By Art Vasenius
As the weather is getting nicer, more and more people will be heading out on the water to enjoy the nice weather. While sailing is a fantastic way to enjoy the nice spring days, it’s important to be prepared for anything that happens when on the water. Here are some tips and helpful hints to be safe and have a good time while out sailing:
Sailing’s More Fun With Friends
It’s perfectly fine to go out and sail on your own but having people with you out on the water not only gives you more people to share the experience with but also some help to make it more enjoyable for you.
Stay In The Know About The Weather
Always listen to a marine weather forecast before you leave the dock so you can bring along the right provisions, clothing and any other gear that you may need. Be sure to pay attention to you instruments on board while you’re out on the water so that you can adjust to sudden changes in wind and temperature, amongst other things.
Be Comfortable In The Water
Sailboats can tip over sometimes, depending of the size of the boat, so it’s important to be comfortable in the water.
Don’t Forget Your PFD
The Coast Guard says that for every person that is on a boat there should be a personal floatation device (PFD) for each person and they should be easily to get to in case they are needed. If you are sailing in bad weather or by yourself, you should always wear your personal floatation device.
Watch Out For The Boom
One of the most common sailing injuries happens when a sailor’s not being aware of where the boom is and ends up taking a blow to the head, or even worse, being knocked overboard. Being aware of where the boom is and where it’s going is integral to know when you are out on the water.
Know Your Signals In Times Of Distress
Distress signals should only be used when necessary. There are several visual distress signals that are recognized internationally. These are helpful if you lose radio contact, or if you are on a smaller boat. These signals nclude raising the national flag of your boat upside-down, either at full or half mast, raising a square flag with a ball or anything resembling a ball above or below it. You can also try to flag down a passing-by boat by slowly waiving your arms or placing an article of clothing on an oar to make a more visible flag.