One of the most exciting and rewarding elements of boat ownership is that satisfaction of arriving somewhere for the first time by water. The possibilities to explore new bays, rivers and harbours are almost endless.
Did you know that we have developed the only Day Skipper online course that focuses on Australian East Coast passage planning?
It is important as part of your planning that you do not just look at the entries for the destination you are planning to go to, but also places you may need to enter as bolt holes.
The bolt holes you seek, could vary depending on the circumstance, so you may consider some only acceptable in daylight, or with a working engine. At all times whilst at sea you need to have a clear understanding of which ports or harbours you would enter, from those around you so if you have an emergency to attend to that you are already prepared.
The questions you would ask yourself before planning an entry would be:
Watch systems are a skill that is learnt and you will find that many skippers have firm views over the “perfect system”. We have some sample systems that can work well below, but would also advise the following things are critical to a successful watch system:
Finally as well as making sure people know what is expected in terms of times and standing orders, watch systems also introduce two areas to consider for your domestic duties and safety.
Even with the best of intentions the sharing of cooking and cleaning can get loaded to one of two individuals on board. The longer the trip the more problems this can create and finding ways that this is fair can be a challenge to all skippers. Over the years we have experimented with many variations on ideas but always found that if the people who cook also clean up the galley after themselves it often works best.
Please remember though that if people are feeling sea sick that a warm galley, with a rolling sea, is not going to help this and likely to make them feel terrible so it is suggested that all rules are a starting point to sensible compassion and consideration and that people who can’t help with duties below are given opportunities to contribute elsewhere on board to balance these things out.
It needs to be clear who is responsible for the boat and safety at all times. Particularly for overnight passages there is an almost continual amount of set up and tidying to keep the boat safe and everything ready to use if needed.
Even the smallest of trips should have a short briefing.
When you’re planning the briefing that you give, it is important to understand that there is a difference between a safety briefing, a boat induction, and a domestic/ housekeeping briefing.
Particularly when bringing new people onto your boat or chartering a boat with inexperienced people, taking the time to identify these areas, will often put people at ease, decrease the likelihood of an accident occurring and increase your confidence as the skipper that despite having inexperienced people on the boat that you can still get out and have some fun.
It is extremely difficult to make this relevant and brief. The information they need to know needs to have a key focus on them staying alive and not being harmed in an emergency and what to do if you are no longer around.
We use the headings of Fire, Flooding and Falling Off to identify what we will talk about. Realistically you have around 3 minutes for this if you want and engaged audience who are learning and going to be able to act on the information you give them.
For the trip you are undertaking, with the crew on board, you should work out what their need to know elements will be in the event of a fire, flooding i.e. losing the boat or falling off. Please remember with falling off that you need to make sure they know what to do if you fall off.
Finally, with your briefing remember the following:
> I hear I forget
> I see I remember
> I do I understand
Once you have this planned out you should ask yourself, could I make this a practical demonstration rather than just talking to people?