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America's Boating Club

What's RED and GREEN, and goes THUMP, THUMP, THUMP?

By P/C Woods McGinn, AP

In the holiday season I normally like to suggest boating safety items you can give, or request, as gifts. It' always eaiser to "justify" that new radar, DGPS chart plotter, wireless weather station, or auto-inflating PFD, when you remember the safety benefits. But that's all been said before. So, this month I offer another twist on the season.
Red and green? What does that make you think of? Christmas trees and holiday bows! Santa Claus and mistletoe! Channel Buoys and red, right returning! What about fire extinguishers? Yes, RED fire extinguishers. You should check them every month. Look at the safety pressure gauge to make certain the needle is pointing in the good, GREEN zone.
And thump? Hold a portable fire extinguisher in you hand. Turn it upside down. Shake it - to loosen the dry chemicals, so they don't solidify and render the extinguisher useless. You should hear the powder make a swishing sound as it slides from end to end as you flip it.
And thump? Now rap the side of the cylinder with your knuckle. You'll hear a fairly sharp, metallic "knock." Remember that sound. Turn the extinguisher bottom-side up. Rap the bottom with your knuckle and listen. On a good extinguisher you'll hear a soft "thump," sort of like thumping a watermelon. That thump is proof that your dry chemicals are not clogged!
So during this holiday season, please check every fire extinguisher at home and afloat. I wish all of you a very safe and joyous holiday.

Boat Smart From The Start - Wear Your PFD

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Updated 21 Sep 15