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.

Rewiring a boat – overcoming the challenges involved

Skippers need to have a basic knowledge of boat electrics, to avoid potential problems and to be able to solve them when...

A simple guide to understanding tides when passage planning

Understanding tides when passage planning When planning a trip in tidal waters, check the tides before going afloat. Use...

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.

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,...

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...

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.

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 •...

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: arriving and leaving a berth

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

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.

Fire safety advice at sea from the Marine & Coastguard Agency

Fire safety advice for boaters Top fire safety advice at sea: 1. Fit smoke alarms, carbon monoxide and gas detectors 2. Turn...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Essential Yachting + Power Boat Safety Briefing

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

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...

Rudders and steering systems – Part 3

In the third of our three blog articles on rudders and steering systems, we look at how to replace rudder bearings and repair a water-saturated core.

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.

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...

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...

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,...

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...

Keel design – options to consider when choosing a yacht

Keel design is constantly evolving and nowhere is this more apparent than in modern racing yachts such as the Imoca Open 60...