The best sailing experiences are those which are done in a safe fashion and in the right conditions – but what are the real essentials of safety at sea?
Sailing can be a tricky hobby to participate in if it is not done in a safe way – the sea can be tremendously powerful and should be respected.
As a result, sailors should be confident in the water, and relatively capable swimmers – although it is always advisable to stay with a vessel in an emergency.
Knowing how sailing at sea works in terms of laws and regulations is of vital importance, as a sailor never wants to be the cause of an accident or dispute.
Part of this involves knowing which regulations apply, especially in situations where a collision could be a possibility.
However, many collisions can be avoided by the quick actions of those on board and sailing lessons will teach sailors the basics of what to do.
It’s always important to know your surroundings and to be aware of any other vessels, or indeed swimmers, that might be nearby.
Incorporated into the makeup of any sailing lesson will be a focus on safety – in exactly the same way as learning to drive carries a strong safety focus.
In many ways the same sorts of rules apply – stupidity in a car is not tolerated so why should similar behaviour occur in a boat?
Any boating courses will stress this point, but it is down to the individual sailor to ensure they do not put their own – or anybody else’s – health in danger unnecessarily.
From the basics of how to handle a boat, experience should then be developed through time out on the water – a factor that should also slowly build confidence.
Knowing the first aid essentials is also essential – some would even argue that sailors should not even attempt to sail without prior first aid training.
Marine first aid courses will provide details of how to handle virtually any sort of incident that could happen either at sea or on the shore.
This could include dressing basic wounds, stemming blood flow and dealing with any situations where potential trauma might be involved.
At the same time, it will also make sailors aware of the necessary emergency services to contact depending on the type of accident or issue that they face.
The fact remains that accidents can still happen – even when the maximum care is taken – so knowing what to do is essential.
Survival courses will provide further details of emergency situations, including how to recover people from the water and what to do if you become stranded at sea.
From knowing what to do in the event of a boat capsizing or a man going overboard, to how to give medical assistance to those in need – all aspects are covered.
While the scenarios might appear unlikely, it is always better to be as prepared as possible.
Weather conditions can change in an instant, so it’s important to be prepared for any eventuality – checking conditions before sailing can reduce the risks of encountering negative conditions.
Emergency situations will always be unexpected but having the correct safety equipment in place is also important.
This may include the necessary lighting, navigation tools and life jackets. While risks cannot be entirely prevented, they can always be mitigated in some way.
Taking note of the seven deadly sailing sins and doing all that is possible to avoid them is also encouraged.