Offshore Sailing is a safe part of our sport when it is carried out in a responsible way, but it is always worth being ready for the unexpected.
Adopting a safe attitude on board a yacht and regularly checking the boat's equipment reduces the likelihood of any problems and ensures you are ready if one does arise.
Staying safe on a yacht is not just about the equipment it carries but the state of mind and preparation of the skipper and crew. Only they can work together to create a safety ethos ensuring the boat is run efficiently and safely. Many accidents are preventable by approaching the task with the right frame of mind. Prior training helps by ensuring that crew are confident and above all competent in what they have to do.
ISAF Technical Co-ordinator Henry Thorpe shared his thoughts on the reasons why this resource is so effective, "Yachting is a highly diverse discipline of the sport of sailing, with many challenging and engaging areas to keep every sailor interested for a lifetime. This ISAF Training Resource is the first time that we have produced a training resource targeted at sailors to help them stay safe at sea and handle difficult situations. The training resource has a very high picture and illustrative content specifically designed to make it a captivating read.
"With over a 100 photographs, sourced from the major offshore races including the Rolex Sydney Hobart and the Volvo Ocean Race. I urge all yacht sailors, be them cruising or racing to keep a copy on board for all crew to read."
The ISAF Guide to Offshore Personal Safety has many exciting chapters that contain plenty of activities to help keep sailors engaged. We have chosen two aspects of safety that you may find helpful, informative and 'fun'.
Chapter 4: Personal safety equipment - Lifejackets
Top tip - In order to check that all components of your lifejacket are intact and working well then it is essential to perform a visual check at least once per year; open the lifejacket, remove the gas cylinder (CO2 bottle) and manually inflate the bladder by using the oral inflation tube until the bladder is as tight as you can make it. Now complete the remaining checks as stated on page 63 of the ISAF Guide and leave your lifejacket inflated overnight to see if it remains airtight. If in doubt contact the manufacturer as they will provide service and maintenance advice.
Chapter 6: Whilst Afloat - Heavy Weather Sailing
Top tip - If you have not practiced a 'person overboard' recovery for any length of time then why not do it the next time you are sailing and involve the entire crew. As the crew has a lot to do in a short time, knowing their roles in advance of this happening for real will make a big difference. The aim should be to stop the boat, turn around and pass close by the person in the water in order to pass buoyancy (if required) and then ready the boat to pick them up. There are a number of techniques listed in the ISAF Guide for you to try. Please remember to practice with something other than a real person. A fender / buoy with bucket tied to it will be just as effective.
The ISAF Guide to Offshore Personal Safety can be purchased directly from the online shop here
The ISAF Guide to Offshore Personal Safety for Racing and Cruising provides essential reading for all types of sailors and is an ideal background for those undertaking the ISAF Offshore Personal Survival Course. The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) is committed to increasing safety awareness at sea and the ISAF Offshore Special Regulations (See www.sailing.org/specialreg
) form a vital part in this.
If you have any experiences of Offshore sailing then why not share them with us via our Facebook
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so others can use them as a starting point.
For details on all ISAF Training and Development programmes visit our dedicated website page www.sailing.org/training