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Safety guidance for boat owners under Stay Safe restrictions

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The Department of Infrastructure is urging boat owners to think and prepare very carefully before making use of their vessels following the conditional relaxation of the COVID-19 restrictions this weekend. The Department strongly recommends that all vessels are thoroughly checked and, if required, serviced by a competent person before use after the extended lay up period.

Guidance and conditions of use for Pleasure Craft are outlined in Notice to Mariners No 10 of 2020 which can be found at the Navigation advice page

This guidance is designed to limit unnecessary tasking of Search and Rescue assets such as RNLI vessels, Coastguard teams, SAR Helicopters and potentially Police and NHS staff.

As a matter of course all persons involved in activities afloat should follow a common sense approach to their various activities:

  • Have you planned your trip properly and told someone ashore of your intentions?
  • If the vessel relies on an engine have you sufficient fresh fuel?
  • Has the engine been serviced?
  • Do you have an alternative method of propulsion to get you home?
  • Are the batteries (if required) reliable and fully charged?
  • Do devices such as ‘kill cords’ work?
  • Are your bilge pumps operational?
  • Do you have an operational VHF radio? Do not rely on mobile telephone signals
  • Have you checked the weather forecast and tide states?
  • Ensure you have sufficient lifejackets and emergency flares? Are they tested and in date?
  • If carried, is your life raft in date and accessible?
  • Do you have suitable fire extinguishers and are they in date?
  • Do your aids to navigation where fitted work correctly and do you know how to use them?
  • Do you know how and who to call in an emergency?
  • For sailing vessels have checks been carried out on rigging and lines?

All persons who are intending to take to the water in any type or size of vessel must act responsibly, be aware of their limitations and those of any persons accompanying them. If any doubt or concern exists in respect of the trip you are undertaking then do not go.