Select Page

Essential yacht tender safety

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

A recent experience caused me to have a serious think about essential yacht tender safety. Recently I faced the prospect of coming ashore from my mooring in the pitch dark, in wet, breezy conditions with a strong tide running, over a distance of about 300 metres. I was by myself and it prompted me to ask myself before setting off whether it would be unsafe to use the tender or should I spend the night on board?

Consider your options

Yes, the driest and safest option would have been to stay on board, but I had my wet weather gear and a lifejacket, I hadn’t been drinking and I was confident that my little Zodiac inflatable was up to the job. OK, if the outboard packed up then it would be a challenging row against the fast running tide.  However the tide was coming in so I wouldn’t be swept out to sea and, with wind against tide, there were going to be sharp little waves to contend with.

I decided to go for it and quickly got completely soaked by the spray, as did the gear. Finding my way through the boats on their swinging moorings in the pitch darkness was a challenge.  I was greatly reassured to have my truly excellent Exposure Marine X2 torch. I would urge all those who use a tender to buy one – expensive but worth every penny. They are waterproof, lightweight and incredibly powerful. For details see here .

There are inherent risks in most boating activities and this includes using a yacht tender to get ashore from a mooring or anchorage. After last week’s soaking, I have compiled some hints and tips about essential yacht tender safety – see below.

Essential yacht tender safety

Essential yacht tender safety :

  • Plan ahead and make notes of the tide state and weather forecast for when you set out and expect to return from a trip.
  • Wear lifejackets, even for short trips.
  • Wear a killcord, even for short trips.
  • Carry oars as back up in case the outboard fails.
  • Carry a means of communication – mobile phone in a waterproof cover or a handheld VHF.
  • Carry a lightweight, powerful, waterproof torch (see above).
  • Don’t overload the dinghy – follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Carry a foot pump.

Essential yacht tender safety

Essential yacht tender safety – other considerations:

  • Use bow and stern lines to secure the dinghy alongside – much easier to get on and off.
  • Always check you have enough fuel – you can easily be caught out.
  • Keep a puncture repair kit ashore and on the yacht – otherwise you can guarantee when you need it it will be in the wrong place.
  • Keep spare killcords ashore and on the yacht – they have a habit of disappearing.
  • Keep spare valves for tube inflation points.

Essential yacht tender safety – outboard care:

  • Make sure your outboard complies with dinghy manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Service the engine every season.
  • Attach a lanyard to prevent the outboard going over the side (I didn’t in the past – very costly).
  • Flush the engine in fresh water after use in salt water.
  • Keep spares including a spare spark plug, shear pins (essential) and kill cord.

Essential yacht tender safety – choosing an inflatable dinghy:

  • Storage is a big issue, especially on a yacht. Check weight and dimensions before buying.
  • Consider how easy or difficult it will be to lift an inflated dinghy aboard.
  • Storage will most likely affect capacity. 2 or 3 person inflatables are usually adequate.
  • There are many types to choose from. Check what works best for your yacht.
  • Consider different types of floor – slatted or inflated. Solid floors make standing up easier and are better for carrying gear.
  • Solid transoms are best for outboards, but bulkier.
  • Check the inflatable has well designed oar rowlocks – not all do.
  • Hypalon coated tubes are more expensive and better quality than PVC coated nylon.

 

Learn ColRegs: Traffic Separation Schemes

Learn ColRegs Rule 10: Traffic Separation Schemes. (c) A vessel shall, so far as practicable, avoid crossing traffic lanes...

Fire prevention on boats

  Fire prevention on boats - common causes of fire: • Smoking below decks • Galley cookers • Build-up of butane or...

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...

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...

Boat Handling – anchoring

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

Essential Boat Spares for Safety

  Boats Spares Tool kit What you carry in the boats tool kit will be useful for many boat repairs, but you might want...

Man Overboard Drill

How to respond to crew overboard under sail • Keep the MOB in sight • Tack into the heave-to position, do not adjust the...

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...

Know your Navlights & Shapes – essential for all skippers

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

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...

Essential Yachting + Power Boat Safety Briefing

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

Boat Engine Safety Checks

  Boat Engine Safety Checks Every skipper needs to make regular essential boat engine safety checks. Below you will...

Sailing & Motoring in Fog

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

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...

Hull inspection – the annual checks

With the boat ashore for the winter it is time to do a hull inspection - the annual checks. Are there any scratches and chips in the...

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...

The VHF DSC Radio jargon buster

AIS - Automatic Identification System This system is used by shipping. It allows another vessel or coast station to use...

Boat electrics and essential checklist

Essential boat electricsSmall yachts and power boats have 12-volt DC (direct current) systems, although larger vessels will have 24-volt...

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?  ...

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...

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...

Anchoring – getting it right is not always straightforward

If you can set an anchor correctly with confidence and know your boat will be safe in a secure anchorage, then you can rest...

Passage Planning Advice & Safety for skippers

Passage planning helps you to: • Decide where to go • Calculate how long it will take to get there • Avoid bad weather •...

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...

Boating Rules of the Road – International ColRegs

    International ColRegs Rule 7: Risk of Collision Anyone who is responsible for a vessel at sea, from the...