Are you searching for a boat to enjoy yourself on the lake? If so, the first thing you need to do is learning about the different types of lake boats to consider. This is vital because the wide variety of options might make it somewhat challenging for you to pick one that best suits your needs.
If you’ve been going through such a problem, worry no more. This article is a detailed guide on the type of lake boats you should consider buying. However, before deciding the kind of boat to buy, make sure first to consider the lake you intend to use your boat.
Moreover, you need to consider the type of boating activities you enjoy perfuming. With this in mind, here are the different types of boats you need to consider.
Ski and Wakeboard Boats
If you’re into adventure and want a boat that provides you with immense power, then consider getting a ski or wakeboard boat. The difference between the wakeboard and ski boards usually comes in their field of action.
You can tell of this difference since in-board wakeboard boats have deep hulls, incorporate a V drive engine system, and a big wake to start moving. In contrast, ski boats usually need a powerful acceleration range, with the engine’s propeller and shape accentuating it.
Therefore, with the wakeboard and ski boats, you’re guaranteed to enjoy a captivating experience while out on the lake. Nonetheless, these boats are expensive and with the average ski boar priced between $25,000 to $50,000.
Pontoon Boats | A Popular Type of Lake Boat
Another popular type of boat used on lakes is the pontoon boat. This boat’s size ranges between less than 16 feet to over 25 feet and features a broad range of sizes, performance, and amenities.
Nowadays, these boats are rigged to deliver enough power to skiers and tow tubes to cruise at speeds of 40 MPH or faster as opposed to in the past when they were only used for slow cruising.
The amenities found in this boat range from basic to luxurious, with different options aimed at fishing, watersports, and entertainment.
Adding a trolling motor for pontoon boat these boats could be very effective for fishing. You will have to add rod holders, tackle boxes, and bags for fishing.
Handling a pontoon boat is very easy and stable on the water. Moreover, they have a huge interior space, so you can accommodate your entire family and friends when sailing through the lake.
This boat’s downside is loading a trailer onto it is quite challenging and don’t handle rough water as excellent as other boats such as the deck or runabout boat. It also isn’t very efficient or fast as these boats, something some boat enthusiasts don’t love about it.
These boats come in different sizes and are designed specifically for fishing both on fresh and saltwater bodies. Fishing boats can either be un-manned or manned and incorporate many useful features that make it an ideal choice.
This includes having rod lockers, live well, an outboard power cell, a trolling motor system, and a front bow. These many useful features give its many appealing traits such as durability, strength, and stability.
Unlike other boats built to be used on rivers and lakes, fishing boats have more robust build quality, making it more than capable of withstanding extreme conditions and saltwater.
It’s also taller in size, and for the fishing boats made from aluminum, they’re very durable and weigh less.
Furthermore, fishing boats usually feature two or three anglers on board and have a slim profile, making them the perfect choice when fishing. You’ll need to pay about $5,000 when buying a small fishing boat of decent quality.
This boat has a size of between 17 to 35 feet and has an open bow area where additional seats are positioned in front of the helm. They provide you with great flexibility in terms of speed, power, usage, and access to beaches, land, and coves. In addition to this, they’re powered by an outboard engine or stern drive.
If you’re new to water sports and fishing on lakes, bowriders are the perfect boats since they’re user friendly.
The bowrider’s starting price of acceptable quality is $15,000, and you can use it for swimming, watersports, or cursing.
Do you enjoy incredible speeds while cruising in the lake? If you do, then consider buying a High-Performance boat, which is typically built for speed.
The unique features of this boat include a high power to weight ratio, a steep deadrise, as well as a narrow beam. Inside, this boat features cockpit seats that can accommodate two to six passengers and Spartan cabins.
Another feature found on this boat includes surface drives, stern drives, and high horsepower outboards. As a result, this boat, which has a length ranging between 25 to 60 feet, is strong, light, quick, and an excellent choice for fast cruising or racing.
When looking to buy this boat, the minimum amount of money you’ll need to spend is $50,000, while the premium models cost millions.
When looking for a boat that includes all the needed amenities while out on the lake, the yacht is a perfect choice. These boats’ use is mostly for relaxation, and their sizes vary significantly from 39 feet and above.
Moreover, the yacht may either feature one or two diesel engines depending on the navigation requirements, whether for use in the ocean or inland water bodies.
There are many different types on the market, meaning you’re spoilt for choice. The popular varieties include Cruising yachts, Day sailing yachts, luxury sailing yachts, Weekender yachts, among many others, depending on your individual needs.
The starting price of yachts is about $30,000, which depends on its feature and size.
Cabin Cruisers| Comfortable Lake Boat
Do you want to enjoy a relaxed sailing while out on the lake? If you do, then cabin cruisers are, without a doubt, one of the best picks due to the many essential and exciting features it incorporates.
This boat comes designed with a berth and galley and thereby provides you with modern comforts, including power generators and air conditioners. It also features a secure shaft drive mechanism, deep-V bottom, and rudder steering and is perfectly suited for use in salty water.
If you want to buy a cabin cruiser, be ready to spend at least $10,000, and this price continues to increase as you increase the size.
This type of boat is unique as it depends on sails and masts to navigate through the water powered by the winds instead of a diesel-powered engine, which might only be installed as a backup. As a result, it has a majestic feel brought about by its easy open-air feeling, making its riding experience out of this world.
However, before you know the sailing basics and get to perfect how to ride sailboats, you must perfect your skills on how to rig. Furthermore, you need to be open to working with a team as it’s something that requires both technique and teamwork.
When looking to buy a sailboat, the minimum starting price is $10,000, but other models are usually expensive, averaging several hundred thousand dollars.
Personal Watercraft (PWC)
One of the most popular types of boats you’ll find on most natural water bodies is PWC boats. These boats are also referred to as jetski or water scooter and incorporate customizations that make it suitable for undertaking adventures.
With this recreational boat, you can partake in various games, including sportfishing and water-skiing, hence why it’s especially popular among the youths. It also is an excellent choice for exploring water.
Personal Watercraft comes in two types, that is, the stand-up and sit-down models. The stand-up models can only be used by one rider, whereas the sit-down models are perfect for two or more persons. If you’re looking to buy this boat, be ready at about $5,000. You can have a look at the buying guide for PWC.
Bass Boats | Useful Lake Boat
This is also another boat type of lake boat that you need to know about when looking to buy a boat to do freshwater fishing. The size of bass boats usually ranges between 14 feet to 23 feet.
Furthermore, incorporated into its design is a V hull as a low freeboard. Therefore, when searching for a boat to use on rivers and inland lakes, look no further since bass boats are the perfect pick.
Nevertheless, these boats are costly as they incorporate high horsepower outboards, special gear as well as trolling points. With an average length of 15 to 25 feet, these boats’ starting price is $10,000.
