Sailing Safety Tips

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10 Essential Sailing Safety Tips – BVI & Caribbean Yacht Charters

Sailing is a fun and invigorating activity that involves a mix of freedom, relaxation, intensity and thrill. It offers a great opportunity to explore the world and start a new adventure. While fun may be your main reason for sailing, safety should be your number 1 priority. Before you set sail it’s very important to be aware of the dangers at sea and how to prevent and overcome them.

Here are a few safety tips:

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  1. Make sure you are equipped with fully serviced safety equipment which includes: first aid kit, survival supplies, life jackets, safety harnesses, horns & whistles. These are crucial items to have in case of emergency as your life depends on them.
  2. Check the weather: although it’s not always accurate, it’s still helpful to know what to expect. The met office: marine weather provides a range of weather information including navigation warnings.
  3. Know your limitations: this is essential. For example, if you’re not experienced at all, hire a crewed charter rather than a bareboat charter. If you’re somewhat experienced, then only sail within your own ability. Now is not the time to show off as this could cost you your life. So try not to overdo things!
  4. Learn and practice the ‘man overboard’ procedures: every second is crucial when someone goes over overboard. You need to be prepared at all times in order to save that person as quickly as possible. Practicing your procedures will allow this to come as second nature to you.
  5. Have a float plan: always let a friend or a family member know where about you’re going to be sailing and when you expect to return. Try to add as much details as possible such as the time you are due to arrive. This will allow them to signal the alarm in case you are delayed.
  6. Dress appropriately: bring suitable sailing clothing. What you need depends on factors such as season and type of sailing (inshore, coastal, offshore or ocean sailing). The rule of thumb is to wear breathable and waterproof clothing. You may also want to think of additional clothing such as neoprene balaclavas to keep your head warm and appropriate footwear.
  7. Learn how to use your GPS: you’d be surprised to know how many people have problems in using a GPS properly. Using a GPS may be straight-forward but in case of emergency, you don’t have time to test the device. Make sure you know how to view your current position in case you’ll need to pass it to the coast guard. You can try this out before you sail to make sure you really know how to use it.
  8. 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.
  9. Sailing education: do as much research as possible before you set sail. Read, watch videos, get in touch with sailing advisers and book safe-boating classes. Knowledge is power and everything you learn will prove useful sooner or later. You might learn something that will save your life!
  10. Don’t be a hero: when things get rough, swallow your pride and call for help as soon as possible. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Be aware at night time, everything gets worse and rescue procedures are considerably riskier and more difficult. It’s not worth the risk!

Following these 10 sailing safety tips will help you prepare for emergencies and have an enjoyable sailing experience. Remember, safety always comes first!

Special Thank you to Patrick Jenkins, Sailing Adviser in Cowes, England for writing and submitting this article to  Patrick is very passionate about anything related to sailing and travelling and loves writing about these subjects. You can follow him on Twitter: @patrickjsailing

BVI & Caribbean Yacht Charters, professional yacht charter brokers, specialize in crewed and bareboat charters in the British Virgin Islands and throughout the Caribbean

Contact BVI & Caribbean Yacht Charters, a division of CKIM Group at (321) 777-1707 to book your next Sailing Vacation.

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