Checking boat safety procedures and checklists should always be a priority before setting out to sea, no matter how experienced you are in sailing. Having that memorable trip, sailing on a top of the line Hatteras M98 maybe a once in a lifetime experience, but safety should always come first. 

Navigating these days is much better with the help of technology. Apps are now available that would help you safely navigate, monitor the weather conditions, and monitor the traffic around you.
Prepare a Pre-departure Checklist

If you are planning to sail for a couple of days, it would be wise to prepare a checklist of things you will need for the days you will be out in the water. Always consider covering all aspects of your trip, such as the engine, equipment, safety measures, fuel, food, clothing, and water. Preparing a checklist helps ensure that you don't forget anything before you head out.

Prepare a Safety or First Aid Kit

You might encounter simple accidents and hurt yourself while sailing. Be sure always to have a first aid kit to hand with plasters, bandages, antiseptic, and even suncream. If you happen to get hurt or get wounded, it might take hours before you can get to the nearest doctor in your location. Having a Safety or First Aid Kit would be a good idea.

Learn How to Swim

In your free time, you might want to take up some basic lessons in swimming and water safety. If you are planning to go snorkeling or scuba diving while on your sailing trip, remember that being able to swim is essential for boaters. What if your boat accidentally tips off (hopefully not, of course), and you do not have the necessary swimming skills, chances of drowning are high. Get or hire somebody to teach you even the basics. An hour a day of trying to learn swimming is good enough.

Back-Up Communication Devices

When checking the right safety equipment, you have onboard, always consider the option of having a backup and not just your equipment on the boat but also devices used for communication. Have a spare walkie talkie or bring some portable chargers and power banks for your mobile devices. Always be ready for the possibility of using the communication devices you have on board.

Life Jackets

A day or two before your plan to sail on water, check the life jackets. Try to see if the life jackets fit the people who will be with you on the trip. Children should wear life jackets that are brightly colored and reflective under the age of 13 at all times. 

Sail Within Your Comfort Zone

Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Sail at a pace you are comfortable with. This keeps both you and your passengers on board safe. Maintain proper speeds. Always keep an eye on other boaters in the area and keeping a lookout at all times.

Share your Trip and Float Plan

There are two sets of people that you should share your trip and float plan. The first set of people should be the ones coming with you on your journey. This will be helpful in case of an emergency or an accident. 

The second set of people could be a friend or family member – ideally someone who is not on the trip with you or even authorities like the coastguard. Information that needs to be provided are the following:

  • The boat type and the model
  • The route you will be taking while on the trip
  • The time you expect to be sailing on the water
  • The means for people to get in contacts, such as phone numbers and mobile numbers, in any case of emergency.

Weather Forecasts and Tides

Always check weather forecasts and how the tides are and how it will affect your sailing conditions. Focus on wind direction, strength, and visibility. The weather may be unpredictable, so if you do notice a storm brewing up ahead, better to play it safe and head back to dry land.

It is always better if you are prepared for anything that might happen during your trip. Try to be calm in an emergency and always complete your checklists. It is also essential that you carry spare fuel.