If you’ve decided to brave the icy climes and take your boat out this winter, it’s advisable to undertake the necessary preparations so that you stay warm, dry and safe.
Here are some of the essential pieces of equipment you may wish to consider when taking to the seas in the chilly winter months.
We shiver inland over winter but people tend to feel the cold more on the water, so if you’re thinking of postponing your boat storage and winter lay-up, make sure you wrap up warm so you feel comfortable and reduce the risk of contracting hypothermia. Maintain body temperature by wearing multiple layers and take a hat to trap precious heat rather than allowing it to escape.
The winter season is not only cold but also rainy and windy. Make sure you take lots of spare clothes in case you do get soaked through – that way you can change into something warm and dry as soon as possible so you are more comfortable and to reduce the chance of illness. Extra deck shoes can also prove useful for the same reason.
With daylight hours at an all-time low in winter, a rechargeable torch is absolutely crucial. While you may not plan to be out after dark, you may find that weather conditions or unforeseen events force you to change your plans. Gloomy and overcast days can also reduce visibility, making a torch an even more valuable possession.
A ready-made hot drink at hand can make all the difference when you’re feeling the cold, so make sure you take a Thermos flask on board with tea, coffee or another hot beverage that takes your fancy. They’re also great for soup, a fantastic warming winter food.
When you learn how to sail, you will soon discover that unusually low tides are not uncommon in the winter months so you might find you are out longer than expected. For this reason, you should take enough canned food with you in case of emergency – aim for at least two day’s worth.
The wet weather can make the deck slippery, turning it into a perilous hazard. Make sure your boat is well stocked with lifebuoy rings and lifejackets so that you are prepared if you or a fellow sailor are sent unexpectedly into the water.
Many people enjoy winter sailing because of the peace and quiet and the sense of escapism. Being prepared can enhance the experience by giving you peace of mind, so now is the time to act!