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It is amazing how many things we carry on board in the hope that we will never have to use any of them.
The following are some of the major safety equipment we carry and not a comprehensive list.

[Equipment] [Features]

Items required, if it is necessary to abandon ship, are contained in a duffle bag with built-in flotation.  (It is not watertight.)  This is placed in the quarter berth near the companionway, ready to grab along with the EPIRB and Iridium Phone. 
Below are the primary items:
Extra Binoculars Screwdriver Handheld compass
Energy Bars (replaced yearly) Signaling mirror Plastic sextant
Fishing line, hooks, fillet knife Space blanket (2) Handheld VHF Radio
First Aid Afloat book Tissues, Toilet Paper Collapsible plastic container
Hand held flares Wash cloth Disposable towels
Matches Small "chamois" towels Sea Survival book 'Dougal Robertson'
First Aid items Waterproof VHF bag Flashlight & rechargeable batteries
Pen, pencil, paper Sunblock 45 SPF Solar recharging unit
Sheath knife Sunglasses Sponge
Tupperware container Lightsticks Cash (US$)
  • Drogue
    Gale Rider
  • Sea Anchor
    Para Anchor
We started from the US with a Gale Rider and its drogue line.  Storm tactics continue to evolve and we have since purchased an Australian ParaAnchor and its associated equipment. We have not deployed either in a storm yet and the circumstance will determine which one we use, although the sea anchor is our first choice at the moment.
 The choices have always seemed like a compromise:
  • Coated wire - safe because it does not stretch, but it rolls if you step on it, making it dangerous to walk on a pitching deck.
  • Webbing - nice to walk on, but stretches so a person could easily go overboard even though still attached to boat

Solution: We run coated wire from the cockpit forward to the front of the coachroof (this part is taut against the cabin and cannot roll under foot) where it changes to webbing for a 3' run across the foredeck - very little stretch and safe to walk on deck.  We always remove our jacklines when in port for any length or time to minimize deterioration due to exposure to the sun.

One Litton 406 MHz EPRIB stored in cabinet just inside companionway.  A mini-EPIRB (126 MHz unit) is stowed in our liferaft.
Six fire extinguishers on board
  • Halon extinguisher in engine compartment
  • Dry powder extinguishers in
    • Galley
    • Forepeak,
    • Under companionway step,
    • Cockpit locker and
    • Safety locker in main saloon
We have enough flares to host next year's July 4th celebrations, although many of them are past their expiration dates.  We keep current flares in our ditch bag and the rest in a Safety Locker in the salon.  We keep a 12 gauge flare pistol at the ready in a cabinet by the Companionway steps for quick response. We have:
Type Salon Ditch Bag
In-date red hand flares 4 4
In-date Pains-Wessex parachute flares 4 2
In-date white hand flares 3 0
Expired 25 mm pistol-fired red flares (1) 6 0
Expired 25 mm pistol-fired parachute flares (1) 12 0
Expired 12 gauge pistol-fired red flares (1) 6 (2) 0
Expired red hand flares 5 0
Expired red parachute flares 5 0
Expired white hand flares 2 0

Note 1: We have found it impossible to buy pistol-fired flares outside of US.
Note 2: This pistol is kept by the companionway steps.

  • Iridium Satellite Phone
We purchased a refurbished Motorola Iridium Phone both for safety, updating our website while at sea and receiving emails
  • Life Jackets
 (2) Adult size Type I Offshore lifejackets,
 (2) Adult size Type II Coast Guard approved coastal lifejackets
We bought a 6-person Switlik believing 'bigger is better'.  All of the evidence we have seen since then is that a 4-person is the largest we should have, and that a 6-person raft may be too big for 2 people in a storm.  Also, before you select a supplier, insist on getting a list of certified packing stations wherever you intend to sail - we have had trouble finding certified Switlik packers in Venezuela, New Zealand, Australia, and Europe
Our boat is bonded (all shrouds, life-lines, spars, keel, thru-hulls and propeller shaft are tied together with heavy wire). Bonding will minimize side-flashes within the boat and thus help protect the crew, it will NOT keep the boat from being hit nor will it protect the electronics. Disconnecting electronics may protect them, but with power leads and interfaces between units being so common, it is very difficult to isolate units.   We also recently installed a 'brush-type' static electricity dissipating device on the main mast to satisfy insurance requirements.  Read about our lightning strike experience.
Based on reading articles we requested mast steps when we ordered our boat from Shannon.  They refused, said they were unseaworthy, and offered a bosun's chair and oversized main winch.  In retrospect, the bosun's chair has been satisfactory, but I would put folding mast steps on a future boat. 
  • Conventional Man Overboard Pole, with weighted bottom and flag at top attached is a horseshoe ring with a strobe light attached
  • Lifesling system on stern with associated block and tackle for lifting a person onto deck.
2 Lirakis harnesses on which we place detachable double tethers.  We find that these are strong, comfortable and easy to put on and take off.  We also have safety harnesses built into our foul weather gear.  Our rule is to ALWAYS wear our safety harnesses at night and in any weather over force 4.

Safety Features




Click here to see safety and security changes done on Long Passages in the Phuket, Thailand Refit

Picture your boat hanging upside down overtop of you and think of what might fall on you.  With that picture in our mind we made the following changes:
  • Steel and timber brackets on the batteries to keep them in place
  • Straps on radios to hold in place
  • Locking latch on the Navigation table
  • Locks on all floor boards
  • Locking Icebox lid (see Galley tips)
  • Locking drawers - The interior drawers were the type that you open by lifting the drawer.  This means that if the boat is upside down, the drawers will come open.  We have now put finger-latches on some and other type of locking closures on others to ensure that they will stay closed.
  • Locking Lockers - Our interior lockers were held closed by a friction closure, in which you just pull on it to open.  We have since put push button closures in which you push the button to open and push the button to lock closed.  The exterior lockers are held shut by locking latches.



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