Sailing is an exciting hobby that can be exhilarating, challenging, and a little bit dangerous; if you're a sailing newcomer, be sure to learn the following beginner sailboat safety tips before heading on to the water.
Learning how to sail requires a lot of concentration, and an ideal environment can go a long way to helping you focus on tasks. Choosing calm, empty waters for practice can make it easier to hone your skills and enjoy the process, making it more likely you will stick with the sport for the long-term.
This may seem obvious, but remembering the small things is just as important as remembering the big things. Details like telling someone that you are going out on the water, bringing a flotation device, and even knowing in advance how to swim can become oversights you cannot afford when learning to sail. Start with the absolute basics and build up from there; no detail is too minor when it comes to your safety. Always bring extra provisions, no matter how clear the weather or short the planned outing.
The ocean can be a capricious and volatile mistress, and knowing ahead of time what her particular whims for the day might be will help you prepare for possible sudden changes. Unexpectedly strong winds, storms, and unusually strong tides can make it especially hard for beginners just starting out. Unexpected conditions can cause you to panic, endangering both yourself and your crew. This tip goes hand in hand with choosing calm water days for practicing, and gets you used to checking weather conditions and understanding your boating area’s nuances.
Learning when the boom will swing is vitally important on the water. Not only is the boom essential to steering the boat, but not knowing where the boom is can also be a major risk to your wellbeing. If the boom swings and catches you in the head or knocks you off the boat, you may be badly injured or stranded in cold water with no way to call for help. Always be conscious of the boom when moving around the boat, and tell your passengers to stay clear, too.
Communication is essential to safety in sailing, so understanding and using appropriate sailing terms is crucial, and can be practiced on or off the water. The most important terms to learn first are "port" and "starboard," and you should know which side is which before ever stepping foot on the boat. Talk to a friend, or pick up a book and take the time to research the language of your new hobby before diving in.
For beginners, sailboat safety is vitally important so you can enjoy the process of discovering the joys of sailing without risking your life or anyone else’s. While it may seem like there is an overwhelming amount of information to take in, it is crucial you learn the basic safety tips before attempting anything on the water.