Thanet RNLI Community Safety

Our Top 7 Yacht Sailing and Motorboating Safety Tips

I am sure that you will agree that there is nothing quite like white sails billowing against a lovely blue sky, the breeze and spray on your face. It can be exciting, challenging and relaxing.  Although, no matter where or what type of boat you sail there is one factor that you must take into account before embarking on a voyage SAFETY.  In this blog we will consider 7 Safety Tips which will help you minimise the hazards enabling you, your crew and passengers to have a fabulous, but safe time on the water.

 

1.   Lifejackets

You may have read our previous blogs or social media postings about the critical importance of wearing a correctly fitted and maintained lifejacket or personal floation aid (PFD).  When out on the water boating or sailing whatever the weather our advice is always to wear a lifejacket and that goes for each member of your crew and passengers.  Why not check out the excellent RNLI video below which explores how to fit a buoyancy aid correctly.

There is lots of helpful information available on-line about lifejackets and how to fit and maintain them correctly.  Find out more about some essential lifejacket checks

As well as wearing a fully serviced lifejacket we also highly recommend wearing crotch straps.  If you are uncertain why you should wear them check out the video below:

2.  Training

Lifeboat crews are often called out to sailors in difficulty who have over estimated their skill and knowledge level.   Be totally honest with yourself about your skill level. If you are in any doubt why not enrol onto an RYA course.   Courses can help you prepare for anything, whether your a complete novice,  living onboard, enjoying a coastal cruising or venturing further offshore.

RNLICommunitySafety SeaSafety ThanetRNLICommunitySafety respectthewater lifejackets crotchstraps RNLI

3.  Check Your Engine

Nearly 20% of all Lifeboat call-outs are to sailing and motor cruisers suffering from mechanical failure.  Having a good knowledge of your boat’s engine, carrying spares and being able to fit them could make the difference between having to call for help and being able to help yourself.  The RYA run disel engine courses which are highly popular.  The RNLI produces some free downloadable resources to help you with engine maintenance.

RNLI Ramsgatelifeboat respectthewater RNLICommunitySafetyTeam

4.  Emily’s Code

On 2nd May 2015, 14-year-old Emily Gardner tragically drowned in a boating accident. An ill-fitting buoyancy aid snagged on the cleat of a capsized speedboat. In her memory, her family helped draw up the following mnemonic to highlight key safety messages and they provide a great rule of thumb for any sailor to follow:

 

5.  Check the weather & conditions

The weather can make or break your day. Regularly checking the weather forecast and sea conditions can help you if you planning a lengthy voyage.  Downloading the SafeTrx App provides key Inshore waters weather forecasts, as well as tracking your trip and alerting your emergency contact if you are overdue.

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6.   Calling for Help

Life-threatening incidents can occur at any time without warning and in any weather!  Having a means of ‘calling for help’ and that everyone on your crew/passengers knows how to use them will enable you to get help to you should an incident occur as quickly as possible.  Incidents can go unnoticed even in busy waters close to the coastline.

There is a range of different devices for ‘calling for help on the market. Whichever one you choose and we recommend you use more than one – you must be able to reach it easily in an emergency. Don’t rely on a single method of calling for help as one may not work.  We have included a range of ‘calling for help’ devices below:

VHFradio callingforhelp respectthewater

EPIRB callingforhelp RNLI RNLICommunitySafetyTeam

 

 

 

 

 

mobilephone

RNLICommunitysafetyteam Callingforhelp seasafety bewateraware sailing yachting kitesurfing

7.  Advice on Board (AOB)

Advice Onboard is a totally free of charge service that’s suitable for anyone who goes to sea on a pleasure vessel of less than 13.7m. It’s available in all parts of the UK and Ireland. It’s tailored to your particular vessel and the type of boating you do.

Whether you are highly experienced or a complete novice sailor or boater you’ll benefit from this free and friendly service. The safety advice session takes place onboard your vessel at a time that’s convenient for you.

lifejacket clinic, Community Safety, Thanet, Sea safety. RNLI

This service is provided by experienced and highly trained RNLI volunteers and will provide you with independent advice about your boat’s safety equipment. You’ll also have an opportunity to ask any of those burning questions about safety drills, equipment or emergency procedures that you may have put off asking for some time.

