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.

Go Boating

How to Prepare For a Sailing Trip the Right Way

Preparing for a sailing trip is likely to be a difficult process, especially if this is the first time you have experienced this type of adventure.

Sailing Destination

Making contact with the hire company is likely to provide a reliable checklist of the items that will be required, but in general travel items should include:

If packing for a sail charter, please remember that space is likely to be very restricted. You want to avoid the hard sided bags and suitcases since these aren’t practical choices on board a yacht. Rather a large-size duffel bag or backpack is ideal. A reason for using the duffel bags is that they are much easier to transport and can be folded and stored out of sight once the clothing and related supplies are packed away.

Visas, passports, boarding passes and similar such travel documents are vital to remember when it comes to preparing for the sailing holiday. If any of these documents are forgotten or mislaid, a sailing trip is certain to be compromised. And for any crucial items, like the travel documents, you might want to store them in a watertight and safe bag for extra protection.

Checklist: What to take on a sailing trip:

  • Flight Tickets
  • Insurance documents
  • Passports
  • Certification / qualifications (original copies)
  • Money (local currency) and debit cards/credit cards
  • Cell phone and charger (keep in contact and get regular updates on weather forecasts or similar important news)
  • Swimwear
  • Beach towels
  • Shoes for use on board (deck shoes and/or soft soled shoes)
  • Clothing (light fleece, jumper, waterproof jacket, sunglasses, hat, casual tops, T-shirts, casual trousers, shorts, etc.)
  • Toiletries
  • Sun cream
  • Cream, spray, or gel-based insect repellent
  • Prescription medication and anti-histamine tablets or ointment
  • Camcorder or camera
  • CD’s or MP3 player or similar electrical equipment
  • Magazines or books to read
  • Basic snorkeling gear (flippers, mask, etc)

Space on a hire yacht is certain to be restricted, so make certain to pack the appropriate clothing to match the itinerary of the trip. If you are aware of the expected weather and any details of shore-based stop off points, it will be possible to plan ahead and only pack what is most likely to be required.

For the passenger that requires certain non-prescription and prescription medications, make certain to include a sufficient amount to last the entire duration of the sailing adventure. Sourcing medication is likely to be extremely difficult at foreign ports if forgotten or mislaid.

If sailing in one of the more tropical destinations with intense sunlight throughout the day, a high-strength sun block is certain to be a highly beneficial addition, to ensure that you are able to relax on the deck of the sailing yacht.


Most food tastes are easily catered to when exploring the open waters on a yacht charter and this food can be packed on the boat. But, for those with food allergies (wheat gluten, milk, peanuts, etc.) it can be more difficult to source the food needed to cover the length of the planned voyage. For this reason it is more practical to take along the safe substitutes that have been sourced from home.

Go Boating

Use the Proper Lay-up Techniques for a Sail Boat

Nothing is likely to cause more long-term damage to a sailing boat than neglect.

Sail Boat in Action

If the proper lay-up techniques aren’t put into practice for the duration of the off-season, a boat is certain to notice the ill effects. A significant aspect of preparing a boat for the lay-up is to avoid potential damage from freezing conditions. Liquids or fluids need to be protected or removed. Anything that might be damaged by poor weather needs to be removed from the vessel.

Preparing a checklist

If you really want to make certain that you are properly prepared for winterizing a vessel an in-depth checklist is certain to help with completing the ideal steps. By writing out a complete checklist of things to do at the season end, this should ensure a vessel is more likely to be in a high state of repair when spring next arrives.

Winter lay-up responsibilities include:

Empty lockers

A simple step is to clear lockers of can, bottles, and perishables or similar such items that don’t need the left on board the sailing boat.

Pump out the tanks

In an attempt to avoid the freezing liquids, it will be highly beneficial if you are able to drain the water heater, pump out the holding tank, and empty all freshwater tanks.

Remove sails and rigging

If the sails, rigging, and canvas are less exposed to the winter conditions – whether this might be furled or folders – it is certain to shorten the overall lifespan of these items.

Use lubrication on the furling system

A good time to lubricate the furling system is at the season’s end.

Remove the electronic equipment

If you are able to remove electronics and navigational equipment (VHF radios, radar displays, chart plotters, fish finders, etc.) from the vessel and store them in a safe and protected location for the winter period this is certain to prolong the overall usable lifespan. A further reason to take the electronics off the sailing boat is to protect against theft. Plus, make sure to wrap loose connectors or cable ends with high-quality electrical tape.

Also ensure other boat related equipment (ski ropes, fenders, flares, fire extinguishers, dock lines, life jackets, etc.) is protected throughout the off-season. Protect all gear on board that might be subjected to moisture and dirt.

Place marine batteries in a safe area like a workbench or similar that isn’t on the ground. Give the battery terminals and cables a clean and light coat of good quality grease.

Secure the trailer

If planning to winterize the boat on its trailer make sure to prevent the possibility of theft by blocking up the axles on the trailer. Plus, removing the tires during the lay-up is certain to help minimize the chance of flat spots appearing after a long period of resting in one position.

Fight against moisture

Avoid problems with a build up of moisture in the bilges by ensuring this area is free of oil, dirt, or standing water. This inspection should also apply to the storage areas, fish holds, livewells, drawers, or other similar lockers.