In addition to learning how to handle a sailboat it is also necessary to learn the safety rules. Sailing is an exciting and adventurous sport. Like all sports, there is an element of danger in sailing and unfortunately mishaps do occur. For this reason you need to be prepared for emergencies- not just with knowledge but also with equipment. When accidents happen on boats people are usually not where they can get immediate help. Below are a few things that will help you be prepared in the case of an accident or emergency.
1. A Personal Flotation Device labeled USCG Approved for everyone, passengers and crew, on board. Also make sure you provide the children with one that fits them correctly. Keep flotation devices in an easily accessed place and be sure everyone knows where they are and how to put them on. Even on a lake, a storm can arise very quickly and catch you unaware.
2. A Handheld Signal Horn & Aerial Signal Kit to alert other boaters in case of an emergency or fog and to send up an aerial signal if you are stranded on a big lake. You can store these items anywhere on the boat.
3. A First Aid Kit that has all the basics you would need in case of an emergency. It should include bandages, gauze, instant cold compress, alcohol cleaning pads, aspirin, antibiotic cream, good sunscreen, etc. If you take prescription medications regularly, be sure you always have these on board with you.
4. A Fire Extinguisher is a must. Get a quality extinguisher to keep on your boat. The chances are great that you’ll never need to use it, but if you do it could save lives and your boat.
5. Boat Anchors for docking, going to the beach or an emergency. You should have one for both the stern and the bow. Extra tow rope is also good to have on board; you can help tow someone stranded or be towed if necessary.
6. Universal Boat Cushions come in bright colors and are very handy. They can be tossed to a swimmer who needs help getting back to the boat or someone who accidentally falls overboard.
7. Keep extra dock lines for docking your boat to your pier or to someone else’s pier. Having a few loops already tied into the rope makes it useful when you need different sizes.
8. Keep a Cell Phone or Radio on board. These come in useful not only for emergencies but also when you need to get a tow back or if someone wants to come out and join you for a ride.
Always be sure to have plenty drinking water and your boat’s registration papers onboard.