PORTLAND – Life jackets? Check. Marine radio? Check. Fire extinguisher? Check.

Those were just a few of the safety items the Casco Bay Flotilla of U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary safety inspectors Dennis Morelli and Susan Polans found on Peter Plumb’s 18-foot outboard motor boat Saturday. Plumb, a Portland resident, was one of the boaters at DiMillo’s Old Port Marina who took advantage of the free safety inspections offered by the auxiliary at marinas around Portland through June.

“It’s a good idea to make sure we are up to snuff,” said Plumb.

The inspections are designed to ensure that each boat is equipped with safety equipment required by state and federal law and to give boaters advice on how to improve safety. The auxiliary members volunteer their time and no citations are issued.

“Our only goal is to ensure each boater is as safe as they can be,” said Morelli.

Morelli and Polans, commander of the flotilla, dispensed all sorts of advice at the Long Wharf marina. They pointed out that 44 of 51 people who died in boating accidents in the Coast Guard’s First District last year, including 10 people in Maine, were not wearing life jackets.

“There are three levels of water temperature in Maine, cold, colder and coldest,” said Polans.

The two also pointed out that:

Rescue flares should be replaced every four years.

Hornets and other insects often nest in the nozzle of fire extinguishers, rendering them useless.

Although a first aid kit is not required, it is recommended for nick-prone hands.

Plumb, who sails the world in his 46-foot sloop, the Boheme, said his family uses the motor boat as its summer car, shuttling between Cushing’s Island and Portland. It has broken down several times and was dubbed the FUBAR, an acronym inappropriate to spell out in a family newspaper, by a friend as they drifted in the fog after losing power. Plumb said safety equipment is essential.

Except for an incorrect registration number and a couple of missing letters from FUBAR’s name on the stern, the boat overall got good marks. The safety inspectors will issue Plumb an official safety sticker once he completes the corrections.

More safety tips will be offered at an open house at the U.S. Coast Station in South Portland from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 9. The event will feature kayak and other paddle boat exercises and a flare shoot to safely dispose of old flares.

Staff Writer Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

[email protected]