Inflatable Boats | Cheap & Good Enough
Another type of lake boat you need to know about is the inflatable boats, which have a length between 6 to 14 feet. On the sides of this boat are inflatable tubes, and its floor is either made using rigid or flexible aluminum or plywood depending on its size. They also feature outboard motors that are useful on a rigid transom.
The best part about inflatable boats is that they’re easy to transport due to their deflectable design. Because of this, these boats are generally used like dinghies on bigger boats.
If you’re new to boating, this is a great boat to get as it’s affordable with a starting price of $150. Other more expensive models cost $10,000.
These boats are available in a broad range of sizes, from not more than 16 feet to over 27 feet. Deck boats are usually designed with fiberglass with others incorporating aluminum construction.
When buying this boat, you should choose between jet propulsion, sterndrive, and outboard.
Deck boats have an open bow that has a lounge space and is designed in a sporty look. Therefore, if you want a boat with a spacious and big deck area to relax while still having a V-shape for cruising, look no further.
This boat’s price ranges between $15,000 to more than $100,000 depending on its size, varying from 12 to 30 feet.
There are numerous types of lake boats to choose from, and finding the ideal one can sometimes be confusing. If you didn’t know where to start in your search for a lake boat, this article has been of immense help to you.
Now that you know this, it’s a lot easier to know which of these boats mentioned above is best suited for your needs.
After the boating season is over what you need to think about is how to winterize your boat and protect your valuable asset. Winterizing a boat checklist will definitely help to do so. The effort and time you put on winterizing can go a long way in affecting its performance and will save you money, time, and effort come spring.
Preparing your boat for winter requires various steps that should be performed so that the boat is kept in the best possible condition. Step one on how to winterize a boat is to create a checklist of everything which needs to be achieved. Here is a step by step winterizing a boat checklist.
Start by inspecting the boat for damage which needs to be repaired
Clean propeller shaft before applying protective grease
Install a de-icing device inside the boat and store in water
Inspect then repair wiring
Ensure that the fuel valves are sealed
Change the oil as well as any filters
Use fresh water so as to flush the engine, afterward ensures that you drain everything
Lubricate grease fittings of the engine
Grease external engine fittings
Circulate antifreeze via engine block as well as manifolds
In case the boat has an inboard motor you can change the transmission fluid
Clean the boat inside and outside then remove barnacles or plant life
Remove valuables inside the boat
Remove the battery and store in a dry and safe place
Ensure that you lock the boat and the keys are left with a responsible person
How to Winterize a Boat for Avoiding Loss?
You can start by cleaning out the interior of your boat like water sports equipment or fishing, accessories, ladders, and floatation devices.
Also, ensure that you remove non-factory installed electronic equipment like depth finders, and external audio players then storing them indoors so as to prevent theft or damage.
You can thoroughly clean the floor of the boat or pontoon boat so as to remove dirt, food crumbs, and dust. Also, ensure that you wipe down everything inside the boat then ensure it is dry. You can use boat seat cleaners or upholstery cleaners.
This will eliminate the chances of mildew or mold growing inside the boat thus making the boat or pontoon boat less prone to rodents. In addition, clean off the exterior of the boat so as to ensure it is dry before you cover the boat.
Ensure that you remove equipment from inside the boat. You can remove any miscellaneous equipment from the boat. This includes anything from floatation devices such as tubes, skis, floatation devices, towels as well as fishing equipment which traps moisture leading to mildew.
Additionally, ensure that you remove any electronic equipment that should be removed then stored indoors so as to protect it from moisture and cold temperatures.
Confirm that you winterize the fuel tank and engine. Because the engine of your boat will remain dormant for a few months, ensure that it is well protected. Ensure that you check the owner’s manual because it shows you the specific instructions on how to prepare the engine for storage during winter.
During cold temperatures, any water inside the boat’s engine expands thus resulting in damage and cracking. You can lubricate the engine cylinders then spray fogging oil into spark plug holes as well as carburetors.
From there, ensure that you store the fuel tank that is 3/4 full. In case, the fuel comes with ethanol, you can add a fuel stabilizer that protects the fuel.
Like the engines, the freshwater system, waste system, fixed generators, and fixed air conditions should be taken care of. The water should be reduced from the tanks and the antifreeze should be circulated through the lines and tanks.
In Step 4
Make sure that you charge then store the battery. In case you are planning on taking your boat outside the water, you can remove your boat battery as well as store it inside a dry environment which is near room temperature. Ensure that your boat’s battery is charged fully before it is stored away.
The final step ensures that you cover the boat with the right winter boat cover. You can choose to cover your boat with a tarpaulin which is designed to withstand harsh winter and extreme temperature conditions. A good boat cover for winter should fit the boat snugly as well as expand and contract slightly so that it does not rip from changes in temperature.
Step 5 of Boat Winterization
After preparing everything properly we need to cover the boat and the trailer with a good quality boat cover. Different types and shapes of covers are available in the market.
A Brief Video on Boat Winterization
How to Winterize a Boat Motor?
The first step is to prepare your boat motor for winterizing. To reduce the chances of the tank being filled with air, you should fill it with gas. Air is not a good thing because it can lead to condensation when the temperature is low.
If you fail to fill up your tank with gas, you will end up with water inside which can lead to major problems later on. From there add fuel stabilizer which prevents buildup when the boat is left for extended periods. Next, warm the engine by running it while in water.
The second step, add antifreeze as well as spraying fogging oils. After cleaning the motor ensure it is prepared as above. You can add antifreeze so as to prevent condensation of water inside the motor.
In addition, make sure you add antifreeze to engine blocks. It is important that you follow the boat’s manufacturer specifications on how to drain the engine block. The antifreeze to add once you drain the engine block of the coolant is propylene glycol. You can also add antifreeze to sterndrives, which refer to an inboard motor.
The third step, ensure that you replace the oil filter and change the engine’s oil. It is easier to drain then change the oil when it is warm. Your transmission as well as engine oil can be contaminated with particles and dirt, which harms it during winter when it is not dealt with well.
You can change your transmission and engine oil which can be contaminated with dust particles and dirt.
Fourth step and finally, conduct a final inspection of the boat motor. The first inspection to do is to check the exhaust system for corrosion. To inspect the exhaust system you need to disassemble it from the water lift muffler then check for defects such as corrosion.
For example, if you are using a trolling motor for a pontoon boat or an outboard motor for any other boat, don’t forget the last inspection which may be the most important.
Second, inspect the hose clamps and hoses. Check the clamp and ensure it is shredded, cracked, or rusty. The third inspection to do is to seal off cracks from the air intake.
