Sail Safe, Know The Rules, Boat Responsibly
Across the world, people are heading down to the sea in boats, many of them are seasoned hands who know the sea, those with experience have a lot to share with those who have not, new boating converts should listen carefully and beware.
Before hitting the water,
Take a well-recognized course of training with an organisation that will get you hands-on with a boat early on once you know the rules, learn the rules of the sea, learn how to handle a boat well before venturing out on your own or with buddies.
Wet suits will keep your body temperature up when on (or in) the water, they can also protect your skin from the painful excesses of sunburn which is known to carry a greater risk of skin cancer. In addition, a high visibility wet suit will increase the chance of you being found after falling overboard.
Hope for the best but plan for the worst.
To protect your own safety and that of those who may become involved if you get into trouble, make a plan and let people know what you intend to do, where you want to go and when to expect you back, and stick to it as closely as you can.
Essential equipment required,
Always wear a tested and approved life saver, and make sure that your passengers do likewise, especially children. Carry a life-saving kit with you including First Aid kit, torch and whistle.
Plan your route and expected timings including return time and stick to the plan, people who go looking for you need to know where to look.
Carry some food and drink, carry plenty of water especially in hot climates.
Stay within safe limits,
Inexperienced boaters can over estimate the time it can take to get to a location and even more so to get back to the home port. Before trying to sail your own boat to distant places why not work as a deckhand for someone who knows the seas and learns from them before venturing into danger? Good crew hands are always welcome.
Learn about weather and prevailing winds, offshore winds, mid -ocean winds, tides and sea state and how the weather conditions can change, even if you are sailing in the warm Mediterranean, The Americas, The Carribean, or the seas around Europe.
All sailors can take a handheld weather station with them that will inform them of incoming weather, how to escape to a safe port or marina, how far to safety and a good deal more extremely important information;
Taking simple sensible precautions is the mark of a good boater.
Author: Roger Langley