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Safety at Sea

Safety On Board a Sailing Boat

Safety on board a sailing charter needs to be a high priority. It is beneficial to incorporate safety into every action that is likely to take place on board.

Safety On Board a Sailing Boat

To remain safe, you really need to understand and include: preparation, planning, anticipation, and situational awareness, practice, and seamanship skills.

It doesn’t matter if you are borrowing, hiring, or own a sailing or motor-driven boat prior to leaving port it is highly advisable to inspect the vessel to ensure it is properly equipped and in a full working order. A boating vacation should be hassle-free, safe and fun. If able to cut the possibility of being left a victim of a stranded boat, there is a much higher chance that the trip will be that much more enjoyable. An inspection can start with looking over the hull for signs or cracks or similar damage. If the vessel is equipped with an inboard or outboard motor, check that the steering and throttle is able to operate smoothly. Also, make certain that the fuel and oil levels are at a sufficient volume to last the planned trip.

Beyond giving the vessel a visual inspection, a pre-departure checklist is also likely to be helpful for avoiding any potential dangers or inconveniences whilst out on the open waters.

A standard checklist is likely to include the following:

  • What is the expected weather forecast for the duration of the trip?
  • Are you likely to experience any local boating restrictions or hazards?
  • Do you have access to local charts and maps?
  • Is there a sufficient supply of lifejackets for those on board?
  • Does the safety equipment appear to be in full operational condition?
  • Are the electronic devices like the depth sounder and VHF radio working satisfactorily?
  • Is the vessel equipped with a well-packed first aid kit?

Also, when planning on going on a sailing charter trip, you really want to make certain that you are able to let someone know the planned itinerary for the trip, which is highly beneficial should you experience difficulties at sea and unable to return in line with the sail plan.

Navigation skills

Safety on board a sailboat is certain to relate to the navigation skills and experience of the skipper. Use a Chartplotter or similar instrument to help mark the precise course to help with minimizing potential dangers. A well-experienced skipper is more likely to be in a position of being safe while sailing compared to a complete novice. An ability to navigate on the open waters can also be improved with books, attending boat courses, or even using the wide-ranging apps that are now available on the market.

Before setting out

Before setting out on a voyage make sure to fully appreciate the limitations of the skipper/crew on board the sailing boat. Make sure the boat is equipped to complete the intended trip and has the proper supplies and safety equipment. Plot the course before leaving port to minimizing potential hazards on the way. Also, have a means of navigating safety in the event of the GPS malfunctioning.

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