You can double-check the exhaust outlet and air inlet. Ensure that you take care of the battery and remove then keep it indoors. You can choose pests whether you keep them in storage or lift. Invest in theft prevention so that you can stay vigilant as well as a stop so as to check on the boat once after a while.
Boat Winterization Kit
If you have already researched on winterizing a boat checklist, then you probably have come across the term “winterization kit”. Simply put, a winterization kit refers to a compact supply of different tools and supplies which are needed to winterize a boat yourself.
Unless you live in sunny areas that allow you to boat throughout the year without worrying about the cold season, you should think early about preparing your boat for the winter season.
You can find a trusted and reliable shop that sells winterization kits that you can count on, which allows you to maximize your boating experience the following season.
Even if you are a DIYer, it is likely that you will winterization kits that you can use to protect your valuable asset.
In case you have never winterized your boat yourself, it is recommended that you choose Starbrite’s Do It Yourself Kit. This winterization kit comes with everything you need to protect your boat during the winter season, including step by step instructions on how to use the kit.
Other winterization products you can get include Starbrite and Camco. The benefit of these winterization kits is that they come with items such as an antifreeze jug, including tubing which pumps out moisture as well as antifreeze.
Some of the items which come with a boat winterization kit include antifreeze, tubing which is used to pump out moisture, and an antifreeze jug. If you are looking to buy a boat winterization kit, you can expect to spend anything from $50 to $100.
How Much Does It Cost to Winterize a Boat?
It is true that the cost of winterizing your pricey boat when the cold season sets in can be a drag. However, the cost of not winterizing your boat can be much higher.
If you fail to winterize your boat, you will find that the engine can be ruined by frozen fluids mildew and molds fouling the interior of the boat, cracks in the hull, wiring, and corroded spark plugs.
Ideally, you should expect to pay around $300 for winterizing. However, if you are winterizing a small boat you should expect to pay something like $100 or a lesser amount.
In case, you have a large cabin cruiser or a specialty boat, then the amount you will pay to winterize it is much higher in the region of $500 to $600 or more.
This might seem like an added cost for boat owners but it is cheaper compared to purchasing a new boat.
Do I Have to Winterize My Boat?
In case you live in places that have a warmer climate, then it Is easy to think that you do not have to winterize the boat.
However, despite the warm climate, you should not be surprised when you experience freezing weather which can lead to costly damage if you failed to winterize.
If you stored your boat unwinterized inside the garage all winter, then you should monitor the weather so that in case there is a storm or the temperature drops you have a backup plan which includes a heating source.
It is important to winterize your boat during the cold season because it will save you money in the long run. You need to de-winterize the boat also before Spring.
Additionally, you can winterize your boat because it is not only effective to protect your pricey boat but also you can increase the lifespan of the boat.
In case you did not know, your boat is not just a precious machine but a complex one. During the spring season, you need to inspect if your boat is fine. It cannot be possible for someone to tell if the boat has thawed or frozen parts, but it is possible to see visible damage.
In case you failed to winterize your boat you should be ready for commissioning your boat. Thus winterizing your boat will keep it in a clean and perfect condition which will in turn affect the trade-in and resale value when you decide to upgrade it to the latest model.
If you want to avoid problems in the spring season, you can make a checklist of the things you should do in the cold season such as applying corrosion protection to the boat’s engine, adding fuel stabilizing additive to the fuel system, changing the engine’s fuel system, adding antifreeze to the plumbing system, and removing drain plugs.
What Temperature Do You Need to Winterize Your Boat?
The question of what temperature you need to winterize your boat is on everybody’s lips. It is important to note that the temperature you choose to winterize your boat will determine whether you get the most of your winterization process or not.
According to experts, you should winterize your boat at temperatures between 29 and 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Can I Winterize My Boat Myself?
Yes, you can winterize your boat yourself and only spend a few dollars to complete the job. You do not have to incur the extra cost of hiring an expert to winterize your boat for you.
If you are a handyman, you can winterize your boat yourself. The benefit of this is that you will not only save money but also time. This is because winterizing your boat yourself will take less than one hour, which is less than the time you will spend driving the vessel.
Typically, you should expect to spend anything from $125 to $150 for doing it yourself boat winterization.
However, while you are at it you should not hurry up to get the job done in record time because it could lead to waste.
How Long Does It Take a Boat Winterization?
The length of time it takes to winterize a boat will vary depending on whether it is DIY (do it yourself) or getting the help of a professional. Usually, DIY winterization of your boat will take a shorter time compared to when you seek professional help.
If you are a handyman, it should take you about 4 hours to winterize your boat. This includes draining the ballast system then blowing the lines for the shower and heater, including changing stuff in the engine such as oil change.
What Happens if You Don’t Winterize a Boat?
You may experience a lot of problems if you fail to winterize your boat. First is your engine which may crack and break in case the seawater lines are not properly drained which means that you can have cracked parts. Freshwater cooled engines that come with inadequate anti-freeze can also crack and freeze.
Dirty oil comes with acidic contaminants as well as salt which causes a wide array of problems thanks to corrosion. If you leave unchanged oil including an unflushed engine, it might lead to damage which reduces the lifespan of your boat engine.
The second problem you will experience if you fail to winterize your boat has to do with the batteries. Batteries that are not completely charged at the beginning of winter can completely be discharged before the coming season can damage the life span of the battery.
Third, frozen bilge can sink in your boat in case it is left in the water during the cold season. The problem with frozen water inside the bilge pumps is that they do not go out.
Therefore, if they are run when frozen they will be damaged, while the expansion will lead to expansion and damaged forces from water. Also, through-hulls are in the water and it freezes thus getting damaged or cracked.
The fourth thing that will be affected when you fail to winterize a boat is the deck fittings and hardware. A boat that is left uncovered may have a pile of ice and snow on the decks which lets water inside the deck fittings and stanchion bases as well as other parts that are exposed to external elements. The deck areas that are around fittings may come with cracks which lead to water sipping inside via cracks and openings.
Fifth if you do not winterize your boat you risk it having molds and mildew. This is especially true if the boat is unventilated which traps moisture, leading to mold, mildew, and rot.
In addition, trapped moisture can expose the upholstery, boat canvas, curtains, as well as sails to the risk of mildew and mold. If you leave the boat uncovered it might accumulate dirt during the winter. Also, if you store the boat near trees, you are likely to find filth, rotted leaves, and stained deck during the spring.
To sum it up, you might think that winterizing your boat requires a lot of hard work and that you will spend a lot of money on repairs. However, the truth is that winterizing just before the cold months can save you lots of dollars as well as time.
Failing to winterize your boat in the name of saving your money can prove to be a costly mistake because the water inside your boat can freeze leading to damaged engines, pipes, or the boat itself. The benefit of winterizing your boat is that it will give you the peace of mind that you will not experience any problem when you want to take the boat back into the water.
