If you’ve decided to take a longer trip in your boat than a gentle sail around the bay, then there are a few things you should do before you head for the open seas. When you’re out at sea, inevitably things can go wrong, and fast, so it’s important that you have prepared your boat properly before you go.
Get your Boat Serviced
It’s vital to have your boat checked out by a qualified boat mechanic before you leave the harbour. Taking longer journeys will put increased strain on the boat, and any minor problems can soon become major ones. Make sure any necessary repairs are carried out beforehand and that all the mechanical elements of the boat, such as the engine, GPS systems and bilge pumps are all in order.
You may also want to consider having a backup power source to keep things running if you do have any problems. With a wide range of generators for sale, you should easily find one to suit your needs and space requirements.
As part of your maintenance and preparation, you should always open up the sales before you leave for your trip. Be sure to check there are no holes in the sails, or wear and tear on the rigging ropes or mechanical elements of the mast that could hinder you putting the sail up when you’re out at sea. This can be done in the marina, or a short trip out to sea should help you identify any major issues that might occur. If you do encounter any problems, get them fixed right away.
Additionally, you should do a routine check of all the other elements of rigging on the boat. Checking that all ropes, buoys and essential equipment is in good working order and not in need of replacement. Depending on where you’re travelling, you may find that some pieces of equipment are more expensive, so get them before you go. Also, stock up on spare rope lines, hooks, clips, webbing and turnbuckles in case of breakage or loss overboard.
Safety at sea is of paramount importance, and you need to be prepared for every eventuality, as you never know what the ocean will throw at you. Make sure your boat is fully equipped with the right number of life jackets and an emergency life raft, fire extinguisher, fully stocked First Aid Kit and flares, making sure they are easily accessible if you need to use them. It’s also a good idea to have a list of emergency contacts for each member of the crew too.
You also need to be prepared for every type of weather possible, as it might not always be blue skies and sun. Ensure your boat is equipped with the right number of foul-weather gear, long johns, hats, gloves, scarves and yachting boots, as well as sun cream and protective eyewear when it is warm. The most important thing when you’re sailing is to stay warm and dry.
If you haven’t already, you should also check you have all the right equipment on board and that it is all working properly to keep you safe, on the right path and well fed. Take some time to check your GPS system and route planning equipment; test the cooking facilities and stock up the kitchenware if necessary and stock up on food and water – be sure to pack as much non-perishable food as possible and plenty of drinking water. It’s always best to overestimate on water and food supplies, not relying on exact calculations on when you will next be in port, in case you drift off course or encounter problems.