Select Page

IMG_1919

Before giving your crew a safety briefing, it is worth considering the specific circumstances of the planned trip, the experience of the crew and their familiarity with the vessel and each other.

If the crew already know the drill inside out and you know each other well, then the safety briefing can be limited to a discussion of the passage plan for the day, when and how you plan to leave the berth and the watch-keeping rotas.

If a crew does not fully understand the safety drill and does not know where the safety equipment can be found on board, then you will need to brief them on this before departure. It is a good idea to have a safety briefing checklist at hand so you can go through everything in detail.  The items to cover include location of safety equipment, use of gas stoves, what to do in the event of fire, actions for man overboard and abandoning ship. Ensure that at least one of the crew in addition to yourself can operate the radio and knows the routine for sending distress signals.  Also, remember to ask the crew if any of them are on medication and give out seasickness tablets if necessary.

If you have very young or novice crew aboard, then have a quiet run through with them and leave nothing to chance. The secret here is not to alarm inexperienced crew in any way and to reassure them that the boat is not going to heel over and sink as soon as it leaves the harbour.  Keep a positive attitude and don’t dwell on the likelihood of gas explosions, but on the great time everyone is going to have out on the water.

Safety Briefing Checklist

Down below:

  • Lifejackets and harnesses – fitting, when to wear, clipping on
  • Gas – risks, precautions, gas bottles and taps
  • Fire prevention – extinguishers, fire blanket, where and how to use
  • Moving around – companionway, handholds,  galley safety
  • Heads – how to use
  • Seacocks – location of
  • Hatches – opening and closing, risks
  • VHF – how to use
  • Engine – basic operation
  • Batteries – location

On Deck:

  • Hazards – boom, tripping, slipping, hatches
  • Clipping on – jackstays
  • Heaving line
  • Engine controls
  • Instruments
  • Lockers – contents
  • Winches and clutches – safe operation
  • Anchor – safe operation

Emergency:

  • First aid – kit location
  • MOB – equipment – throwing line, horseshoe buoy, Dan buoy
  • Flares – where, when and how to use
  • VHF – emergency procedure
  • EPIRB – how to activate
  • Liferaft – where, when and how to launch
  • Grab bag – where, contents
  • Steering failure – emergency tiller, where and how
  • Flooding – seacock failure, plugs.  Bilge pumps.  Bailing

Welfare:

  • Seasickness – what to do, how to avoid
  • Food and drink – use of galley
  • Kit – stowage
  • “One hand for you – the other for the boat!”
  • Concerns

All of this advice and more is available in our easy-to-use, quick to access app for iPhone and Android. Go to SafeSkipper.com for more.

Seasickness – how can you prevent it?

Seasickness is a common problem at sea and affects both seasoned sailors and novices. What are the causes and symptoms of seasickness?...

Cleaning & polishing painted topsides

The gelcoat topsides of a GRP boat can be pampered and restored to their former glory relatively easily when it is ashore. Gelcoat is only a very thin outer layer of the hull, often less than 1mm thick, so you should avoid cleaning it with highly abrasive cleaners, or an-ything that could potentially damage its surface.

Boat surveys

A full boat survey assesses the condition of the hull, mechanical gear and means of propulsion. The survey is carried out with the boat...

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.

Passage planning and pilotage

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

Understanding your boat’s compass

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

Antifouling for leisure boats – Part 3

Antifouling is one of the least pleasant boat maintenance jobs to do, but it has to be done. The very worst job of all is removing the old antifouling as this can get seriously messy and is very hard work.

ColRegs when sailing single handed

  Don’t neglect the Colregs when sailing single handed Sailing single-handed represents several challenges for skippers, not least how to...

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...

Safety Equipment Checklist for Boats

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

Gybing a sailing boat

Gybing is the sailing manoeuvre used to change a boat's direction through a following wind. As with the tacking manoeuvre,...

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.

Seized fixings and fastenings

Maintaining a boat can be a rewarding experience but at times it can also be frustrating. A prime example of this is when you come across a seized fixing or fastening that refuses to budge. Read our tips on how to release and fix them:

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

Essential Knots: Sheet bend

Essential Knots: Sheet bend Use: Joining two ropes together. A sheet bend is particularly useful for joining two ropes of different...

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.

Boat maintenance log

Keeping a boat maintenance log is an ideal way of reminding owners what needs to be done to a boat and when. Read on for some tips,...

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.

Steel and Aluminium Hulls

The two metals used for hull construction are steel and aluminium. These are both very strong materials and will last a long time as long as they are cared for, which primarily means protecting steel boats from rust and aluminium boats from electrolytic action.

You Need To Understand The IRPCS ColRegs To Pass Your Yachtmaster, Master of Yachts and Coxswain Certificate of Competence

IRPCS ColRegs Rules of the Road at Sea and Yachtmaster Learning, understanding and remembering the International Regulations...

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...

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...

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...

Sailing Boat Rig Care

The rig of a sailing boat is put under huge stresses and strains so it is important for inspections of a yacht’s spars and rigging to be carried out at regular intervals.

Learn ColRegs: Traffic Separation Schemes

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