Anchoring is arguably one of the trickiest aspects of operating a sailboat. It requires knowledge, precision, patience, and a healthy dose of self-confidence to boot. For rookie skippers, those early attempts can be nail-biting, to say the least. Where should you avoid anchoring? Did you drop enough cable for high tide? Should you trust your buddy when he says he knows the most incredible spot?
The point is anchoring a sailboat isn’t easy. There are scores of things that can go wrong – there’s a reason so many skippers are insomniacs – and the consequences may include putting yourself and any passengers in mortal danger. So, it’s a serious skill that even experienced captains never take lightly. Luckily, the rewards are intoxicating.
Once you know how to anchor a boat safely, you no longer need to rely on marinas or moorings for stationary docks. The open water can be your place to stop and think, to kick back, relax, swim, fish, or whatever else makes you feel peaceful. For many sailors, it represents the ultimate freedom. Why head back to dry land when you can spend the night gently rocking on the waves?
The Many Joys And Perils Of Anchoring
Nobody heads out for the first time without some knowledge of how to anchor safely. Regardless of whether you intend to drop anchor and sit stationary for any length of time, understanding the basics is vital. If an accident happens and you get stranded in out open water, the first thing to do is stop moving.
It’s essential to know which types of seabed tolerate anchoring, how to identify these safe spots, and when to watch out for anchor drag. Do it right and you’ll enjoy a tranquil night’s sleep. Do it wrong and you’ll be pacing the deck until the early hours flinching at every creak and groan. Nobody said sailing was easy.
Where Should You Avoid Anchoring And Why?
The following areas are unsuitable spots to anchor a boat. Let’s take a look at why anchoring in these areas is strongly discouraged.
Unsuitable Sea Beds
Lee shore is the term used to describe any shore positioned on the lee side of a sailboat. In this position, the wind is blowing from the open water and inwards toward the land. It leaves the boat stuck right in the middle. It can be difficult to escape a lee shore and, if a vessel loses control, it may be run aground by the pressure of the wind pushing it inland at high speed.
This is why you should never anchor on a lee shore. Pick a weather shore with the wind moving outwards and passing over the boat on its way out to open water. If your anchor drags and/or the engine fails, there must be plenty of space to leeward set the sails and force your sailboat away from a collision with the shore.
Before heading out, check the weather forecast to know when and where these lee shores are likely to develop.
Fairways are established routes taken by vessels moving in and out of harbors or offshore mooring facilities. You must never anchor in a fairway because it’s dangerous and illegal in most areas. Think of it as a parking garage. There are lots of boats reversing, performing turns, and trying to maneuver into small spaces.
You can get information on fairways from the local harbor or regional sailing guides.
Anchoring in a shipping channel is twenty times more dangerous than stopping in a fairway but the reasons are largely the same. These channels are established routes for vessels passing through the areas, many of them extremely large indeed.
Let’s say anchoring in a shipping channel like setting up a tent in the middle of a traffic intersection. These areas are for moving vessels only and they tend to include sprawling container ships that can and will crush your little boat. If you’re planning to sail through unfamiliar waters, consult shipping maps and guides to find out where the channels are.
There are many reasons why areas of open water get marked ‘restricted’ or ‘prohibited.’ In either case, there are limitations to acknowledge in these spaces and they’re usually backed up by real, enforceable laws.
The most common reason for a prohibited warning is the environmental conversation. Anchoring may cause irreversible damage to marine species.
The use of restricted zones is a little more varied. Sometimes, they represent conservation spots but more often they signify areas of potential danger for boats. For example, restrictions are in place around offshore reefs because they are difficult to see. In other regions, such as the Caribbean waters, piracy is a big threat so sailing may be forbidden without special permission.
Boats cannot anchor in or too close to live oyster or mussel beds. Anchoring causes extensive damage to these habitats which may then severely impact the livelihoods of local pickers and impair food supplies.
When consulting regional shipping maps and charts, look for areas marked with a cross. Where you see a cross icon, you are not authorized to anchor.
Conversely, some maps contain anchor icons representing popular and safe spots for stopping. These are the areas you can definitely navigate to and enjoy for an afternoon or evening.
Unsuitable Sea Beds
Part of the anchoring process is checking the condition of the seabed to determine whether it will tolerate your anchor. This is something you need to do every time even if you’ve successfully anchored at a spot before. Always remember, the seabed is in constant flux. It changes according to the weather.
Mud is a suitable surface for the majority of anchors. However, the bigger your anchor, the easier you will find it to stop here. It tends to be one of the simpler places to drop but be cautious all the same. Some mud is deceptively thin and may cause an anchor to drag because it doesn’t have the weight to hold it down.
Being right in the middle of sand and mud in terms of particle size, silt is one of the best materials for safe anchoring. It will comfortably hold most types and sizes of anchors.
Clay seabeds provide a very secure surface for nearly all anchors. In fact, clay is so secure an anchor may be reluctant to come back out. Those with sharpened tips are best suited to the job and will set more readily.
Sand is not as secure as clay or mud because it shifts much more rapidly. Nevertheless, harder sand seabeds are suitable for anchoring. You’re strongly encouraged to check the density of the sand where you are before attempting to anchor. The larger the anchor, the easier is it to stop in this type of seabed.
Neither gravelly, rocky, or weedy seabeds are easy places to anchor a boat. All three materials can offer treacherous conditions because they do not grip and hold an anchor the same way as sand or mud. There is likely to be a substantial amount of drag if you try to drop in one of these areas.
Some types of anchors are better at holding in these conditions than others. We’ll discuss anchor styles in more depth later.
Unsuitable (Shallow) Depths
This is less of a concern for boats out on the open water, but something to think about for vessels planning to anchor close to shore. Without a rough awareness of the type of waters you’re sailing through and how to pinpoint their depths and shallows, you can’t know how to stop safely.
The length of chain and warp used must be significantly greater than the depth of the water you’re anchoring in. This allows a portion of the anchor’s chain to lie flat on the seabed. Horizontal pulling forces then place pressure on the anchor which causes it to dig into the ground and create a stronger, safer hold.
If not enough chain gets dropped, the anchor can drag across the seabed and take your boat with it. The rule of thumb is to drop a chain four times the maximum length of the depths you’re sailing in. With warp included, it should be around six times this maximum length. Leave space behind the boat when anchoring to accommodate for swing.
The veering is the process of letting down cable after an anchor drop. For reasons already outlined, a sailor must be able to tell how much cable is beneath the waterline. If you’re anchored close to shore and the tide is dropping dangerously fast, one of the clearest indications will be the condition and position of your cable.
This is why it’s standard practice for sailors to tie brightly colored fabric wraps around anchoring cables. When this is done at measured intervals (every five meters), one glance at the cable tells them how much is still below the water and, more importantly, whether it’s enough for the anchorage to remain safe.
