Top Tips for Safer Sailing

The sheer pleasure of being out on the open water is a joy at any age, which may explain why there are nearly 12 million recreational boating vessels registered in the U.S. The UK, too, has seen an increase in boat ownership too, particularly with sailing yachts and powerboats. With the Iguana enabling generations to create new sailing memories together,you may well be planning your first family trip. If so, it’s vital to put safety first as you explore new horizons together.
The importance of preparation
While the U.S. Coastguard are pleased to report a decrease in boating accidents, they still emphasize the importance of being prepared.  Ensure that everyone on board is wearing a well-fitting life jacket at all times, and that you pack a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, ropes and torches. Check the weather reports before you go and consult the local sailing laws so that you are knowledgeable about the conditions and rules ahead. Alcohol remains the leading cause of boating accidents, so plan ahead and ensure that you’re sober and fit to sail.
Finding your “sea-legs”
If you or a family member is a sailing novice, it may take a while to find your ‘sea-legs.’ According to the U.S. Library of Medicine, approximately 1 in 3 people is highly susceptible to motion sickness, and when feeling unwell it can be tempting to isolate yourself, remove any restrictive clothing and lean over the side for some fresh air. Advise everyone on board not to do this; instead, take someone with you to watch for your safety and never remove your life jacket. There are a number of preventative measures which can reduce sickness at sea; from sea bands to skin patches, if you think you’re likely to be affected, bring some potential solutions on board. 

Talking it through

It’s well worth talking through procedures with your passengers so that everyone knows what to do in an emergency. In the event that someone falls overboard, be ready to shut off the motor and propellers immediately. Remind everyone how to float in their life jacket and use a whistle to attract attention. It’s also important that you ask a friend or relative ashore to be a point of emergency contact, and to raise the alarm if your boat does not return when planned. The RYA also offer a free app to track your location and alert HM Coastguard if needed.

Boating trips are an absolute pleasure, especially when shared with loved ones.  By putting safety first, you can relax and create memories together, knowing that in the worst case, everyone is as protected and well prepared as possible.  Sail in safety for family fun that everyone will treasure.


Written by Karoline Gore