Video Sailing Guide Part 4: Yacht Equipment

Ex-Olympic yachtsman and principle coach at Parkstone Yacht Club, Hugh Styles gives advice on how to prepare your yacht's equipment before taking to the water.

Video Sailing Guide: Part 4 - Yacht Equipment Transcript

As well as making sure we've got the boat's seaworthy we need to make sure that all the safety equipment that you personally use onboard is up to scratch as well.

The first item is the lifejacket or you could potentially use a buoyancy aid - this in this example has a built in harness. So for when you're going offshore you need to have a harness and a harness line to connect on to a safety line that will be onboard the boat and this has a mechanism in it which is self-inflating as and when you fall in the water. It will have a gas canister which has got a water activating switch which will basically switch the gas canister to inflate the life jacket and would therefore keep you safe and float when you fell in the water.

If you have a buoyancy aid or lifejacket that doesn't have a self-inflating thing then a buoyancy aid will have enough foam in it to be supporting you in the water. The other method is a toggle that you pull on the life jacket - similar to what you'd see on an aircraft safety demonstration, to make sure the life jacket inflates.

The next item we have is a piece of safety equipment is a flare - as and when we end up in difficulty onboard the boat then we need to be able to notify the support services and this would be done, in this example, by a set of handheld flares that would produce a coloured gas that would basically signify where you are from quite a long distance away and you'd be able to see from back on land when you're say out a couple of miles offshore.

Really important that we check the date on this on a regular basis so that we can make sure that it is in-date, and any that are out-of-date we need to dispose of appropriately and not just throw on a fire and let it go off.

The next item - binoculars - really important so we can keep good vantage points, known and in location on our passage to and from the harbour to a new mooring location. They need to be robust enough to be able to be used in fairly harsh sailing conditions - and obviously waterproof.

The next item is - torch - new batteries and a set of spare batteries onboard the boat so that you can make sure you have always know that you have the ability to have a light-source when you end up in a position of not being able to see anything, downstairs looking around the engine or equally in the pitch-black up on deck if you have an issue with anything on deck.

Then in-case you end up with any ropes wrapped around the propeller we need to have a good mask and a snorkel so that potentially you can go down and unwrap any lines from the propeller - which is under the back of the boat.

And then more into some avoiding any fire issues - a good powerful fire extinguisher that can put out fires that will be more galley or engine oriented - and this particular one is a powder. Powder fire extinguisher - but again we'd need to double check on the item for a date of last service and a renewal date of when it needs to be checked again.

And really lastly is a first-aid kit - every boat should have a good first-aid kit and a first-aid kit needs to include obviously plasters for patching up any cuts or grazes - through to then rehydration drink mix so that we can keep people rehydrated, say they get sick - they need to have some rehydration. And then some bandages, a sling in-case anyone ends up with any arm injuries that we need to strap-up and then also some sterile wipes and dressings so that we can patch up or clean anybody up if they end up with any wounds that they've had as a result of hitting something on the boat.

The life craft is an important piece of equipment on the boat and we need to make sure that - A it's in date and B - that it's been regularly serviced. It's going to be needed in a time of emergency and it needs to be easily accessible onboard and will function appropriately and properly as and when it's required.

In the event of a man overboard situation then we'd be using the life-ring and then also this danbouy. The danbouy gets thrown at the same time as the life-ring to the person that falls in the water and then that makes it easy for us to spot the person before we then come back around to come and collect them out of the water.

JT: Using Hugh's tips you should be able to get back on the water successfully but more importantly - safely. In addition to these tips you should also consider your insurance cover - specifically cruising ranges, what you're using the craft for - for example racing, and are the sums insured adequate?

For more information type in "Towergate Insurance" into any search engine - thank you for watching.

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