Fabric wraps and cloth ties are most common because pen markings fade quickly. Before creating your cable wraps, devise a clear code that you and any crew members can understand quickly.
For instance, you might use colors of the rainbow (as recited in the children’s song) or attach colored strips to the cable in alphabetic order (blue, green, red, etc.). To determine how much chain is below the surface, you must know the order of each colored tie in the arrangement and the distance it represents (e.g. 15m).
You can make up your own, completely original code. The important thing is that you understand it well. If you can’t work it out in less than five seconds, it’s not a very effective signaling system.
Which Type of Anchor Is Best For Your boat?
We’ve asked ‘where should you avoid anchoring,’ now let’s discuss the best type of anchor for your vessel. There are no hard and fast rules because sailing vessels come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes. The best thing to do is to consider the dominant bottom characteristics of the regions being frequented.
If you’re an experienced boater, you probably won’t be limiting yourself to just one or two regions. However, even well-traveled vessels tend to have a stomping ground. You can’t match every seabed, but you can make anchoring easier by being compatible with the areas you spend the most time in.
Needless to say, the heavier your vessel, the bigger and heftier your anchor must be to hold it stationary in open waters.
Lightweight (Danforth) Anchors
Light, easily maneuvered ‘Danforth’ anchors are commonly used on small pleasure boats.
These anchors range in weight from 2.5lbs to 200lbs at their heaviest and produce a substantial amount of holding power for their slim frame and size. This combination of maneuverability and power makes them ideal for vessels with smaller weight capacities
Danforth anchors perform best in mud or hard sand seabeds. They are less effective in slippery, soft mud, and rocky seabeds.
Kedge (Navy) Anchors
This is what most people think of when they imagine an anchor. Kedge (or navy) anchors come in the traditional curved shape. They’re unsuitable for most pleasure boats as they depend solely on weight for safe anchoring.
Only very large ships use kedge anchors for prolonged periods. They may be used for short term (lunch) anchoring on smaller sailboats that can tolerate a degree of drag.
As kedge anchors are not for burying (flukes don’t penetrate into the seabed), they’re compatible with grassy, weedy, and rocky seabeds. They also perform well in hard sand seabeds.
Anything looser (such as thin mud or sand) and you might experience drag as the flukes struggle to hook on a surface.
Grapnel anchors are the cheapest, most widely available anchors. They should be used only with very lightweight vessels such as canoes Jon boats, and inflatable boats. Grapnels are unsuitable for serious sailing vessels (even smaller sailboats in most cases). They’re extremely light, easy to maneuver, and simple to use but provide minimal holding power.
As such, Grapnel anchors are rarely dropped far from shore. They’re mostly used for short (lunch) moorings, wreck reef diving, scuba diving, and seabed retrieval (locating items dropped overboard).
Plow (CQR/Delta) Anchors
Plow anchors go by various names. You may see them called ‘CQRs’ or ‘Deltas’ after their different shapes. Delta style anchors have a standard shank. CQR style anchors have a pivoting shank to allow for firmer, stronger hold in more tolerant seabeds. Both styles are very effective and commonly used on small to medium-sized cruising boaters.
Plow anchors perform well in grassy, weedy, and rocky seabeds because they are good at hooking into crevices. They are less effective in very soft seabeds.
Claw (Bruce) Anchors
Claw anchors are similar to plow anchors in that their curved flukes allow for a powerful hold within rocky, weedy seabeds. The difference is they have a uniquely shaped claw. With a strong enough anchor hold, a cruising boater can fully rotate without pulling its flukes out of the ground.
There’s a lot of room for error with a claw anchor. Its unique shape means even a poorly positioned drop won’t prevent the flukes from finding an anchor point.
Box anchors really work great for offshore anchoring. It also works in lakes and rivers with firmness. These sophisticated high-performance anchors work with almost all types of seabeds.
Mushroom anchors are very basic. They do not have claw-shaped flukes and, therefore, cannot hook into the seabed as other anchors do. They are straightforward weights that rest on the seabed and use a combination of heft and suction to stay still.
Mushroom anchors perform best in soft seabeds where their hollow bottoms can ‘stick’ to surfaces using suction. They are unsuitable for most large vessels and rarely found on anything bigger than small pleasure boats.
Many sailors and fishermen are creatures of habit and prefer to stick to the familiar when anchoring. However, new anchor designs do emerge occasionally and there are next-generation shapes and styles currently on the market.
They include, but are not limited to, the Saraca Excel (convex), Mantus (hooped), Manson Boss (concave, no hoop), and Vulcan (weighted tip) anchors. These new styles are very effective and suit a wide variety of vessels.
Where Should You Anchor Your boat?
Asking ‘where should you avoid anchoring’ is only useful if we follow it up with practical knowledge of where it is safe to anchor. This next section will discuss safe anchoring techniques and the things you need to consider when anchoring in crowded waters.
Dropping the Right Length Of Cable
We touched on this a little earlier, but we’ll go into more detail now. The rule of thumb for dropping anchor cables is to use four times the maximum length of the water’s depth. This should be extended to six times the water’s depth if including the warp in your calculations. This method produces what’s known as the scope of your anchor, the ratio of cable to anchoring depth.
Get this right and you can leave your boat unmanned while sleeping soundly in the knowledge it is anchored securely. Get it wrong and you may drag, drift and find your boat floating somewhere else in the morning. The most difficult thing about calculating anchor scope is that rules of thumb only get you so far. They are just a starting point assumed for calm conditions in empty waters.
To be assured of a safe anchor scope, you need to get your calculator out and do some number crunching. Remember, the scope is the ratio of cable/chain to the complete anchoring depth. Complete anchoring depth takes into account the total depth at high tide plus any additional height from the top of the anchor roller to the waterline.
The total depth of water at high tide + height of the anchor roller above the water = complete anchoring depth
Total Depth Of Water At High Tide
To determine complete anchoring depth, first determine the total depth of the water at high tide. This isn’t easy to do – not accurately anyway – so most sailors use an approximated figure. As long as you make a reasonable judgment, your anchor will tolerate the extra distance. Figuring out the depth of the water is easy when you have a cable marked with colored ties at five-meter intervals.
To calculate how much deeper the water will be at high tide, use the following formula to estimate.
Tidal swing x (hours until next high tide ÷ hours between tide) = total depth of water at high tide
You should always account for the effects of high tide when anchoring. It’s particularly important in areas known for turbulent conditions. If the tide comes in strong and your sailboat’s anchor isn’t long enough, it could drag and even cause damage to the vessel.
