Hello everyone, I'll bet that you thought I had gone away for ever! No such luck sorry, here I am again after being up at our house in Scotland for the new year. Yes, I had the boat out a few times, fantastic, clear blue sky, bitter cold, snow covered mountains (more of that later), you ribsters in sunny climes should try sub zero temperature boating sometime!
Okay, now to the point.
After several postings about automatic lifejackets, whilst away I purchased a Fulmar gas operated jacket from Caley Marina in Inverness (plus a few other exciting goodies for chart reading and plotting - well it was Christmas). I excitedly drove the 50 miles back up North, anticipating a great day out in the boat the next day in the freedom of my new life jacket. It was the Monday of New years Eve and Scotland closes down until the following Friday.
When I got back home out came the jacket for me to check out (play with). I eagerly ripped open the velcro to look at the mechanism and familliarise myself with its operation (I'm that kind of guy, fortunately). Strange, I thought, where is the gas bottle? I checked all over the jacket, and guess what? The gas bottle was missing!
A quick phone call to the chandlers (with 2 minutes to go till closing time) confirmed that there should have been a gas bottle set up ready, and profuse appologies. Just take it back on FRIDAY and get it replaced. Dam and blast! Four days untill I could try the thing out!!!
So I went out with the old (well 18 months old) foam jacket.
I went back on the Friday and got the jacket replaced no problen and again profuse appologies. It appears that the one I got was one that had been faulty and was replaced for someone else and somehow instead of being sent away it was mistakenly placed back on display.
It was a good job that I checked it when I got home, just think of the consequences if I had not done so and has gone out with a non operating lifejacket and had fallen in!! Okay, so my WIDOW may well have been able to sue Caley Marina, not much compensation for me however. Just think of the years of fun I would have missed in my boat by being prematurely DEAD (also RibNet would not have had the benefit of all my daft questions any more - still you can't have everything).
YES I know that I should have checked it before I left the shop. But remember I went in as a customer and made it clear to them that I had not used an automatic jacket before. As far as they were concerned how did I know what the gas bottle looked like?
Now let me make this clear. Caley Marina is a great chandlers. They changed the jacket no problem and were genuinely upset at their mistake. They are a very reputable company and I will be happy to use them again and infact I would certainly recomend them and their mail order service to others.
It just goes to show that even such a reputable dealer can make a mistake. So you MUST check your own life saving equipment (see also posts on kill chords) and take responsibility for YOUR OWN safety.
Cheers, happy new year,
PS, Hey that was a real topical link wasn't it?