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

15 Sailing Terms for Beginners

Whether a complete novice or an experienced sailor, it is highly beneficial to have knowledge of the many sailing terms used in the day-to-day operation of a boat.

Sailing TermsBy having a fundamental grasp of the vocabulary used in sailing it will be that much easier to learn the different components of a boat and the relevant maneuvers. A sailor who is able to relay the right sailing terminology is certain to be that much more confident when it concerns conveying the right information and safely guiding a vessel.

Here are 15 useful sailing terms for the beginners:

  • Aft: aft relates to the rearmost region of a sailing boat.
  • Ballast: ballast is vital in sailboats to help weigh down or steady the boat to compensate for the lateral force of the sails. A sailboat with insufficient ballast is likely to heel or tip significantly in high winds.
  • Bilge: the bilge relates to the lowest and rounded region of the sailing boat, so forms the area between the sides and bottom of the hull.
  • Boom: the boom is designed to attach to the mast in a certain position to help with holding the foot or bottom of the mainsail.
  • Capsize: a boat that overturns is referred to as capsized.
  • Centerboard: a sector of the boat that is mounted to the bottom section of the vessel and helps with balancing and preventing the boat from drifting.
  • Helm: the helm relates to the equipment for steering the sailing boat, or an able skipper who is able to control such apparatus.
  • Keel: the keel is a structure of the hull which sticks down into the sea from the bottom region of a sailing boat, and helps with balance and avoids rolling.
  • Leeway: leeway relates to the drift or movement that is experienced by a sailing boat due to the wind or current.
  • Luffing: this is a term that relates to a sail that isn’t yet set and isn’t in a taught position and continues to move in the wind
  • Mast: the mast is there it help with supporting the mainsail. It is kept in a vertical position to the boat hull.
  • Rudder: the rudder is a suitably sized piece of plastic, metal, or wood which is mounted to a sailing boat to help with steering or turning the vessel. It helps with changing direction by altering the direction in which water or air pushes past a boat.
  • Seaworthy: relates to the condition of a vessel and ensures it is in a safe state to operate.
  • Starboard: relates to the right-side of a sailing boat (the opposite side of the boat is known as port).
  • Wake: a boats wake relates to the water mark that follows behind a faster moving vessel like a speed or a motorboat.

Safety at Sea

7 Safety Tips for Boating with Children

Avoiding boat mishaps with babies and children on board is certain to prevent issues with being fearful and providing memories that can last a lifetime.

Boating with ChildrenHere are seven safety tips to abide by when boating with children:

1 – Encourage the family

Let other members of the family become familiar with certain aspects of operating the boat. A family with more knowledge and experience is certain to mean less danger and accidents on board. Children can be shown how to trim the sails, operate the anchor, switch electrical items on and off, use manual winches, and start or stop the engine.

2 – Get Home

Are other family members able to helm the boat and set sail for home if the skipper is in distress? If planning to go boating with a child it is a practical precaution to teach the basic skills of using the VHF radio, engine starting and stopping, Chartplotter reading, electrical switchboard use, and emergency channel knowledge.

3 – Inflatables & Dinghies

Small children love to engage with inflatable toys and dinghies, while an outboard motor attached can also be quite appealing. Make sure the children are instructed with basic safety and handling techniques. A danger area is other boat users or swimmers, so ensure an inflatable is kept well clear of others and proper boundary rules are outlined.

4 – Life jackets

Abide by standard rules and regulations and ensure each child on board has a life jacket to increase safety in the event of falling overboard. Any life jacket worn should be at the appropriate size to match the child. Avoid an over-sized life jacket because this has the potential to entangle a child and make things more difficult in an emergency situation. A well-fitted life jacket should give a snug fit and should stay securely in place. A life vest can also benefit from a neck support to ensure a child’s head is kept out of the water. Plus, use a life jacket that automatically inflates for extra safety.

