Category Archive: Safe Boat – Smart Boat

SAFE BOAT – SMART BOAT: Abandoning ship – Boarding the life raft

The crew made a mad dash for the life raft but wasn’t successful.  The flames and heat were far too intense.  The fire had started in the engine room and engulfed the living quarters and pilothouse.  Everyone had to abandon ship wearing their immersion suits and holding their EPIRB.  Fortunately, a nearby fishing vessel retrieved …

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SAFE BOAT: Abandoning ship – A step-by-step approach

Even for the most self-sufficient fishing vessel, the possibility of a disabling mishap at sea due to a storm, grounding, collision, mechanical failure, or some other cause is a fact of nautical life.  Your safety and that of your crew depends on your ability to plan for and manage the problems you come against in …

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Safe Boat – Smart Boat: PFDs, grappling with fishing’s ‘safety culture’

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by Fred Mattera –  During safety training sessions in December and January each year, I break out the “Cold Water Boot Camp USA” DVD.  It’s a great tool for reviewing coldwater safety with fishermen now that the water temperature is a frigid 45°F or less. In the video, selected volunteers agree to immerse themselves in …

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Safe Boat – Smart Boat — Station bills: Know your job in an emergency

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by Fred Mattera – During a recent simulated engine room fire drill, I observed a seasoned crewman, someone who has been engaged in safety drills for the last sev en years, become impetuous and anxious instead of composed and thoughtful. By doing things without serious thought, he made some simple but dangerous mistakes that, in …

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SAFE BOAT – SMART BOAT — Inspection, maintenance: Follow a schedule

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by Fred Mattera – It is the responsibility of the captain and crew to inspect and maintain all vessel systems constantly.  For me, a checklist was my means of tracking the maintenance schedule, so I’ve made one here to get you started. Since I no longer have a vessel to walk through and refresh my …

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Safe Boat – Smart Boat: Electrical systems – Batteries, cables, safety

by Fred Mattera – Batteries are an integral power source on fishing vessels.  They provide power to the vast majority of our pilothouse electronics and are a power source for alarms and startup and shutdown systems for main engines and gensets. Be sure to install batteries so they are capable of withstanding vessel roll, pitch, …

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Safe Boat – Smart Boat: Electrical systems – Vent, ground, protect to prevent onboard fires

by Fred Mattera – Faulty or compromised electrical systems are a primary source of engine room fires.  These fires are often exceedingly hot, allowing you little or no time to manually extinguish them.  So, let’s talk about some steps you can take to be sure your boat’s electrical systems are properly installed, used, and maintained. …

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Safe Boat – Smart Boat: Know, maintain, register your EPIRB

by Fred Mattera – EPIRB requirements apply to all commercial fishing vessels operating more than three nautical miles from the coast of the US.  Vessels 36′ or greater in length must have on board a float-free, automatically activated Category 1 406 MHz EPIRB stowed where it can float free if the vessel sinks. Vessels less …

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Safe Boat – Smart Boat: Using flares – Safe handling, firing, training

by Fred Mattera – I am often asked what to do with old, expired flares or if I want them.  Actually, I do take and use them to conduct hands-on flare training.  I also tell captains to consider keeping an expired flare kit in a container marked “for training purpose only,” distinguishing them from the vessel’s …

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