Here are the fundamental practices we follwed while cruising on Callipygia to ensure our, and the boat's, safety and security. As appropriate, these were reviewed as part of the boat orientation with all stay-aboard visitors. Some of these arose because of lessons learned the hard way.
- Get the weather forecast at least once a day, and if a front or storm is anticipated, collect a weather forecast in the evening before going to bed.
- Before leaving the boat for the day, check the bilges, the amount of current being drawn from the batteries, and the position of the automatic bilge pump switch. Also check/adjust the ground tackle as appropriate.
- If we waken in the night to some wind/rain, go into the cockpit and assess the situation. Check and adjust (if necessary) the ground tackle and initiate an anchor watch if necessary.
- Check the engine oil every Monday
- When leaving the boat for the day, always lock it.
- Take a walk round the deck every day and check the anchor and rode or docklines for chafe, signs of dragging, etc., and also give the rigging above the deck an eyeball check.
- If it looks like lightning, drop one of the copper lightning shields into the water.
- If someone goes swimming off the boat, someone else stays on the boat at all times, and a length of floating (polypropylene) line is left hanging down the side into the water near the swim ladder.
- Before anyone goes swimming off the boat, check to see if there is any current, and how strong it is. No swimming unless current is negligible.
- After swimming, flush ears out with a mixture of 50% alcohol and 50% vinegar.
- When the stove is on, someone is always in/near the galley keeping an eye on it.
- To turn off the stove, the propane shut-off switch is turned off first to allow propane to clear out from the pipes, and then when the flame has gone out the stove controls are turned off.
- When the stove is in use, the porthole above it is kept open for ventilation.
- Before the frig is run for the day, pump out the water accumulated in the bottom.
- Whoever cooks, cleans up.
- No alcohol on coastal passages. Small glass of wine/beer daily if desired in clement weather on ocean passage.
- Jacklines are rigged along both sides of the deck from cockpit to bow before leaving on an offshore passage.
- Use radar at night, or during the daytime when meeting traffic or in busy traffic areas.
- Person on watch does a 180° visual check every 8 minutes. At night, or when drowsy, use a timer as an alarm.
- Safety harnesses and PFDs go on at dusk and stay on until dawn. Person in the cockpit is clipped to the boat at dusk. Crew in the cockpit are also clipped on during the day in heavy weather, and also whenever someone leaves the cockpit and goes forward in other than calm conditions.
- No one goes forward to do deckwork unless someone else is up, awake, and in the cockpit.
- Put a reef in the mainsail before dark.
- Non swimmers wear PFDs while in transit whenever they are on deck outside the cockpit.
- Hatches and portholes are kept closed, and before anyone opens one, they check with the captain.
- If it looks like lightning, put handheld GPS and VHF in the oven, and drop one of the copper lightning shields into the water off a lee shroud.
- Take the handheld VHF on all dinghy trips, and a flashlight if going to be out in the dark.
- In areas exposed to offshore winds, except for short trips in calm conditions, take the following items: Handheld VHF, seat cushion (emergency flotation), dinghy Anchor Bag containing anchor (small Danforth, with 4' chain and 60' 3/8" 3-strand nylon rod), kellet (small grapnel) with shackle, and 1/2 gallon bottle of water. Anchor bag also contains a Dri-bag with a whistle, small air horn, flashlight with spare batteries, 4 recently expired flares and one can of smoke.
- If the motor dies and the wind starts to blow the dinghy out to sea, try to row. If rowing will not keep dinghy going to shore/boat, then anchor and call for assistance on the VHF. If anchoring doesn't work, then call for assistance on the VHF and consider swimming to shore and abandoning the dinghy.
- When towing the dinghy, two polypropylenelines are used with a bridle, and these are shortened up so as to bring the dinghy close to the side of the mother boat when slowing down to anchor or dock, or maneuver for any other reason.
- Before towing, remove all contents from dinghy. Run motor out of fuel before storing it on the stern rail.
- Non-swimmers take a PFD with them if they go in the dinghy.
- When at anchor, the dinghy is kept attached to the mother boat with two lines.
- After using the dinghy motor, close the fuel tank vent (keeps water/moisture out).
- At night, lock the dinghy and motor to the side of the mother boat with a metal cable and padlock.
- When the engine, stove, or Webasto heater are turned on, check to make sure that the the CO detector is turned on also.
- Nothing goes into the head unless it has been eaten or drunk.
- Two radiator clamps are fastened on all hoses that carry water in/out of the boat. These are put on in opposite directions.
- A wood plug of the appropriate size is kept wired next to the seacock for each thru-hull
- Wash off all skin cuts/breaks with alchohol, however small.
- Never attach a line to yourself, except for a safety line.
Bill Dillon (KG4QFM)
Pat Watt (KG4QFQ)
This page was last modified on
August 9, 2009
Copyright 2005 The Trouser Rollers. All Rights Reserved.