On deck

Deck fittings need to be checked regularly, because the safety of both boat and crew often depends on them. The first items on the checklist should be load-bearing fittings such as winches and standing rigging. A rigging screw that fails can bring down the whole rig. Check their condition, operation and security of the deck fixing.

  • Some items do not carry much of a load under normal circumstances, but need to be able to do so in an emergency, such as stanchions and guardwires. If the motion of the boat throws you, or if you trip and fall against a guardwire, you want to know it will be able to prevent you falling over the side. So inspect it carefully for broken strands and give it a good strong tug to ensure it is anchored firmly. Stanchions will often be a little loose in their sockets, but the base itself should be firmly fixed to the deck.
  • Hatches may be your only way out of the cabin in an emergency, so it is very important that they can be opened easily. Check that they do not leak when closed. Also check fixed and opening windows, lights and ports.
  • Almost any through-bolted deck fitting can let water into the cabin, because the bolthole provides a convenient channel through the laminate for rain or seawater. Check that the fixing is secure and that the sealant around the base of the fitting is not cracked or missing.

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