Sailing is fun and it can provide a lot of great time and amazing memories but it can become really stressful and dangerous if we take safety for granted. So, no matter how experienced you are, or how well you know your boat, some of the basic safety rules you’ll have to follow. That way you’ll keep the chances of ruining your time on the water to a minimum and concentrate on the fun part.
In this article, you’ll learn some of the basic safety tips and advice. They are not complicated, and before you put on your sunglasses and sail away take a little time and effort to learn and do but are more than useful.
Modern times are filled with information coming from all sides which often makes us forget something important. To prevent that from happening while you’re getting ready to sail, make a checklist of things you have to do, buy and bring with you in your backpack. Also, add some of the basic rules to it.
Once you’ve written down all the things you need to do, simply follow the list. If you remember something down the line, add it. When done, check it. It will make your whole organizing experience a lot easier and will also help you be sure you haven’t forgotten anything necessary – whether it is something material or some of the safety rules.
Know The Weather
The first thing you have to do before you sail is to make sure the weather is good. Check the local forecast from multiple sources – TV and radio stations combined with the websites. If the weather is going to be bad, the best thing to do is to reschedule your sailing. If the weather change happens while you’re still on the water – like if you hear the thunder, see the dark clouds, waves getting bigger or the wind becomes stronger – head back to the marina and get off. And if you don’t manage to get back before the storm hits, make sure you have enough supplies with you in case you’re stuck there for a while, and most importantly – stay calm.
Respect The Others And Use Common Sense
Don’t go too fast, especially when you’re in a crowded area. Don’t lose your focus and pay attention to what is going on around you. Avoid getting in the way of larger vessels. Remember, it is easier for you to turn and steer with your small boat than it is for bigger ships. If you see some kind of warning, buoys, or navigational aids, respect it and follow the guide. It will keep you safe.
Assign An Assistant
It is best to sail in company, especially if someone besides you knows how to sail and how to handle and operate the boat. If an accident happens and the main navigator is injured or prevented from controlling the boat, it is important to have someone who can follow the rules and get the boat and passengers back to the shore.
Make A Trip Plan And Give It To Someone Else
It is not uncommon to be surprised by bad weather or to have some kind of mechanical problem that will keep you anchored out on the water longer than you’ve planned. It is always a good idea to have your trip plan printed or written down in a few copies and handed over to a family member or a local marina staff. Make sure you let someone know where you’re going and how long you’ll be away.
What To Include In A Float Plan
The purpose of the float plan is to provide all the needed information in case something goes wrong. It includes the following:
– name, address, and phone number of trip organizer/leader
– name and phone number of all passengers
– boat type, name, and registration information
– trip itinerary
– types of communication equipment
– types of signal equipment
Learn How To Use Lifejacket
Lifejackets are basically the essential part of sailing, especially if they’re not experienced in it. Statistics say that most drowning victims don’t have their lifejacket on. Make sure you have enough of them for every person on board and they have it on all time (even the dogs and kids). Especially if the weather is getting worse and the sea becomes rough.
Do Not Drink While Sailing
Drinking while you’re sailing is a big ‘no-no’. There are lots of factors that could affect your judgment – the sun, the wind, the water – it is best to keep any other possible distraction away. Be responsible and don’t let a bad call ruin your time out there. When you’re done, head to the nearest tavern and enjoy a relaxing bottle of rum.
Learn To Swim And Know Your Passengers
Sailing includes being around the water a lot, so it is probably not a bad idea to know how to swim. If you don’t know how to do it but are determined to give sailing a try, visit your local pool or even American Red Cross. They probably have training and swimming courses for all ages, so don’t be shy and learn how to swim before you head to open waters on your boat. It is also good to know if your passengers are swimmers or not.
Take A Course And Learn
Whether you’re just a beginner or have years of experience in sailing some rules you have to know at any time, especially when it comes to safety. By attending a boating course, you’ll learn the basics of sailing and how to take care of your boat, and also how to act and be prepared for every possible thing that could happen while you’re on the water.
There are lots of courses you could find online, and if you would like to do it in person, visit your local marina and ask their staff for advice or recommendation.
Do The Vessel Safety Check
Make sure your boat is in a good condition before you sail away and that it is working properly. Also, visit the nearest US Coast Guard office and ask for a free security check. They will examine your boat and check if everything is alright. Also, you’ll get tips and recommendations on how to stay safe on your boat.
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The only thing better than a good experience is the chance to repeat it. If you want to create amazing memories not just for yourself but also for all of your passengers, you’ll have to make sure it will go on safely. Accidents happen all the time, sometimes we can’t stop or prevent them, but what we can do is to at least do our best to try and keep the trouble away. Follow these rules and your sailing time should be only about the fun.