Buying a Boat Part 9 – First Day on the Water for Fortuitous

First things first. We finally decided on a name for our new sailboat – Fortuitous.

Fortunate is how we mostly feel but there was a significant amount of of luck and opportunity that got us this far.

After a month of projects , upgrades and maintenance work we were finally ready for our first sail today – May 31. Problem was there was no wind but that is a minor issue. We had to get away from the dock to run the engine and test the auto helm.

Peel Marine Unit

The peel Regional Marine Unit had other plans for us. Not 2 minutes outside of the Port Credit and we were being tailed by the “PoPo” as my son likes to say after spending too much time online.

Our 2014 boating season was officially going to start with a safety inspection by the officials. Thanks to many visits to The Rigging Shoppe I was confident we were in compliance with the safety equipment regulations. Meanwhile, I think Erica was patiently awaiting my arrest and detention. I should have discussed the required safety equipment with my crew before we departed. On a light wind day with calm seas it is an easy mistake to make.

The safety inspection was now underway…. Operators Card, Toronto Harbour License, VHF license , flares, fire extinguishers, sound signalling device, life ring, heaving line, life jackets, bailer, anchor – check! Boat license? Aw crap, that was one thing we never got covered. Fortunately I followed the advice of my my yacht broker – Pat Sturgeon of Pat Sturgeon Yacht Sales – and had a copy of the bill of sale on board. The law allows 90 days from the date of purchase to acquire a boat license and I was only 60 days in. Having the BOS on board proved we were still on the right side of the law. With the safety check complete and the skipper not in custody we carried on with the sea trial on a beautiful spring day.

personal-safety-equipmentThe police inspection served as an important reminder to always be ready for emergencies – even on sunny days with no waves and light wind. The police officers were polite and friendly but this was still business. It was obvious they noticed the missing bow numbers, no Canadian flag and we still had the US hailing port shown on the transom – heat score! Post inspection we got the Canadian flag flying off the stern.

I must admit I was embarrassed it took a bit of searching to locate some of the required safety gear. This gear should be close by and ready to go in seconds of an emergency. I fell short by not having it better organized before leaving the dock. This has now been corrected and next time it will be on deck before being asked by the officer. Regardless, Erica was impressed we passed the safety inspection.

I really hope we are stopped again on our next departure from Port Credit Harbour. If Erica and the kids can answer the officer’s questions and produce the required gear without my direction then I will feel better knowing we are better prepared as a crew.