In Malta we have been surrounded by the sea for our entire lives, some of us probably learnt how to swim before we could even run! Most of us have had parents who owned a boat, or at least close relatives, so being on a boat is not a new experience. This might make us feel a bit overconfident when out at sea and we might take some safety precautions for granted.
This is when boating becomes dangerous! We have to keep in mind that whatever way we choose to spend our recreational time, we always have to be cautious and safe, otherwise what is planned as fun and exciting can easily turn into a nightmare.
That is why we have decided to give you some tips on how to make sure that you are safe when out boating. Now, whether you are just spending a day at Selmun Bay, a weekend at Santa Maria Bay in Comino, or you are going all the way to Sicily, there are safety tips which one should follow to make sure that everyone is happy and safe on Board!
10 Tips which you should follow to keep everyone on board Happy & Safe!
Make sure that you have thoroughly checked the weather forecast for the day or the days that you are going to be on board. Make sure that there are not going to be any sudden changes, and if you see a sudden darkening of clouds, and volatile and changing winds, be safe and get off the water.
Some reliable sites to check are:
2. Safety Gear
An emergency can never be predicted, therefore ensure that you have all the necessary safety gear:
– Flashlight + extra batteries are necessary. This will help you navigate around your boat in the dark, and also allows you to be seen if your boat comes to a halt.
– Duct tape. Should you have a leak, this could temporarily solve your problem until you are back at land.
– Bucket. Always have a bucket on board just in case you need to scoop water out.
– First Aid Kit. A properly equipped first aid kit and knowledge on how to use it is very important in the case of an accident and someone is injured.
– An Emergency Whistle. This should be waterproof.
– Ropes. It is important to have ropes handy just in case you need to pull someone who went overboard.
– Fire Extinguishers. It is true you are surrounded by water, but please don’t let that idea remove the importance to have a serviced and working fire extinguisher available on board.
– Life Jackets. Available and approved life jackets are a must for everyone on board. It is true that it might be too hot in the Summer, or it might not work well for your tan, however, there is a large variety of styles which can fit your need. Whatever style you choose, make sure that it fits you properly.
3. Life Jackets
We are dedicating a whole point to just life jackets as we cannot stress enough their importance. It is a known fact that most deaths which happen when out at sea are caused due to drowning! This is because these individuals are either not wearing the appropriate life jacket, and in some cases might not be wearing any at all. It can also be that the life jacket does not fit well, has not been checked and serviced and does not function well, or is just not fit for the cause.
When purchasing life jackets, one must always make sure that they are fit for the purpose needed and that they are certified by the relevant authorities.
4. Do Not Overload
Of course, you have to make sure that you do not overload your boat, both with people and equipment. Make sure that you observe your boat’s capacity restrictions
5. Check for Harmful Fumes
Make sure that there are no harmful fumes on board especially if you have inside areas. Carbon monoxide can easily accumulate and knock yourself and your guests unconscious.
6. Observe the Rules
Like when driving a car on the road, driving a boat out at sea also has its rules. Make sure that you observe speeding rules, drive on the correct side of other boats, have all your lights functioning if you are using your boat at night, and make sure that you stay off the alcohol if you are driving. Actually, you also have to make sure that everyone on board does not consume too much as sensibility needs to be observed during the whole time to avoid accidents.
7. Proper Anchoring Procedures
Make sure that you follow the proper anchoring procedures, check for any winds, and that you have anchored at the correct depth.
8. Proper Docking Procedures
Make sure that you follow the proper docking procedures. Find a space which does fit the size of your boat, reduce the speed when approaching the dock, make sure that you have appropriate fenders, and follow the direction of the wind due to the current when docking.
9. Take a Boat Safety Course
Of course in Malta, a Boat Safety Course is part of the course everyone has to take in order to get their boat license, and no one can use a boat without one!
10. Check your Boat
One last thing which is of primary importance is to make sure that your boat is serviced and everything is working as it should. Anything from sails, ropes, lights and engines need to be checked and serviced regularly.
The above is a basic list of safety tips which one has to follow and observed when out on a boat. When one feels safe and secure, one feels happy, therefore this is essential for a fun time out on your boat!