offshore safety - page 1

4.1 Safety ethos

Sailing is a safe sport when it is carried out in a responsible way, but it is always worth being ready for the unexpected. Adopting a safe attitude onboard and regularly checking the boat's equipment reduces the likelihood of a problem and ensures you are ready if one arises.

Safety onboard a yacht is not just about the equipment it carries but the state of mind of the skipper and crew. Only they can work together to create a safety ethos ensuring the boat is run efficiently and safely. Many accidents are preventable by approaching the task with the right frame of mind. Prior training helps by ensuring crew are confident and competent in what they have to do.

When it all goes wrong, the "will survive" is the single most important factor. History has shown time and again that people with a strong will to survive have overcome incredible difficulties. Stay positive. 

Remember to:

  • Practice safety. Safe behavior is an insurance against an emergency

  • Learn the established rules. This is also a legal issue

  • Know your vessel and its capabilities thoroughly

  • Know the condition of your boat and its equipment and maintain it

  • Know yourself and your crew. This requires honesty, tact and finesse

  • Prepare for possible problems. Have back-up plans

  • Learn how to read weather forecasts. Get a forecast every time you go out

  • Use common sense aka good seamanship – (you know what that is)

  • Be patient and courteous and always prudent