Following on from our recent post highlighting the changes the MCA have made to their pleasure vessel recommendations, they have also highlighted their ‘best practice” guidelines. So in addition to complying with the regulations their top six best practice points are:
- Get Trained – It is sensible to undertake some form of training suitable to the intended voyage(s) of your vessel; if you do get trained you will be far less likely to be involved in a maritime incident. If you get into difficulty you will also know how to get the right help quickly, reducing the impact of your problem.
- Check the Weather and Tides – Always check the weather and tidal conditions before you set out so that you can prepare accordingly. At sea, changes in tidal streams could make conditions worse, particularly if the wind and tide are against each other. Tidal heights may also hide underwater hazards.
- Wear a Lifejacket – A lifejacket that is properly serviced and maintained in accordance with the manufacturers recommendations will significantly increase your survival chances if you fall overboard. It should be fitted with a light, whistle and crotch straps to stop the lifejacket riding up over your head and if possible a spray hood.
- Avoid Alcohol – If you have been drinking alcohol, your judgement will be impaired and you will be more likely to make mistakes, which at sea could be threatening. Think of operating a vessel in the same way as you would think about driving a car – where the perils of drink driving are well understood.
- Keep in Touch – Tell someone responsible ashore where you are going and what time you expect to return so they are able to let the Coastguard know if you are missing.
- Wear the Kill Cord – if your boat is fitted with a kill cord, ensure the driver wears it at all times. If the driver falls overboard, it may help save their life and the lives of others who may also be in the water.