General Rules of Thumb
Standard conditions (calm to moderate) – 4 to 5 x complete anchoring depth
Turbulent conditions (stormy, windy) – 5 to 7 x complete anchoring depth
Short term (lunch) anchor – 3 x complete anchoring depth
In some environments, it is suitable to use a smaller scope than you might normally. For example, areas with limited space such as crowded marinas and popular open water diving spots require a shorter anchor. It’s vital your sailboat doesn’t drift and twist on a long cable when it’s in a crowded area. This can cause collisions with other vessels.
In crowded spots, dockside mooring facilities will be available or prolonged overnight anchoring will be prohibited. It’s unlikely you’ll need to worry about anchoring powerfully enough for the whole evening.
Anchoring In Crowded Spaces
The key to anchoring safely in crowded spots is to determine the full circumference of the circle your vessel makes when the wind swings through the compass.
If you anchor around multiple other vessels using rope/cable rodes but you are using a chain, your swing will differ from everybody else’s. They are likely to have a larger swing circumference so consider shortening your own anchor to avoid collisions.
Alternatively, you can ask the nearest skipper what length of chain or cable they would recommend. It’s never unwise to seek advice from others.
Anchoring In Severe Weather
The dangers associated with anchoring sailboats are almost always related to a lack of cable length. In open waters, where there’s no danger of collisions with other vessels, it is significantly more dangerous to drop too little chain than too much. Therefore, in severe weather, there is no reason not to drop extra length if you feel it’s required.
You will have to spend more time and energy hauling the chain back up but, sometimes, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If there are other vessels close by, think more carefully about dropping a longer anchor. Regardless of the weather conditions, you must have plenty of space to safely swing.
Use the following formula to estimate the length of cable required for windy conditions close to shore (4 to 8 meters deep):
Wind Knots + 4 x Water Speed + Boat Length (in meters) = total anchor length required
What Is The Best Way to Retrieve An Anchor?
You’ve anchored your sailboat successfully without incident or accident. Now, it’s time to go home. What is the easiest and safest way to retrieve an anchor and start moving again? As with all sailing and anchoring processes, it largely depends on where you are and what conditions are like.
It is harder to retrieve an anchor safely in strong winds or currents if you are close to other vessels. You don’t have the same freedom to ride with the wind until you hit those calmer waters. Instead, you must account for the position of other boats and, particularly, the approximate time left for maneuvering a safe course after de-anchoring.
Retrieving An Anchor Under Power
The first thing to do is weigh down the boat’s anchor which just means tautening its cable. This is the standard pull and belay method. First, pull in a length of cable. Then, wind it securely around a cleat. Repeat until you can feel the whole cable go taut with no relaxed lengths left resting on the seabed. Belay.
If you have companions, ask a helper to switch the boat’s engine on and push forward at its lowest possible speed. This should be done very gently. All you’re trying to do is slowly dislodge the anchor with a little force. The boat needs only move until the rode is just past vertical. Once tripped, you can turn the engine off and continue pulling the anchor back up onto the boat.
Retrieving An Anchor Under Sail
If your boat is too small to have an engine or you’d rather not use it for tripping the anchor, an alternative method is to raise the sails. This is far more dangerous in crowded spaces so consider the decision carefully. The boat may start moving very quickly once the anchor is retrieved. Do you have enough time to safely maneuver to less crowded waters?
The method is largely the same whether you’re using an engine or sails to pull the boat’s anchor out of the seabed. Raise the sail only after the cable has been belayed and is taut enough to be tripped. Keep the sails unsecured until the anchor has been successfully retrieved and is back on the boat. This minimizes the chances of getting drawn.
Retrieving An Anchor Without Assistance
Retrieving an anchor is much harder and more dangerous when doing it alone without any assistance. It is a physically demanding task and requires a great deal of concentration and skill. It’s not impossible, however, and those who enjoy sailing alone become very adept at hauling their anchors overboard.
Again, the method is largely the same whether you’re using sails or the boat’s engine for tripping the anchor. The difference when doing it alone is you’re responsible for both roles. Alone, you need to pull and tauten the rode, belay the rode, and man the engine or manage the sails.
This is going to involve some rather frantic running back and forth between cleat and engine/sails. The process needs to be fast to ensure you don’t spin out of control while the anchor is being hauled. The more physically fit you are, the easier this will be. The sailboat will begin drifting off course as you pull up the anchor. The key is to do it quickly so you can race back and man the engine.
It’s not easy but, for those who love to go it alone, it’s always worth the effort.
What If the Anchor Gets Stuck and Won’t Move?
It’s a question that sailors have been asking for hundreds of years. Sometimes, an anchor simply won’t budge. No matter how it is pulled, twisted, and pried, it remains stubbornly tethered to the seabed. This can be a source of great frustration because, ultimately, there is no guaranteed way to free a stuck anchor.
If you try every trick and method and an anchor still won’t come free, the only option is to abandon it. This is another reason why it’s important to pick your anchoring spots carefully and only drop-in suitable conditions.
If your anchor won’t come free after using the engine or sails for extra pulling power, try one of these methods.
Pull up and belay the anchor cable until it is reasonably taut. Grab hold of the wrap tightly (wear protective gloves) and wait until the boat dips into the trough of a wave. As it rises on the next crest, pull hard. Oftentimes, applying tension at the right moment is enough to dislodge stuck flukes.
Snap the retrieval ring and the buoy around the anchor’s cable. Then, switch on the engine and push forward at a 45-degree angle. This method applies the ring and the float in a rudimentary pulley mechanism. When combined with a gentle tug from the sailboat’s engine, it’s sometimes enough to free the anchor.
Leave It In Place
This should be a last resort because leaving debris in the water is always strongly discouraged. Nevertheless, if you cannot dislodge an anchor no matter how hard you pull and strain, the only option may be to abandon it.
If you must do this, cut the warp short before you leave the area. This prevents it from obstructing others. You must do this UNLESS you are definitely planning to come back and retrieve the anchor in some way.
The Final Words
In this article, we answered the question ‘where should you avoid anchoring’ and explored others relating to anchoring in crowded spaces, adhering to anchoring restrictions, and retrieving anchors in the safest way possible. Hopefully, it has given you insight into the responsibilities and work involved with manning a sailboat of any size or capacity.
Few would argue with the notion sailing is one of the toughest hobbies to successfully learn and master. It’s lucky then that it’s also one of the most enchanting.
Buying a used boat is one of the easiest ways to achieve your sailing dreams, mostly if you have a little boating experience or a limited budget. Purchasing a used boat may be challenging and daunting, however, below are some of the things you should look into while buying a used boat.
Our Buying a Used Boat Checklist
When buying a used boat, one of the significant signs you should check out is the overall maintenance. The clues of the kind of love the boat had been portrayed eve in its fenders, lifejackets, and lines. Below are some of the things you should be keen on. You may also need to consult a pro when in doubt.
