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While prepping for the continuation of our journey, we have been giving some thought to the safety systems on board our boat. I wrote the other day how we had inflated our PFDs to check them but with all the activity on board ZTC, I hadn’t had the chance to deflate them, nor to post about the results as I promised. I am happy to say that at least the manual inflation function of the life vests works well, and that they stayed completely inflated for over 3 days. Why not test the auto-inflation function? Because the rearm kit, of which we carry only one spare, costs about 80 bucks!

Another thing I wrote about not too long ago was radar reflectors, and how we had never ever rigged the one that came with our boat. I am happy to report that it is now happily flying just below our spreaders, lashed securely with Spectra. Hopefully that should help us at least a bit to show up on other vessels’ radar screens. It sure can’t hurt.

The last piece of kit in this post is more about conforming to the regulations than safety gear but I figured that since completing the Yachtmaster qualifications, I should do my best to make sure that we’re following code. At night, boats at anchor, are required to have an anchor light turned on, either at the masthead or in the foretriangle. Thankfully most people do this. During the day however boats at anchor are required to have a black ball displayed in the foretriangle of the boat. THIS is definitely not so common. I would estimate that only 10% or less of the boats here do so. It’s a cheap piece of kit though and were we in a more litigious spot, I would bet that a case could be made against you should someone run into your boat and you are not displaying the proper day signals.

With all this talk of safety, I should mention that the most serious injury I have heard of since cruising just recently occurred and it had nothing to do with boats. Last week a group of cruisers went on a trip to the Seven Sisters waterfalls, similar to the one that Rebecca completed while I was in Trinidad. Unfortunately one woman, a cruiser who we have met and spoken with on a few occasions, was quite seriously injured. Serious enough that it required her being flown back to the US and surgery. It will likely also require several months of therapy for her to recover. Very sad that this happened and equally sad that it’s not the first person that we have heard of being injured in that big jump. I think I’ll be avoiding that now.

UPDATE: November 21, 2011 – Only a few days after installing the above-mentioned radar reflector we took it back down. Even though I don’t think it was at risk of falling, it was in a position to chafe against our main sail, something we could not allow. Back in the locker it goes.


  1. Mike is a boat on a mooring ball at night considered at anchor and does it require a an anchor light turned on. A litigious question?

    • My assumption is yes. We at least always treat it as such.

    • In the USA, a boat anchored or moored in a “designated” anchoring/mooring field, does not require an anchor light. However, this is in the USA only.

      I decided early on that having an anchor light on whether moored/anchored in a designated field or not, was pretty cheap insurance. Especially true after switching out to an LED. Many times these sort of regs are ignored UNTIL someone runs into your unlit vessel. Truly a good example of “pennywise, but pound foolish”.

      Plus, it is easier to find the boat when you come back at night after something like a typical hash 😮

    • This is from the nav. rules in the U.S.

      Rule 30

      (g) A vessel of less than 20 meters in length, when at anchor in a special anchorage area designated by the Secretary, shall not be required to exhibit the anchor lights and shapes required by this Rule. [Inld]

      I would think a mooring field would be the same as a special anchorage.

      Bill Kelleher

      • That is not a safe assumption. “Special Anchorages” are marked as such on charts. There are moorings all over the place down here and no special anchorages in Grenada.

  2. My anchor light does not work (bow light does). But I am at the end of the dock on poorly illuminated marina on a well traveled river. Boats wiz by me day and night. Anyway I added 4 solar lights, one on bow, one on stern, and two midships on either side to hopefully dissuade the inebriated stink pot from hitting me. just a thought….

    • The inexpensive solar lights available these days make it even more stupid for a boat to not have a light on. Unfortunately they don’t compare to a real LED anchor light though. Everywhere we go our light from Bebi Electronics in Fiji is absolutely the brightest one in the anchorage!

  3. Don’t forget the inverted triangle when motor-sailing (not required on vessels less than 12m for USCG Inland rules). But I’ve got a feeling most sailors wouldn’t do this so they can still try to consider themselves a “sailing vessel” when it comes to pecking order.

  4. Hello Jane! Check your area, but some countries in Europe demand use of the inverted triangle and you can get a serious fine if you do not display one. Beware, because these regs have a nasty habit of spreading!


    • hehe… me thinks it’ll be a LONG time before that spreads this far south. Puerto Rico? Perhaps. USVI? A possibility. Down here? Did we mention that it is still OK to drink and drive in Grenada?

      • I heard tell of a story of a guy who was pulled over on one of the smaller BVIslands and ticketed for not wearing his seatbelt while drinking rum. Not a word about the rum. But was told “Don’t you know it’s dangerous to drive without a seatbelt?!”

        Ahhh, the islands. Gotta love them. I sure do.

        • That would be true in Grenada as well. Seatbelt checks are common. Drinking while driving is legal.

          • My wife got hit by a drunk a few weeks ago (slow speed-no injuries). The driver litterally fell out of the car when the cop arrived, couldn’t begin to stand on one foot, and got hauled off. Her excuse was that it was only ~ 400 yards from the bar to her apartment–apparently she was not aware of the invention of walking. I certainly remember doing the Frankenstein walk home a few times in my youth, and recovering my car noon the next day!

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