Adviceoboard RNLICommunitysafety seasafety AOB Ramsgate RNLI
Thanet RNLI CS Team undertaking an Advice on Board session

Our team can also check your lifejackets as part of the AOB session. However, we still recommend that you have your lifejackets serviced by a service agent or the manufacturer at the recommended intervals.  Find out more about how our lifejacket clinics are helping to keep sailors safe.

We hope that you have enjoyed this blog. If you would like to book an Advice on Board session or lifejacket check/clinic with our team you can get in touch by emailing Andrew_Mills@RNLI.org.uk

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SAFETY CHECK LIST

  • Always wear a properly serviced and fitting lifejacket or personal floatation device
  • Always carry a means of calling for help eg VHF radio, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), flares, EIRB, mobile phone with SafeTrx app
  • Have an emergency action plan and make sure everyone aboard receives a detailed briefing (covering the location and use of the safety equipment, including the spare kill cord for powerboats. Practising ‘man overboard’ drills is very important).
  • Arrange to attend some training from an approved training provider
  • Always check the weather and tide times before you embark on your voyage
  • Tell someone ashore your voyage plan and who to call if you don’t return on time
  • Always drive your boat at a speed that is appropriate to the weather conditions and to the environment you are operating in

PLB EPIRB RNLICommunitySafety seasafety lifejackets

 

Acknowledgements

RNLI

RYA

HM Coastguard

Thanet’s RNLI Community Safety Team Helps Out At Lifejacket Clinic At Erith Yacht Club

One of our team, John Homer travelled up to Erith Yacht Club on Saturday (29th September) to help out Gravesend RNLI Community Safety Team to deliver a lifejacket clinic for club members.

The aim of the lifejacket clinic is to undertake anumber of safety checks that will give the sailor or water activity enthusiast the piece of mind that if they or a member of their crew does find themselves in the water that the jacket will inflate.  So that Community Safety Advisors can undertake lifejacket checks they all attend a qualifying lifejacket clinic course at Poole HQ.

The team checked thirty lifejackets intotal, with nineteen failures and four being condemned.

John Homer commented “a great first clinic for Gravesend.  We really enjoyed talking with Erith Yacht Club members and we hope that they found the session beneficial.  We urge all sailors and boaters to check their lifejackets on a regular basis and to get them serviced by an approved service agent”.

Our next lifejacket clinic is taking place at Margate Lifeboat Station on Sat 12th October.  Why not pop along and get your lifejacket checked for free and plenty of maritime safety advice available.

**Please note that an Inspection by an RNLI Community Safety Advisor is not the equivalent of a lifejacket service by an approved lifejacket service agent**.

John G (Medway CS Team) pictured with John Homer (Thanet CS Team)

Useful links

Top 10 lifejacket checks which could save your life

When was the last time you checked your lifejacket?

Why wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid is so important?

Lifejackets – which one should I buy?

Acknowledgements

Gravesend RNLI Community Safety Team

RNLI

Erith Yacht Club

When was the last time you checked your lifejacket?
Members of Thanet CS team pictured during a lifejacket check

Recently our team have carried out their Ramsgate Harbour ‘walk the pontoons’ lifesaving intervention tactic. Whereby team members chat to boat owners and undertake checks on their lifejackets free of charge.  Regularly our team found that lifejacket firing mechanisms are out of date. One routine check earlier this year revealed that the firing mechanism had already been fired in a jacket, but the owner had been told by a friend that it was fit for purpose and would work.

Lifejacket firing mechanism with date stamp

When was the last time you checked the firing mechanism on your lifejacket? Were you aware  that they have a replacement date stamped on them? Do you know how to check this date?

Hammar automatic inflation system

Why not contact us for a FREE lifejacket check and give yourself and your crew the peace of mind that if you end up in the water your lifejacket (if worn) could save your life. Please send us a private message with your contact details on our Facebook page or email Andrew_Mills@rnli.org.uk and let our team do the rest. The checks and advice we give you will not cost anything and we also have anumber of free booklets which will help you stay safe on the water.

Halkey-Roberts Bobbin (out of date)

Remember: Lifejackets have no use stored in a bag. Stick one on before it is too late. Useless unless worn!

Please note: The checks that our team carries out are not meant to replace the recommended servicing by a qualified lifejacket service agent or manufacturer.

Lifejacket clinic underway at the Royal Temple Yacht Club

Other useful links:

Top 10 Lifejacket checks which could help save your life

Anglers and lifejackets

Acknowledgements

Plymouth RNLI Community Safety Team