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.

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.