If you're planning a sailing expedition on an ocean soon, it's always a good idea to familiarize yourself with some safety tips and tricks from experienced sailors and watercraft professionals in order to ensure a safe passage. About 4,500 people each year make the famous journey across the Atlantic Ocean from Europe to the Caribbean. Whether you plan to follow suit or journey through one of the smaller oceans, these tips can make sure you arrive at your destination safely.
The Right Boat
Many experienced sailors say you don't need fancy gadgetry to sail long distances across the ocean. While this is generally true, it can pay off in the end to outfit the right vessel with all the basic goods you'll need over the course of your voyage. For starters, any long distance vessel needs to be stable and seaworthy rather then swift, which is better suited for protected water. Other necessary considerations when it comes to outfitting your boat include at least 35-45 feet on deck, inboard diesel engine, fiberglass hull and decks, enough storage for all your goods and materials, bulwarks with good drains for those stormy days, dual anchors with at least 400 feet in chain, aluminum keel-stepped mast, and have good handholds for moving around both above and below deck. Additional consideration equipment to have onboard is a dodger, splash cloths, bimini, autopilot capabilities, refrigeration, wind vane, lee cloths, emergency boarding ladder, maintenance logs, diesel stove, and of course a life raft with fire blanket, propane, CO detectors, and flares. You should also have a dinghy with outboard motor, wind instruments, radio, and radar.
Increase Your Energy Capacity
Regardless of how well prepared you think you are, adding more capacity for energy is always a good idea. Your navigation lights, radio, autopilot, fridge, computer and countless other items all use electricity, and if you're not able to generate the necessary power, this can mean life or death in serious situations. Plan on a diesel generator, large alternator, solar panels for collecting sun on those peaceful days, and potentially a towed turbine.
Train, Train, Train
Sailors often think training is about routing and navigation when in reality it's more about the know-how to fix things when problems occur. Prepare for all the possibilities with a thorough course in engine maintenance, sea survival, medical and first aid training, and of course read up and save all the manuals regarding the servicing of your onboard equipment. This will inevitably come in handy.
Easy Does It
Most members onboard, however seasoned they may be, will require 2-3 days to get their sea legs and settle into a sea routine. Keeping in mind that all the extra fuel and water you're carrying is displacement that will lighten your load later on, enjoy the peaceful ride and relax the throttle. There's no need to push it hard too early in the journey.
Prepare for Gear Failure
Your equipment can and will fail at some point, whether it's this trip, the next, or one later on down the line. Preparing for this eventuality is the best way to ensure your smooth sailing and safety.