Safety on the Sea
This book is brought to you with the permission of the RNLI . Sailinks is simply reproducing it to increase the coverage of its information.
This booklet has been produced by the RNLI’s Sea Safety Liason Working Group which has representation from the following organisations and agencies:
British Marine Industries Federation (BMIF)
Coastguard Agency (COASTGUARD)
Marine Safety Agency (MSA)
Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS)
Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI)
Royal Yachting Association (RYA) It provides useful basic safety guidelines and information you should be aware of before going to Sea.
Unless you are experienced, we urge you to obtain additional information as detailed in this booklet.
Further copies are available from any of the organisations/agencies mentioned above.
HOW TO GET ADVICE BEFORE BUYING YOUR BOAT
1. Decide on the type of boat that you can handle and is most suitable for your purpose
2. Make sure it is good condition
3. It is worth considering an independent survey
4. Find out what equipment you will need
5. Advice can be obtained from the British Marine Industries Federation (BMIF) who operate a free information service.
Call Boatline on 01784 472222
GET SOME TRAINING
1. Before putting to sea, for your family’s sake, you MUST acquire basic skills in Seamanship, Navigation, Rules of the Road, use of safety equipment and boat/engine maintenance.
2. Your skills, and those of your crew, are your greatest asset, particularly if things go wrong.
3. Join a suitable sailing or boating club.
4. For information on where training is available in your locality.
Call the RYA on 01703 629962
WHAT TO DO BEFORE SETTING OFF:
1. Check the weather forecast by:
– Listening to the shipping or local radio forecast
– Telephoning Marinecall on 0891 505200
– Telephoning the Coastguard or listening to their reports on VHF channel 67
2. Check the condition of the boat and its equipment
3. Ensure the engine is well maintained. Carry a tool kit and essential spares
4. Ensure safety equipment is provided for all on board
5. Check on local conditions e.g. tide races, areas of shallow water and know the “Rules of the Road” – Your life may depend on it.
6. Obtain relevant charts and tide tables
7. Plan the trip:
– How long will it take?
– Who will keep watch?
– What access do you have to safe havens en route?
– What are the alternatives?
OTHER IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS:
1. Make sure you leave details of your planned trip with someone ashore
– Include departure and arrival times
– Point of destination and route
– Description of the boat
– Names of all persons on board and a contact number ashore.
2. If you change any of the above, remember to inform your contact ashore
3. See the Coastguard Registration Form CG66
4. Ensure that parked vehicles and trailers do not obstruct slipways or access for emergency vehicles/lifeboats and are above the high water mark
5. Know your limitations:
– Sail within your own ability and that of your crew
– Ensure you have sufficient experienced crew for the trip, particularly if it is overnight
– Know the limitations of your boat
– Do not overload the boat as it will make it unstable
BE SAFE AFLOAT
1. Lifejackets and safety harnesses are essential and should be provided for everyone on board. They could ensure your survival, but only if worn
2. Ensure sets of warm and protective clothing are available including sunglasses
3. Everyone must know what to do in a man overboard situation – It could be YOU
4. Advice on carrying additional safety equipment can be obtained from any of the participating organisations. The lives of your family must be worth a phone call
HOW TO ATTRACT ATTENTION IN AN EMERGENCY
1. A VHF radio, which can be a portable, will enable you to summon help by calling the Coastguard on channel 16. This may also alert other vessels in your vicinity who may be able to provide assistance.
2. If you use a radio you need to obtain an operators certificate and an annual licence. For more information call the RYA on 01703 629962
3. Carry a portable foghorn and use the whistle fitted to your lifejacket to attract attention if necessary
CARRY AN ALTERNATIVE MEANS OF PROPULSION AND A SPARE CAN OF FUEL
1. A set of oars or a small auxiliary outboard are advisable
2. A spare can of fuel is essential and should be clearly marked if different types are carried, eg petrol or diesel
3. Always carry a tow-rope and ensure you have a strong towing point in the fore end of the boat
CARRY A FIRST AID KIT, A TORCH AND IN-DATE DISTRESS FLARES
1. Day and night distress flares are essential, instructions for their safe use are printed on the side, read these and understand them – It is too late on a dark and stormy night
2. RYA courses including instruction in the use of safety equipment, including flares. For further information, call them on 01703 629962
3. A first aid kit and basic first aid knowledge can prove invaluable until professional assistance arrives.
4. Keep all your essential small gear in a watertight container
CARRY AN IN-DATE FIRE EXTINGUISHER, A BAILER AND AN ANCHOR WITH ADEQUATE CHAIN AND ROPE
1. A length of chain adds weight to the anchor and will improve its holding capability
2. Ensure your anchor cable is of sufficient length for the area in which you are sailing
3. A radar reflector on a yacht will assist with detection by other vessels, particularly in reduced visibility
1. Keep a good look out at all times and be aware of your surroundings
2. Be sensible about drinking alcohol – it will impair your judgement
3. If you smoke be careful – a fire at sea can be disastrous
4. Always turn cooking gas bottles off at source when not in use
KEEP AN EYE ON THE WEATHER AND SEA CONDITIONS. SEEK SHELTER IN GOOD TIME
1. Do not press on regardless – make for a safe haven in good time
2. If in doubt, call for help – don’t leave it too late!
3. Remember – it is easier to find you and provide assistance in daylight than in darkness
The RNLI’s Sea Safety Liason Working Group.
British Marine Industries Federation
Meadlake Place, Thorpe Lea Road
Egham, Surrey TW20 8HE
Tel: 01784 473377
Our aim is the promotion and the protection of the marine industry.
The Coastguard Agency
Spring Place, 105 Commercial Road,
Southampton, Hampshire SO15 1EG
Tel: 01703 329100
Our aim is to minimise loss of life at sea and on the coasts of the UK, and to minimise pollution from ships to the seas and coastline of the UK. We coordinate search and rescue.
Marine Safety Agency
Spring Place 105 Commercial Road
Southampton Hampshire SO15 1EG
Tel: 01703 329100
We are the Government body responsible for all aspects of marine safety. Our aim is to develop, promote and, if necessary, enforce high standards of marine safety and to minimise the risk of pollution of the marine environment from ships.
The Royal Life Saving Society UK
Tel: 01527 853943
Registered Charity No. 279782
Our aim is to prevent loss of life through drowning and asphyxiation, and we are the principal provider of lifeguard training throughout the UK.
Royal National Lifeboat Institution
West Quay Road
Tel: 01202 663000
Registered Charity No. 209603
We exist to preserve life from disaster at sea. This is achieved by providing a fleet of lifeboats, with 24 hour cover, and crewed by well-trained volunteers. In addition, we work with other national organisations to promote sea safety. We are funded entirely by voluntary contributions.
Royal Yachting Association
Romsey Road, Eastleigh,
Hampshire SO15 4YA
Tel: 01703 629962
We are the governing body representing sailing, windsurfing and motorboating in the UK. We offer a wide range of benefits and advice plus full training courses for all types of recreational craft.