What sailing tips could you put into play today to make your small sailboat a safer platform for her sailing crew? Do your inexperienced crew members know the body motions they must use for safety at sea? Follow this simple sailing safety advice and pass it along to your crew.
Falling overboard remains the #1 nightmare of sailors worldwide. Serious injury from the fall could render a person unconscious. Darkness and heavy seas hamper recovery efforts. If coastal sailing, you must set up the deck to aid the crew in moving about the boat.
Rig jacklines from a stout bow cleat back to a large stern cleat on both sides of the boat. Wear a safety harness if alone on deck, at nighttime, or during heavy sailing weather.
Equip harnesses with dual tethers armed with carbiner or quick-release hooks (such as those made by Wichard). Clip on to the windward jackline to move fore and aft. Keep the crew inside the cockpit as much as possible.
Practice these three basic sailing body motions for safety at sea in any sailing weather. When the heavy stuff hits the fan, you and your sailing crew will be ready:
- Grasp a Handhold
Hold onto something whenever aboard, whether at the dock, at anchor or underway. Grab lifelines, grab rails, sailboat mast or boom.
It’s rare to find proper overhead grab rails down in the cabin. Mount several between the galley and forward v-berth. Handicap grab bars provide a good alternative to teak handrails at a fraction of the cost. Cover them with rope fancy work for a practical, attractive, salty look.
- Look Before You Move
Look down, then forward before you move. Step over headsail sheets, winches, rope clutch gear, deck cleats and slippery boat sails. Keep lines coiled and out of the way to prevent injury.
- Squat Below Upper Lifeline Level
Keep your knees below the level of the uppermost lifeline. If thrown against the lifeline, this offers more area to brace your body. Squat like a linebacker to move fore or aft. This lowers your center of gravity toward the deck. In heavy weather sailing, lower your center of gravity even more. Crawl on your belly if necessary.
Pass these sailing tips along to your sailing crew today to keep them safe and sound on the waters of the world. You will enjoy stress-free sailing once you do–wherever in the world you choose to go cruise!