Cruising Safety

There are many thoughts about sailing safely and while most of them are good ideas I am a believer in the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) approach. The main reason I am a big advocate for this is to not bamboozle new people when coming aboard and prevent confusion about what to do in different situations. Sailing is not a mainstream sport so more often than not I have less experienced crew on board. I know some people may think I have missed somethings but everything else can be covered by the three cardinal rules. Consequently I have a little poster laminated and stuck in the companion way with the following 3 pieces of information.

The Three Cardinal Rules

  1. Plan ahead before doing every maneuverer making sure all crew know their jobs.
  2. There are no stupid questions? Always ask the Skipper even if he is asleep.
  3. Skipper is responsible for safety of all the crew and the boat so do what he says.

Safety Briefing Check List
  1. Location and how/when to use the 
    • Life jackets
    • Harnesses and Jack lines
    • EPIRB
    • Ditch bag and life raft
  2. How to steer the boat. Including turn the autohelm on/off
  3. How to start and stop the engine
  4. What to do with a man overboard
  5. How to use the toilet, shower and minimise water use.
  6. The way home (often on the GPS)
  7. Location and use of the VHF radio
  8. How to keep watch
  9. How to use the Stove and Sink
  10. Where all the through hulls are and how to use them




I know there is much more too it but this covers my basic safety briefing that is given to all people first time on the boat. Some of it is a checklist reminder for me as the skipper, some is to clear up any confusion and most importantly establish some clear rules. 

This is my take on basic safety and any feedback is welcome in the comments below.

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