When we venture on our holidays many of us are all for experiencing some local culture, having fun or up for the challenge of trying something new. In all that excitement while planning leisure activities, we seem to forget about basics of safety and accident prevention. Here are some tips from sailing experts on how to make your voyage safer and more fun.
Good captain is the main footing while sailing. Whether you're hiring a crew or going on a journey with your friends, it's important to find people who work well in a team. Person responsible for all activity aboard, including saftey of the crew and/or passengers is the skipper. Skipper ordes need to be followed in order to avoid accidents as well as to enjoy the sailing. Remember, there can be one skipper on the sailboat and only one captain.
Keep your eyes wide open behind those sunglasses. It’s the responsibility of each crewmember to pay attention on what’s going on around the boat topside and below decks. Also, keep in mind that all of you need to be aware of basic sailing skills and the emergency procedures. Life vests, fire extinguishers, horns, flares to use as distress signals and a radar reflector are just parts of safety kit that are “must have” on a sailboat. No one wants to think something awful will happen or someone will get hurt, but it is always a good thing to practice drills with you crew in a case of someone falling overboard or when handling the rough seas.
Learn some sailing techniques. Body position is very important because it affects boat balance. So, the way you distribute your body weight while sailing will affect how smoothly your trip will go. When you’re up or downwind, position your body so your body weight is well balanced. If it’s too far back, that will slow you down. On the other hand, if it’s too far forward, it could cause the bow to nosedive. Basics of tacking, steering to a new course, sailing upwind and understanding the waterway rules are also very important things to know. Perhaps the crucial one to learn is docking. If you are docking at an unfamiliar marina, find out everything about it: size, weather, tidal conditions, current and wind.
Don’t forget about the lights and know when it’s your turn. Your sailboard is required to have lights and they need to be seen from all directions. Sailboats usually have right of way in all water when they are moving under wind power. Things are different when the sailboat uses motor. But still use common sense. If you see another boat and it appears that its skipper does not know the waterway rules, give it right of way. No need to cause the accident although you do have waterway rules on your side.
Stay well hydrated and keep seasickness away. Stay away from too much caffeine and alcohol, eat small and light meals and remember to board rested. Exhaustion seems to be a common factor among those who suffer from seasickness and who also cause more boat accidents. Put your bottle of water near your side and don’t forget to use sun protection no matter what.
Remember to enjoy. Recreational sailing is one of the most enjoyable water sports in the world. Yacht clubs often provide swimming pools, tennis courts, a restaurant and bar which are good places to meet many sail boaters. Perhaps you’re out there just for fun, but you still must know how to move around the boat and adjust sails according to the wind and where you want to go. And there’s no better way to familiarise yourself with sailing terminology, tips and tricks thus becoming a part of the sailing communities around the globe.
Source: Live Strong magazine