5 – No Go Areas

Let the children know the no go areas on the boat like forward of the cockpit on a motor-driven yacht or bow of a motor-launch when in motion. Plus, make sure children don’t use (or left close to) the companion way when the boat is under power. A small child left close to an open companion way might well fall through in a heavy breeze or wave. Plus, boating activities like berthing or mooring up can be quite stressful, so asking the children to be quite during this time is often advised.

6 – Pontoon or dock safety

Don’t let the children run on the pontoon or deck area, and for extra safety ensure a life jacket is worn. A dock area has joints, hoses, ropes, cleats, etc. that can easily result in trip hazards. Falling in the water at a marina can be dangerous for a small child, so take extra care and attention around this particular area.

7 – Safety drills

Regularly conduct fire and safety drills to ensure everyone on board knows what to do in the event of an emergency. Locations of escape hatches should be known.

Safety at Sea

What Is Required For the Safe Operation of an Airboat?

In order to efficiently operate an airboat a variety of safety and registration rules need to be abided by. Regulations are likely to vary from state to state, but in general the guidelines are in place to ensure an airboat is operated in an effective and safe manner. Safety equipment in place is likely to be a high requirement.


Having the right safety gear and equipment for operating an airboat

A fun and versatile airboat is highly enjoyable to ride, but if not operated in a safe and efficient manner they are susceptible to sinking or capsizing; often as a result of lacking flotation and ease in which they are able to lose balance. In addition, the air boats aren’t designed to operate in reverse; as a consequence it can be more difficult to avoid a potential situation in the water.

It is also crucial for the air boat operator to be mindful of the debris, sand, or water which might pass through the propeller and in the direction of other motor-driven boats. A high level of boat safety is highly desirable for all boats, including the air boats, and might include:

Life Jackets — a first requirement to boat safety is likely to relate to wearing a lifejacket, which is mandatory in many states for the person under 18 years of age. Even if not a requirement by law to wear a lifejacket for the adults, it is often highly recommended that a lifejacket is worn by all on board to ensure the full safety and protection at all times. A lifejacket must be able to fit appropriately for the size of person.

Fire extinguisher — a fully functional manual or semi-automatic fire extinction system is highly desirable on all makes and models of water craft that are equipped with inboard or outboard machinery. In the event of an engine fire you want to have access to an extinguisher for putting out the flames as soon as possible.

Navigational lights — in order to operate in complete safety in low light conditions you want to make certain that the navigation lights are mounted on board the vessel. Beyond just having the ability to operate in a safe manner, navigational lights are also ideal to alert other boat owners of the presence of the air boat.

Flags — a further great safety aspect relates to having the right complement of flags on board the air boat. A key flag is likely to relate to the diver down flag, which is required in those situations where the diver is in the water for a variety of reasons. A flag needs to be at a height of 10-ft above the air boat, and sized in the region of 10″ x 12″.
Sound distress device — lastly, you might want to make certain you have access to a distress signal or sound device is highly desirable to have onboard the air boats in the event of an emergency situation. A sound device is highly effective at attracting the attention of other boats in the local area and the distress alert signal is needed to give an instant indication that help is required.

What registration requirements are needed for operating an airboat?

In order that a full operational airboat can be used in public bodies of water it is necessary to the registered with the local state authorities. If you are planning on using the air boats in private ponds or other bodies of water, registration isn’t likely to be mandatory. Also, the paddle powered vessels, such as the kayaks and canoes aren’t in need of registration.

A registration certificate is a requirement for those situations where you might be stopped by the local police or Coast Guard, and required to clearly indicate the right paperwork for operation and ownership. Registration costs are likely to relate to the state laws and size of water craft.

Is it easy to arrange insurance on an airboat?

If you are looking at the viability of arrange insurance on an airboat, many of the insurance companies are likely to be very restrictive in relation to offering this type of coverage since the airboats can be quite dangerous. It shouldn’t be difficult to arrange a liability only insurance policy, which will make sure you are protected against damage to a third party, person or property. In the states that have a large number of waterways that are used by air boat operators, it is likely to be easier to arrange insurance coverage beyond just the personal liability insurance.