Safety Measures to Be Taken While Sailing

Another great article sent by Penny Cooper.

Sailors often heed to their ominous instincts before setting sail. A sailor must take protective measures while sailing and take charge to rescue the crew in case of an emergency. Given below are some useful tips to be exercised while sailing. 

Before you set sail 

Make note of the position at which the crew member is working and the time. Instruct the crew member to change his position according to the change of current.  Distribute floats among the crew members for use. Floats enclose the person in a localized area and minimize injuries in emergency situations.   Make a crew member responsible to monitor the crew member overboard and identify him during a rescue operation. In case of a small crew, a crew member might have to release the jib and independently handle the main sail.

Emergency measures in case of mishaps 

Perform the “Quick Stop Method” to bring back a member back on board. In this method, the boat speed is immediately reduced by turning the boat in the windward direction and moving at an average speed, while remaining close to the victim.

When performed correctly, the Quick Stop Method is effective because it is fast way of pulling back the crew member on board. The only disadvantage of this method is that it requires the boat to jibe which is difficult in case of strong winds. 

Quick Turn Method is the conventional response to retrieve the victim in an emergency. In this strategy, boat jibe is not required. The quick turn is symbolized by the figure 8. It can be done at any sail point but it has the demerit of drawing the boat further away from the victim. 

For both emergency measures, provide the victim with flotation devices if he doesn’t have them already. Buoyant objects like life rings and cockpit cushions can be thrown into the water. Aside from aiding the victim, the floats help to keep sight of the victim. 

Other safety measures  

Safety equipment such as flotation devices should also be at hand to retrieve the victim successfully. It is better if the crewmen wear life jackets while on board. An ideal life jacket should be reflective and have the boat’s name imprinted. 

A whistle should also be inserted in the lifejacket. The whistle should not have balls, because when filled with water, they become hard to blow. A flare must also be included in the life jacket to flash signal lights in case of poor visibility. 

The boat must have a life raft in a place where it can be easily retrieved. The life raft should be checked for faults and kept in working condition. Inflate it now and then to ascertain whether it will function properly at an emergency situation. Keep a ditch bag at an accessible location in your boat that has water and a stock of rations for emergency.

Though sailing is a risky venture, it can be safe and thrilling when safety measures are adopted. Crew men are required to maintain their calm at all situations and stay vigilant at all times. 

Penny is a professional associated with The Boating Hub, a website that offers extensive online sailing lessons.

Thanks, Penny, for this information.  May we suggest that all boats are equipped with first aid kits and supplies, just in case of minor injuries while sailing?