Think about your needs and use
Why do you need a boat? Do you use them for fishing or for having fun? How many people will be with you on the boat? Before going to get your boat you must think about these types of basic needs.
Another important point to think about is the type of boat you want. Think before you go for your one.
Don’t Forget to Check the Boat Documents
After selecting the type of boat, we need to confirm if the boat has registered documents. The documents will provide you with important information about the boat and the boat owner.
Check all the documents to understand the boat. You will be able to know when the boat has undergone services and revisions. If any part is changed recently, or if any of them needs to be changed, real conditions of the boat parts and many more things will come out through the papers.
Damage signs checkup
Moisture, flexing, mold, and cracking in the fiberglass and timbered areas such as transom, hull, and floor are indicators of decay, plywood delamination, fiberglass break down and decay in the stringers. These kinds of signs are indicators that the boat is not properly maintained.
If you find some problems in external inspection, try to estimate how much it may cost to repair the damages. Have a rough calculation to add to the expenditure list. For example, painting a boat will cost you time, energy, and money.
Be keen to identify engine wear and tear, which can be felt by the gritty feeling of oil between your finger. You should abandon the boat if the mechanic confirms it. The presence of milky oil in the lower unit or the engine means there is some water getting in.
A prop shaft that is bent can be uncoiled and worn out seal replaced. But that kind of impact might have caused some stress to the gears, and the bad news could be if the water is sipping in because the gears could get destroyed.
Examining fiberglass cracks below and above the waterline
Tiny cracks in localized parts are mainly cosmetic. They mostly appear around the screws that are not fixed correctly around the wind-shields, handles, and gunwales.
It is not much of a trouble, but it can get worse if not set. Cracks that exceed two inches indicate huge problems underneath. It would help if you asked whether the boat has ever been in a collision and also inspect for indicators that translate to massive repairs such as a gel coat. An expert is also very essential for the inspection.
Loose seat inspection
The loose seat could be as a result of the rotten floor or as a result of stripped bolts. The bolts get strained when one sits on the bench back while driving. The latter can get fixed quickly.
You should check whether the top of the boat, the seats, or the carpet has mildew or any other damage. Inspect the storage lockers also.
The covers and the upholstery can be replaced or cleaned, but lots of molds in the seats is not a good sign. Because fungi spread quickly, the areas with the spores may be an indicator of their presence in the wooden parts. A ski locker or a carpet, which is moldy, can also be a sign of more problems underneath.
Start the engine
Checking the engine is also crucial when buying a used boat. Check whether the engine start is a slip or rough, smoke, vibrate, or with a lot of noise. Plenty of oil or old gas in the first tune-up is easily fixed.
These symptoms are, however, indicators of more significant problems like low compression at the cylinders leading to the want of an expensive engine repair.
Inspect the electronics
When it comes to bilge pumps and burned-out bulbs, there are cheap solutions.
The presence of multiple devices failing to work could de due to a faulty battery or wiring is not a big problem. But when it comes to peeling up labels in the engine or melting of the insulation wires, there is trouble because that indicates that the driver is overheating.
Inspect the belts
Worn, thin, or cracked power-steering or alternator is a hint that the boat was not adequately maintained. The belts are supposed to be changed every 100 hours. When belts are damaged, laxity gets noted though you can cover it in your first service.
Survey the Boat if necessary
If you have selected a boat roughly but you don’t have sufficient knowledge to finalize the boat, you may take the help of a registered surveyor. It will definitely impact the cost of owning a boat.
This type of service is not very costly today. It may cost something like 20 to 50 dollars only. But you will get great professional support to confirm your boat.
The boat surveyors may be particulars, from the insurance or from an agency.
Surveying a small boat may take around 20 minutes.
Advantages of Buying a Used Boat
Buying a used boat has its benefits; that’s why some buyers would prefer going a used one to a new one. Some of these advantages are:
One of the best advantages of buying a used boat is that you will buy the same boat at a lower price. The cost of a used boat is less compared to a new boat; therefore, if you happen to be on a tight budget, you can save a lot of money, if a good dealer with a quality boat can come along, one can be able to save a lot of money. But all the same, it’s good to check if every part of it is in excellent condition.
Purpose of the boat
The plan you have for the boat also matters. If your project is to use it for recreation purposes, the used boat is perfect for that use because it will not get used regularly. Most of the boats sold by the dealers are of good quality, but in case you are not satisfied with its looks, you can tailor it to your preference.
Additional items negotiation
When purchasing a brand new boat, you will spend quite a large amount of money on it and also on the additional requirements which are necessary as well. For example, you will require safety equipment and other things of that kind.
But when it comes to buying a used boat, you can acquire the additional materials by negotiating with the owner for a reasonable price. It will help you save a lot of money.
Record of maintenance
By checking the boat’s maintenance record, you will be able to identify the parts of the boat have been replaced. It ensures you are fully aware of the condition of the boat, and in case of any new items to be acquired, you may negotiate.
You can also give the boat a new look by painting it and mastering the parts that need more observation with the help of the maintenance record.
Disadvantages of Buying a Used Boat
Buying a used boat has its disadvantages. Here are some of the difficulties that come with buying a used boat.
Most of the used boats are usually out of warranty for the engine, appliances, and equipment inside. This means if you decide to buy it, you will have to take it as it is, and in any complication that arises later, it’s all in your hands.
Hose clamp and rubber hose failure
A new boat rarely has the broken hose clamp or spitting hose failure. But when it comes to used boats, this is a common problem. A boat with a rotten hose causes the overheating of the engine and can as far as making the boat to sink.
Oxidized or faded gel coat
Worn out coat is a common problem in used boats. Reviving the gel coat’s luster is very hard unless the outboard had vigorous maintenance by baffling and compounding several times in a year.
When someone is not familiar with boats, a used boat may look okay and great, but there are high chances that the styling is outdated. Like in the automobile world, boat designs change and advance after a minimum of four years and a maximum of seven.
Though most builders never talk about it, the fact is that most old boats have rocky –riding hulls. The reason for this mostly varies from brand to brand.
Poor electrical wiring
One of the most problematic systems in a used boat is the condition of the electrical wiring. Until the previous decade, the connected wires used to be exposed in the air and therefore corroded.
Wires go through the partitions which were not getting adequate protection from wearing. Tracing the wires when something has gone wrong and replacing junction blocks can end up being expensive.
The status and pride of owning a boat make many people purchase one. However, buying an old boat is an indication that they can’t afford a new one; this ends up being more problematic to them.
Engine makers keep improving the engine’s efficiency over the years. It leads to more efficient engines in both inboards and outboards engines, which are more reliable.
Structures made of encapsulated wood
Many builders were using wood in the decks, transom, and stringers in the making of fiberglass boats. It would make the wood to end up soaking the water mostly because of the drilled holes into the transom. The wood would end up soft and dense, and to some point, it would even rot. So if one is not keen on buying a used boat, it may be problematic for them.
