generally a three=rung ladder, with hooked uprights that fit over the gunwale or transom.  They allow someone to get back into the boat from the water.  Many boats have transom ladders or swim platform ladders which meet the requirements.

4)   Manual Propelling Devices

These include oars and paddles, of course, but also include anything that a person can use to propel a boat, including the rudder on a small open sail boat or a paddle wheel on a paddle boat.

5)   Bailers and Manual Bilge Pumps

To meet requirements, bailers must hold at least 750 ml (1/5 gallon) of water, have an opening of at lest 65 square centimeters (10 square inches) and be made of plastic or metal.

If you have a manual bilge pump, the pump and hose must be long enough to reach from the lowest part of the bilge over the gunwale or transom.

6)   Watertight flashlights

A watertight flashlight is a watertight flashlight… just make sure the batteries are full and the bulb is working.  Keep in mind that a small flashlight will not illuminate as far or as effectively as a large one.  You may need your light to get attention from shore at night, so more powerful is better.

7)   Flares

There are four basic types of flares

Type A: parachute flares – more effective over long distances with a longer signal

Type B: multi-star flares – somewhat shorter distances, more visible

Type C: hand held flares – basic flare, orange light, for closer range

Type D: orange smoke flares – more effective in daylight, close range

Every cruiser requires a certain number of flares based on the length of the boat.  They must be Canadian approved and up to date.  Flares, like fire extinguishers have an effective date and must be replaced (or in the case of fire extinguishers recharged) and kept up to date.  Some boaters keep out of date flares for back up.  Others give them to their Clean Marine Eco-rated Marina for safe disposal.

8)   Sound Signaling Devices

This can be a whistle – a non metallic pealess whistle, such as the Fox 40.  Non-metallic because rust can make a whistle inoperative.  And pea-less because the peas in whistles tend to swell when they are wet and make the whistle useless.  It is a good idea to clip whistles onto lifejackets and PFDs.

A compressed air horn is also effective.  Just check it regularly to make sure it has a charge.

To meet Collision Regulations, boats over 20 meters (65 feet 7 inches) must have a bell as one of two sound signaling devices. 

9)   Radar Reflectors

Radar reflectors help large boats see smaller boats on their radar screens.  The bigger the reflector, the bigger the blip on the radar screen.  So buy the largest reflector that is practical for your boat but also have an eye for quality because there are all kinds and some are more effective and more durable than others. 

They should be placed at least 4 meters (13 feet 1 inch) above the water line, above all superstructures on your boat.

10)   Fire Extinguishers

Fires are divided into three classes – A, materials that burn such as paper, wood, rubber, plastic… B, liquids that burn such as grease and gasoline… C, electric equipment.  Your fire extinguisher should work on all three types.  So choose an ABC extinguisher.  The number in front of the letters designate the size of fire it will put out.  A 10ABC will handle a larger fire than a 5ABC. 


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