This year, numerous people will hit the waters again and today our objective is still and will always be to allow you to practice your passion in the best conditions! Every sailor must know and respect the rules that will prevent them from endangering their own life and that of their crew.
First and foremost, it is important to remember that the skipper is responsible for all passengers on board.
Before going to sea
- Tell someone close to you about your sailing schedule, the changes you plan to make and who will be accompanying you.
- Check the weather conditions. Find out about the direction and strength of the wind, the tides, the currents. You will find all this information at the harbor master’s office. Regularly check the weather, the router and the anchorage/port areas in order to avoid contact with other boats.
- Appoint a skipper, who will be responsible for safety and who will have to choose the safest option during the navigation. Don’t forget to bring the boating license.
- For any offshore navigation, bring paper charts. Indeed, in case of a power failure, you must be able to find your way on the water to reach your destination.
- Make sure you bring enough drinking water for the navigation. Also take something to eat on board, trust us, you’ll get hungry!
- Don’t forget the bring protection against the sun: sunscreen, sunglasses, caps but also warm clothes. A gust of wind is sometimes quick to arrive.
- Bring clothes adapted to sailing (warm clothes, non-slip shoes, hats or caps…) and a change of clothes because you’ll likely get wet! Make a list of the essentials to put in your cruise bag.
- Think of the essentials to fight against seasickness. Cold, Hunger, Fatigue, Chills and “Thirst” are the 5’s rule. Well-known by sailors, these 5 elements promote seasickness.
- Make sure the boat is in good condition and check the condition of the safety equipment. Check the fuel level, as well as the spare can, engine oil and coolant. Check your mooring line and its anchor. Also consider checking the watertightness of the through-hulls, the condition of the navigation lights and the emergency stop switch on board. Make a complete inventory of all safety equipment before leaving. Don’t hesitate to report any defective equipment when you check in.
- For motorboats: Pay attention to the fuel consumption of your engine. Fuel shortages are common. Check the state of your tanks at the start, your hourly consumption and the remaining fuel. And don’t forget to attach the kill cord to your wrist to stop the engine in case you fall overboard!
The day of your sea outing
- Respect the markers and speed limits.
- Lifejackets should be sized to fit each person, especially for children under twelve years of age. Maintain your lifejacket on a regular basis and check harnesses and lanyards as well.
- Share the sea. Think about the rules of priority even though the sea is as far as the eye can see. Respect the safety distances and zones (swimming, fishing, diving…) Do not approach swimmers, the propellers of your boat are sharp and can inflict fatal injuries.
- Keep an eye on the weather, even while at sea. Depending on the destination, it can change in an instant.
- If you are several on the boat, in the event of a delicate maneuver, group the passengers who are not participating in the maneuvers inside the boat.
- Close engine blocks, don’t leave keys lying around, put away tools or equipment you don’t need.
- Sail responsibly. Preserve the seabed by choosing sandy bottoms and areas indicated on a map for anchoring the boat. Store your waste on board until your next stop. Respect the fishing regulations (periods, size and minimum weight of the catch…)
Don’t forget the safety equipment in case of a problem
- From life jackets to VHF to life rafts to lights, the list of essential equipment is long! Fortunately, it is detailed in a text called Division 240 where you can find a detailed list of the necessary elements.