The Complete Checklist Before You Set Sail

Going sailing is many people’s idea of a great pastime, and literally millions of avid sailors partake in their passion every day. But passion for getting out on the water should also be tempered with safety, messing around in a boat but not knowing what you are doing can be a really dangerous thing to do. That is why before you set sail you must fulfill all the required safety procedures as follows:

Pre-Departure

 Once you have decided upon where you are going to sail you must do some pre-departure checks these include:

  • Weather report
  • Tides and currents check
  • Give your intended itinerary to a friend, and when you are likely to return
  • Check if your passengers can swim and issue life jackets
  • Designate a second in command if you take ill
  • Check horn
  • Ensure fire extinguishers are operational
  • Check on all navigation lights
  • Make sure radio is operational
  • Engage GPS
  • Ensure medical kit is fully kitted out

There are other much more technical aspects that you want to ensure are correctly operational such as engine condition and if the bilges are operational. You should follow your boating manual to see if you have adhered to the requirements.

On the Water

On the Water
On the Water

There are many issues to address while you are actually on the water. Firstly, everybody is out to have a good time, that is what sailing is all about. But if you incur problems because of your own fault then there is nobody left to blame but you. Remember that water and alcohol do not mix well, the sea can change in an instant and if your passengers have consumed too much alcohol, they will have many problems simply standing up. Always beware of what the weather is up to, if you have the technical equipment then check it frequently, if not watch for clouds forming and wind changes. It is also imperative that you keep an eye on the fuel consumption, there is a rule of thumb that sailors use which is a rule of three. One third to be used for the outbound trip, and one third for the home voyage, with always a third left in reserve. Always pay attention to your radio, and particularly listen for emergency and distress calls. You must be prepared to offer help to any other vessel that is in trouble. Possibly one of the most important factors of making you day out sailing as enjoyable as possible is to know the waters that you will be sailing on. If you are not familiar with the area then always refer to local charts and stay in the channels that are indicated on them.

Returning Home

It is especially important after having a successful day’s sailing that you return home properly and follow the correct docking procedures. There is not only a strong boating etiquette to mooring your craft, but also the rules are there for the protection of not just your boat but the others in the dock.

Returning Home
Returning Home

This all sounds pretty serious stuff, and in a way it is. But if you follow these recommendations, there is no reason why every time you take to the water it cannot be a great fun time. 

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