Is it safe?
Throughout our journey, many of our friends and family members have been concerned about how dangerous it can be to travel. Obviously we all know that some things are inherently safe like staying at an all inclusive resort and never leaving the property.
You can stay in your shell like this hermit crab in Fakarava.
And some things are inherently unsafe (think standing on a dark street corner in Tijuana) when it comes to traveling.
One can presume that it only gets worse when the sun goes down. petracross
Sailing can be safe, as long as you’re smart.
Staying within swimming distance of the beach: pretty safe.
Crossing the Pacific Ocean: not necessarily less safe.
You don’t see amazing places and do exciting things by never taking calculated risks.
Key word: CALCULATED.
Coast Guard Couple, being the adventurous peoplewe are, likes to stack the deck in our favor. Here are some of the critical things we think about before setting out to sea:
1. Who are you looking to go sailing with, and what do they know?
- Do you get a warm fuzzy feeling when you talk to them about their sailing experiences, or do you get the feeling that they’re lucky every time their boat manages to make it back to shore safely?
- Is your skipper willing to show you around the boat?
- Do they know how to handle and maintain their gear?
- Ask around – what do other people think of them?
2. What about the boat?
- Is it well kept?
- Is all the safety gear onboard, easily accessible, and within specifications?
- Is all the navigation and sailing gear present and well-maintained?
3. Who are you and what do you know?
- Are you an experienced sailor looking to sail with an inexperienced owner?
- Is the owner willing to listen to your advice and expertise?
- Are you an inexperienced sailor looking to rely on the knowledge of your shipmates?
- Are your shipmates willing to teach you?
- Do you all get along?
Answering these questions will get you a good part of the way towards making a decision about whether or not to sail with someone.
What’s also important is knowing what is never safe.
- Do not sail if you AND the boat owner both inexperienced sailors.
- Do not sail if the boat is not in good shape or if all the required safety gear is not onboard.
- Do not sail if you are not compatible with the owner.
- If your gut says no, DON’T sail!
Naturally, some crew and some boats will not be a great fit. Just remember, if you don’t find the best ride right out the gate, there are plenty more fish in the sea and boats on the water.
Better to be safe on dry land…
instead of wanting to jump overboard!
Check out our first entry about safety at sea: Why I use a tether and mom should not watch this.
Greg and Tiffany are traveling around the world on sailing yachts and keep a video blog of their (mis)adventures. If sailing to Tahiti on a 44 ft sailboat, 3-day delays for wine tastings, getting pooped on by seagulls, opening coconuts with dull machetes, sailing past tornadoes and ukulele Christmas carols are for you, then check them out at www.CoastGuardCouple.com!