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Points of Sailing

The course on which a boat is sailing can be described by its angle to the wind, not to be confused with its compass...

Top five windvane self steering installation questions

Top five windvane self steering installation questions answered by Sarah Curry of Hydrovane International Marine, courtesy of Viki Moore from Island Cruising NZ

Rudders and steering systems – Part 2

One thing all rudders have in common is that they have three main parts that need to be checked: the rudder, or a steerable drive leg in the case of many power boats; the system that joins the rudder to the steering; the steering control itself.

Antifouling for leisure boats – Part 4

Applying antifouling. Antifouling is best applied on a dry, calm day. It is best to apply the antifouling in the middle of the day to ensure the hull is dry and as warm as possible.

Nautical paper charts – a reminder of the basics

The nautical chart is an indispensable tool for navigation. A chart is a graphic representation of an area of the sea which might also include coastlines, estuaries and islands. All cruising leisure boats should carry up-to-date paper charts.

Boat gas system maintenance

There are correct types of hose for marine plumbing, sewerage, exhaust, cooling and gas and all hoses should be checked regularly for wear and deterioration.

Essential Yachting + Power Boat Safety Briefing

Yachting Safety Briefing   Down below Lifejackets and harnesses - fitting, when to wear, clipping on Gas - risks,...

Essential boat engine checklist

Boat engine checklist Engine oil level check Even if you have checked it previously, confirming the engine oil level is up...

Essential Knots: Figure of eight

Essential Knots: Figure of eight Use: Stopper knot, prevents a rope from being pulled through a hole e.g. through a block or...

Leaking decks

Leaking decks are perceived as a nuisance by some boat owners, but if leaks are ignored a much more serious situation may well be developing, especially in the case of boats with balsa or plywood deck cores. So deck leaks do need to be investigated and dealt with.

Marine toilets – care and maintenance

There are a number of different types of marine toilet, or heads. They fall into one of three categories – manual, electric and vacuum, the most common being the manual, hand pumped type. These have double acting piston-pumps which both discharge the waste and flush the toilet with sea water.

Diesel engine winterisation

An inactive boat engine needs to be protected from corrosion during the winter, caused by the rising humidity levels through the cold months and the salty coastal air. This applies whether the boat is left afloat or hauled out over the winter. Read here about the two important stages of winterisaton for a diesel boat engine.

Boat engine fuel system

If engines are installed and serviced correctly then most marine engines are very reliable, but one of the most important parts of the engine to check and service is the fuel system.

Navigation safety: a quick-reference mobile app to learn the ColRegs NavLights and Shapes

 Safety at SeaSafety at sea will always remains a topical and important subject that will no doubt dominate the syllabuses of nautical...

Boat plumbing maintenance & troubleshooting

A boat’s fresh water system needs annual maintenance to keep it in good condition. Some boats have far more complex systems than others, with pressurised hot and cold water, associated pumps, an accumulator, calorifier and pressure valves, all to keep a boat owner busy.

Wooden Hulls – Part 2

It is important to ensure the essential hull maintenance of a wooden boat is done, even if you are paying others to look after your boat for you. The priority is to prevent rot from taking hold. The protective layers of paint and varnish over wood are far more critical than on GRP boats, where the topsides are painted more for cosmetic reasons.

Rig check – how to prevent failure at sea

Regular rig checks prevent the risk of mast and rigging failure at sea. This includes regular rig inspections of the spars, ...

Competent crew skills: arriving and leaving a berth

Skilled boat handling is needed when entering or leaving harbour. Crew tasks include preparing the mooring lines and fenders...

The give-way hierarchy at sea – who gives way to whom?

Whatever their size or type, all skippers have a responsibility to avoid collisions with other boats at sea.  It is...

Weather forecasting tips

Most weather forecasts present a general picture of what to expect in your area over a given period of time. We rely on such...

Essential Knots: Clove hitch

Essential Knots: Clove hitch Use: Tying a rope to posts, bollards, rings or a guardrail. Step 1. Make a turn around the object and lay...

Care of boat batteries

Boat batteries need to be kept properly charged, which means never allowing the batteries to discharge below 50 per cent of their total charge. As well as the batteries themselves, keeping a boat’s charging systems in good shape will also help to keep batteries topped up to a higher level of charge.

Rudders and steering systems – Part 1

Rudders and steering systems. A rudder is one of the most critical parts of a boat. Rudder failure is a common occurrence on neglected or overworked boats and a very unpleasant and potentially dangerous thing to happen when you are out at sea.

Galvanic and electrolytic corrosion

Galvanic corrosion is an electrochemical reaction between two or more different metals, in the presence of an electrolyte (note salt water is a good electrolyte).

How to Avoid Collisions At Sea With The ColRegs

      Every Skipper Needs Accurate Knowledge of the IRPCS ColRegs As a responsible skipper it is every skipper’s duty to learn and apply the IRPCS...

Welcome to the Safe Skipper website.

 

Safe Skipper is run by boating enthusiasts who also have a background in publishing and TV production, design and app development. As well as creating great content for the website, we’ve developed a range of popular boating apps that allow you to get safely out on the water whilst having essential information to hand, covering International ColRegs: Nav Lights & Shapes, Rules of the Road, Buoyage & Lights to knot tying, nautical chart symbols and first aid at sea – all information available to you when on the water, on your phone or tablet, when you need it.

We’re regularly adding new articles to the site, hope you’ll bookmark us and visit again soon.

Before you go, scroll down to our boating quizzes and check your boating knowledge!

