By Tom Neale, 12/29/2005
1. Flashlights are very important safety tools on a boat. You should buy good ones (which usually means the relatively expensive ones) and maintain them well.
2. There should be a flashlight handy and conspicuous in every area of the boat. When things happen in the night, the last thing that you need is to have to go hunting for a flashlight.
3. Always keep in mind that you may be using a flashlight in an explosive environment aboard. This can be more subtle than you may think. You don’t need to have spilled gasoline to have an explosive environment. For example, leaking house or starting batteries could result in the release of explosive gasses. For this reason, look for lights that will not cause an arc to atmosphere.
4. Flashlight manufacturers always say to remove batteries when the light is in storage. Sure, this is important because flashlight batteries are so prone to failure which will damage the light. But in an emergency you won’t have time to install batteries. Therefore I check mine and replace them regularly so that the light is always ready to go. Any sign of discoloration or moisture on or around a flashlight battery means that you should replace it.
5. In my opinion those multi-million candle power claims of some inexpensive hand held spot lights are often not reliable as a measure of the effectiveness of the light. If at all possible, try out a light before you buy it. Maybe borrow it from a friend who’s already got one.
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Copyright 2004-2005 Tom Neale