Select Page

Boat decks and superstructure

The deck of a boat is constantly exposed to the elements and should be inspected on an annual basis. Particular attention needs to be given to the overall condition of deck fittings such as the stanchions, cleats and chainplates.

Hourly Checks when sailing or motoring

  Hourly Checks Get into the habit of carrying out these checks and both yourself, your crew and your boat will be...

Avoiding collisions at sea – how to stay safe on the water

Boats have many blind spots, including the headsails of sailing boats. Always keep a lookout, stay safe and remember that...

Tools and spares for your boat

It is wise to have a comprehensive and well-organised tool kit and a supply of spares for your boat. This is both for routine...

Peer to Peer yacht charter – How can you monetize your boat?

There is a growing trend in peer to peer yacht charter. How does it work? People already rent rooms, cars and bikes from one...

Essential Yachting + Power Boat Safety Briefing

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

How to operate a winch

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

Top Ten Tips For Learning The ColRegs Boating Rules Of The Road

Colregs Boating Rules Of The Road Skippers struggle to learn and remember the ColRegs Yachtmaster and Day Skipper course...

First aid at sea basics

At least one person on board should be trained in first aid and know how to administer the contents of the first aid kit, ensuring there are adequate supplies for the planned duration of the trip.

Boat maintenance below decks

While most interior maintenance work can be done when a boat is afloat, some jobs such as servicing the seacocks have to be done ashore. It makes sense to do any major interior repairs and improvements with the boat hauled out in the boatyard.

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...

Safety Equipment Checklist for Boats

Safety Equipment Checklist for Boats   Liferaft line attached The liferaft will not work unless the trigger line is...

Competent crew skills: mooring lines

Mooring lines are used when arriving or leaving a berth. One of the most important competent crew skills is to know how to...

Boat Handling – anchoring

Anchoring your yacht or motorboat Anchoring is one of the most important boat handling skills. If you can set an anchor...

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...

Engine failure at sea – common causes and how to avoid them

Many engine failures are caused by lack of maintenance, resulting in fuel filter blockages, water pump failures, overheating and other breakdowns. Indeed, one of the most common reasons for marine rescue service call outs is for one of the most basic reasons possible – boats that have run out of fuel.

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

Safety Briefings – leave nothing to chance

Before giving your crew a safety briefing, it is worth considering the specific circumstances of the planned trip, the...

Always have an emergency grab bag to hand when at sea…

  Grab bag: In the event of having to abandon ship, it is recommended to have a designated waterproof bag to carry...

How to ensure your boat is in proper working condition

In this article Eva Tucker from Volvo Penta presents a handy check list of all the things that you need to check regularly in order to make sure that your boat is in a seaworthy condition. Including maintenance, safety gear and electrical checks.

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...

ColRegs Rule 14 – Head-on Situation

  ColRegs Rule 14: Head-on Situation (a) When two power-driven vessels are meeting on reciprocal or nearly reciprocal...

Fractures, sprains and dislocations at sea

Moving about a boat at sea often results in a few knocks and bruises, but if a crew member has a fall or major bump and is in serious pain, they should be examined and treated accordingly.

Repairing a leaking hull-to-deck joint

If you suspect a hull-to-deck joint has failed, then being absolutely sure where the actual leak is occurring is of prime...

Safe Skipper – crew management tips

Effective crew briefings are a vital part of the good on-board communication that helps everything to run smoothly on a sailing vessel at sea, whether it is cruising or racing.

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!

Steel hull maintenance

A steel boat owner’s biggest enemy is corrosion. You don’t have to worry about osmosis or rotting timbers, instead rust is the number one issue that will keep you awake at night.

Saildrive maintenance

There are less maintenance tasks to carry out on a saildrive transmission than on a traditional inboard shaft drive system with its associated stern gear. However, there are a few critical things that require maintenance, as recommended in detail by the engine manufacturers, and should be adhered to.

Winch Servicing

It is not essential to service the winches when a boat is ashore, but if time allows I prefer to do this maintenance job when the boat...

Pleasure craft safety equipment recommendations

Safety equipment is an important part of boat preparation and it is advisable for all pleasure craft skippers to check their vessel is...

Fractures, sprains and dislocations at sea

Moving about a boat at sea often results in a few knocks and bruises, but if a crew member has a fall or major bump and is in serious pain, they should be examined and treated accordingly.

How to use tides and currents to your advantage

If you are contemplating a cruise through tidal waters and strong currents, then planning your trip carefully in advance is essential to enable you to take advantage of favourable tides rather than constantly fighting against them.

How to predict wind direction and strength by reading a weather chart

Weather charts, also known as surface pressure or synoptic charts, contain a lot of information that helps weather...

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...

Antifouling for leisure boats – Part 1

Boats that are kept afloat can very quickly become a home for small marine organisms such as barnacles, weed and slime. Applying an antifouling paint to your hull is necessary to protect it from these micro-organisms, as a fouled hull can cause problems and will slow down a boat’s maximum speed considerably if left unchecked.

Tools and spares for your boat

It is wise to have a comprehensive and well-organised tool kit and a supply of spares for your boat. This is both for routine...

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.

Getting a tow for your sail or power boat at sea or on inland waterways

FREE tips from the Safe Skipper App for iPhone/iPad/Android: Getting a tow for your sail or power boat Plan how to secure a...

The Boatyard Book – a boat owner’s guide to yacht maintenance, repair and refitting

The Boatyard Book is a fully illustrated 224 page practical reference manual that provides advice for boat owners on planning and carrying out annual maintenance, repairs, upgrades and refits of sailing yachts and motorboats, up to 20 metres in length.

Feeling anxious at sea

  Some people feel anxious at sea. Will they be seasick? What if they get caught in a violent storm? Could the boat...

Boat Engine Failure – what to check

Engine failure If your engine fails or is overheating there are a number of things to check immediately: • Air filter...

Passage planning and pilotage

Passage planning and pilotage help skippers navigate safely from one port to another. A passage plan takes into account all...

Wooden Hulls – Part 1

Traditional wooden boats have a plank on frame construction, a centuries old boat building method that is still in use today. Variations of the traditional method include carvel, clinker and strip planking, which all relate to the way the planking is attached to the frame.

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...

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

Understanding your boat’s compass

Article submitted by Mike Rossiter, Certificated Compass Adjuster. Since the magnetic compass was first used by the Chinese...

Boat electrics inspection checklist

With the boat ashore, here are some recommendations for carrying out a boat owner electrics inspection. Safety is always paramount so remember to do the checks with the batteries off. Wearing a head torch helps, make notes as you go and only tackle a repair if you are 100% sure you know what you are doing:

Avoiding personal dangers at sea

In order to stay safe at sea, we need to know the risks we are facing and to be aware of any personal dangers we could possibly encounter. Here are six of the most common potential dangers individual crew members should be aware of.

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?

Know your Navlights & Shapes – essential for all skippers

Know your Navlights & Shapes International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (ColRegs) Anyone who is...

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.

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.

Understanding marine sealants & adhesives

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

Sail care and maintenance – Part 1

When thinking about the care, maintenance and repair of sails it helps to have some understanding of the properties of the ever growing range of modern sailcloth and the fibres they are made from, as opposed to the traditional canvas sails of the past.

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, ...

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...

Capsize – understanding the risks

A skipper should know how their boat will cope with rough seas. By working within known limits and understanding the risks,...