Sail boat rig checks – Part 1

Sailing boat rigs need to be checked regularly to reduce the risk of rig failure at sea. In part one of Sail boat rig checks we run through a series of useful checks that owners and skippers can carry out.

Essential Boat Safety Briefing

Skippers Responsibilities Skippers are obliged to give a safety briefing to the crew even if they are a regular crew. At...

Dripless shaft seals

Dripless shaft seals are designed to completely stop water from entering a boat’s hull via the stern tube. There are two main types of dripless seals known as face seals and lip seals which many boat manufacturers now fit to production boats.

How to operate a winch

Winches are drum shaped mechanical devices used to handle halyards, sheets and control lines. One of the important crew...

Boat Improvements

My Boat - practical improvements Author - Mike Rossiter Most boat owners who have had their craft for any length of time will have made what they...

Sending distress signals

In an emergency situation at sea, it is a top priority is to know how to send and receive emergency radio calls and alert others of your predicament. Likewise, if you receive a distress signal, you must be ready to go to the help of others.

Essential yacht tender safety for skippers and crew

Essential yacht tender safety - the dangers inherent in using a dinghy to get ashore from a moored or anchored yacht are all too easily...

An explanation of the IALA maritime buoyage systems – IALA A and IALA B

What are the differences between the two IALA buoyage systems, IALA Region A and IALA Region B, and where are they used?   As recently as the 1970s...

Sailing & Motoring in Fog

Sailing & Motoring in Fog You can only measure the visibility accurately if sailing & motoring in fog when you have...

Propeller care and maintenance

Propellers are complicated and repairs should be done by specialists but owners can carry out checks and some routine maintenance themselves when the boat is in the boatyard. A propeller is critical to a boat’s performance, fuel consumption and ride, so it makes sense to keep a propeller in good working order.

I have just downloaded and am using ColRegs Nav Lights & Shapes app, a brilliant training and reference device

Verified user

Instructor

Beautifully produced and very simple to use, a cool learning tool

Charlie

Sailor

Nav Lights & Shapes app – downloaded by 1000s of seafarers worldwide. Just one of our popular boating apps to download from the appstores for Apple and Android devices.

First Aid Afloat – how to deal with a fracture at sea

First Aid Afloat A closed fracture does not break through the skin. An open fracture is when the bone punctures it. A...

How diesel engines work

The basic principle of a diesel engine is less complex than that of a petrol engine. No spark plug or ignition system is needed, making the basic diesel engine a comparatively straightforward system that results in fewer faults and has lower maintenance costs than a petrol engine.

Essential Knots: Figure of eight

Essential Knots: Figure of eight Use: Stopper knot, prevents a rope from being pulled through a hole e.g. through a block or...

ColRegs – avoiding collisions at sea

ColRegs - avoiding collisions at sea ColRegs Rule 8: Action to avoid collision (a) Any action taken to avoid collision shall...

What boating skills should you have before you buy a yacht?

Many people dream of owning a yacht and sailing off into the blue yonder. What boating skills should you have before you buy...

Understanding marine sealants & adhesives

Sealants, adhesives and adhesive sealantsThere is a bewildering variety of sealants, adhesives and even adhesive sealants available for...

Weather forecasting tips

Most weather forecasts present a general picture of what to expect in your area over a given period of time. We rely on such...

Wooden Hull Repairs

While wooden boat hull maintenance is mostly straightforward, it is always a good idea to take expert advice on any repair job needed doing to a wooden boat, unless you have done the job before and know what you are doing.

Tacking a sailing boat

Tacking is the sailing manoeuvre used to change a boat's direction through an oncoming wind. Tacking a sailing boat calls...

First Aid Afloat – fish spine injury

First Aid Afloat - Here is what to do if somebody stands on a fish spine: • Check for dangers. Is it safe for you to enter...

Propeller care and maintenance

Propellers are complicated and repairs should be done by specialists but owners can carry out checks and some routine maintenance themselves when the boat is in the boatyard. A propeller is critical to a boat’s performance, fuel consumption and ride, so it makes sense to keep a propeller in good working order.

Sector lights, directional lights, leading lights – how do they differ?

Sector lights, directional lights and leading lights guide vessels safely through hazardous waters or narrow channels at...

Sterndrive maintenance

Sterndrives are a popular form of propulsion in the powerboat market, but require a fair amount of care and maintenance. The main factors to be aware of are salt water corrosion, lubrication and regular inspection of the bellows, the condition of which is vital to prevent water from entering into the hull.

Essential Knots: Reef knot

Essential Knots: Reef knot Use: Tying two ends of rope together, often used for tying up a bundle of loose sail around the boom. Step...

First Aid Afloat – jellyfish stings

  Wherever you are boating in the world I am sure you will be using a pilot guide to aid your navigation. Often in the...

An explanation of the IALA maritime buoyage systems – IALA A and IALA B

What are the differences between the two IALA buoyage systems, IALA Region A and IALA Region B, and where are they used?   As recently as the 1970s...

Points of Sailing

The course on which a boat is sailing can be described by its angle to the wind, not to be confused with its compass...

Five dangers a vessel may encounter at sea

What are the main dangers a vessel may face at sea and what should skippers do to reduce the risk of these happening?

Common medical emergencies at sea

A medical emergency aboard a boat at sea requires immediate attention to ensure the safety of the casualty and the crew in general. The skipper needs to know which crew members, if any, have had medical training or have a first aid qualification. All boats should carry first aid handbooks to help an untrained crew cope with a medical emergency.

Boating emergency – how to broadcast a MAYDAY emergency call

How to broadcast a MAYDAY emergency call   How to broadcast a MAYDAY emergency call if a vessel or person is in grave...