Sailing is a fun and stimulating activity that involves a mix of freedom, relaxation, intensity, and thrill. It offers an excellent opportunity to explore and start a new adventure. While the fun may be your main reason for sailing, safety should be your number one priority. Before you set sail, it’s essential to be aware of the dangers at sea and how to prevent and overcome them.
Here are a few safety tips:
Make sure you are equipped with fully serviced safety equipment which includes: a first aid kit, survival supplies, life jackets, safety harnesses, horns & whistles. These are essential items to have in an emergency, as your life depends on them.
Check the weather: although it’s not always accurate, it’s still helpful to know what to expect. The met office: marine weather provides various weather information, including navigation warnings.
Know your limitations: this is essential. For example, if you’re not experienced, hire a crewed charter rather than a bareboat charter. If you’re somewhat experienced, then only sail within your ability. Now is not the time to show off, as this could cost you your life. So try not to overdo things!
Learn and practice the ‘man overboard’ procedures: every second is crucial when someone goes over overboard. You need to be prepared at all times to save that person as quickly as possible. Practicing your procedures will allow this to come as second nature to you.
Have a float plan: always let a friend or a family member know where you’re going to sail and when you expect to return. Try to add as many details as possible, such as when you are due to arrive. This will allow them to signal the alarm in case you are delayed.
Dress appropriately: bring suitable sailing clothing. What you need depends on factors such as season and type of sailing (inshore, coastal, offshore, or ocean). The rule of thumb is to wear breathable and waterproof clothing. You may also want additional clothing, such as neoprene balaclavas to keep your head warm and appropriate footwear.
Learn how to use your GPS: you’d be surprised to know how many people have problems using a GPS properly. Using a GPS may be straightforward, but you don’t have time to test the device in an emergency. Make sure you know how to view your current position if you need to pass it to the coast guard. You can try this out before sailing to ensure you know how to use it.
Have a backup VHF: don’t rely on only one VHF radio or on your mobile phone to communicate with the coast guard. Make sure this is fully charged before setting off.
Don’t be a hero: swallow your pride and call for help as soon as possible when things get rough. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Be aware at night time, everything gets worse, and rescue procedures are considered riskier and more complex. It’s not worth the risk!
Following these ten sailing safety tips will help you prepare for emergencies while sailing and have an enjoyable crewed yacht charter for your family. Remember, safety always comes first!
Special Thank you to Patrick Jenkins, Sailing Adviser in Cowes, England, for writing and submitting this article to www.bvisail.com. Patrick is very passionate about anything related to sailing and traveling and loves writing about these subjects. You can follow him on Twitter: @patrickjsailing
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