Buying a used boat can help you achieve tour sailing dreams and, at the same time, turn out to be a nightmare for you if you fail to do a thorough inspection before buying. Weigh your options wisely and make a decision that will assure you of value for your money.
Sailing…….It’s the thing that amazing dreams, hit songs, and major motion pictures are made of. Practically everybody wants to try it and, if you’re one of the many who have been bitten by the sailing bug, there are some dangers of sailing that you need to know about before trying it. So, that being said, here are a few of them:
Most Frequent Dangers of Sailing
If someone falls overboard, it could be a real danger. if the others on board see him, they can tackle the situation. If no one noticed that there is a person fallen in the water, it is a real sailing danger.
So, it is important to be with others and communicate when doing something. Even communicate your movements when you are changing a position.
If unfortunately one of yours is fallen from the boat, first of all, communicate with other crews or members on board. You can shout or you can use a marine walkie talkie. Press the MOB or man overboard button on the GPS. It is naturally very important not to lose visual contact with the person overboard.
Depending on the situation you can inform the other vessels around you with a signal. Three long blasts of the horn of the vessel will give a signal to the other vessels nearby.
The next thing that we should do is to throw a lifebuoy for the MOB in the water. Also, you can marc the MOB with a smoke flare.
Then we should throw a line that will give confidence to the MOB.
we will come closer to the man pointing the wind. we should keep the aft side away from the man on the water and the propeller should be stopped.
Then we should bring the person aboard.
All the experienced sailors have experienced capsizing in their sailing trajectory. It may happen for strong winds, heavy waves or for any other reason that hampers the boat stability.
If you know how to recover a capsized boat, you will not get panicked. The most famous and effective method to upright a small sailboat is the scoop method.
In the scoop method, one should get in the cockpit to balance and control the boat. The other sailor should go to the position of the centerboard. When the person in the cockpit is ready, the second sailor will climb up the centerboard. He should remain close to the hull to avoid the breaking of the centerboard.
To get up and to maintain the balance you can take the help of the jib sheets. With this method hopefully, the boat will be upright slowly. We should practice this method on safer water, if possible.
If a smaller single-handed boat capsizes, it could be easier to upright the boat. You should keep the mainsail in leeward position and get yourself on the centerboard. Hold the gunwale of the boat and incline your body towards the back to use your body weight effectively. This will bring the boat to the desired upright position.
Ropes And Other Obstacles
The ropes, chains, and other obstacles can represent a real sailing danger if not well secured. The ropes and chains can lash you with the help of a strong wind.
The ropes, chains or other things not secured on board can cause you an accident like falling on board or out of the vessel, especially at night.
If these materials are not well organized and properly secured. they will be wrapping and mixing with each other in a dangerous manner. If it is not a danger, at least, it will make your work more difficult.
Personal injuries and illness
Just as in any other sport, sailing can result in injuries and/or illness. That’s why every sailboat should be equipped with a well-stocked first aid kit. On a sailboat, you need a bit more than just your average household first aid kit.
Rolling and pitching are very common causes of dizziness or seasickness. In a small grade, it is not so dangerous, but, if you feel too bad, you will have to take care of yourself.
If it’s your own boat, consult with a nurse or research on the web what your kit should include. Since, when you’re sailing, you could be away from land for an extended period of time, you’ll want to ensure that you have everything to treat a sudden illness or injury, including splints in case of a broken bone.
And, again, if you’re going out on somebody else’s sailboat, don’t be afraid to ask if it’s equipped for a minor medical emergency.
Although wind and water are what sailors worry about the most, there are actually a few other occurrences to consider as well. A recent disaster off the coast of California is a prime example of how dangerous fire on a boat can be. In fact, 34 people lost their lives when a dive boat exploded.
This is one more example of how being aware at all times when sailing and having proper fire safety equipment (like fully-charged fire extinguishers) is crucial.
If you sail on a friend’s boat, don’t hesitate to look for and ask about fire extinguishers. If the boat doesn’t have any equipment in the event of a fire, just head back home and skip the trip altogether. He might call you a wimp but better wimpy than dead.
Collision and hull damage
On the open water, a sailboat under sail has the right of way, however, caution should still be exercised as there are always boaters out there who simply don’t know the rules. You naturally want to avoid a collision at all times since it could cause severe hull damage and endanger lives.
By the same token, just like big rigs on the road, big ships can’t stop on a dime, so steer clear of them and give them a wide berth. If your sails are up when you’re approaching one, take them down as quickly as possible and motor until you’re clear to have better control of your sailboat and avoid a collision.
Accident Statistics from Coast Guard Reports
This report is made in 2010 by the coast guard:
In 83 percent of sailor deaths, the cause of death (COD) was drowning.
Only 26 percent of those dead sailors were sailing at the time.
Of those boaters who suffered fatalities by drowning, 88 percent weren’t wearing a PFD.
When all of those statistics are put together, this situation becomes much clearer: The majority of sailing-related deaths actually occur when sailors fall into the water when they aren’t even engaged in what would be considered “dangerous sailing”. They are instead occurring while docking the sailboat, anchoring off, etc. when you would be least expecting the grim reaper to be lurking anywhere nearby.
So, it won’t come as much of a surprise, then, to hear that the Coast Guard has reported the biggest single factor that contributes to boating accidents and deaths happens to be “operator inattention.” This means that you have to pay attention to all of the issues of safety even if you don’t think that a dangerous situation is imminent.
Other interesting statistics brought to you by the Coast Guard include:
Of all boating types in the United States, more sailors than any other boaters have actually completed a course in boating safety.
Among boaters, sailors are actually among the least number to wear their PFD.
In addition, of all boaters out there, sailors represent the highest percentage of them that can swim, so could it be that sailors simply think that they could swim back to their boat if they fell overboard. But what if you can’t?
How to Remain Safe From Sailing Dangers?
The sailing education and its application in real life are the most important. So, we need to learn and practice sailing before starting. Gather all the knowledge that you can from all the sources of your reach. Know at least the basics of sailing before facing the sea.
Never Underestimate the Power of the Sea
OK, everybody is fairly well aware that some element of risk is involved in sailing, and it’s important for everyone to be safe. Nobody ever thinks that a sailing mishap could happen to them. In fact, most people believe that the only sailing dangers are being caught in a hurricane while at sea. After all, that would involve big waves, big winds, and maybe even a sailboat that is damaged or leaking. In fact, most sailors will never end up experiencing those particular sailing conditions, so what is there to be worried about?
Yes, it’s true that storms pose serious sailing risks and are responsible for a number of sailing fatalities each year. They’re usually the subject of some dramatic stories on the news, leading to warnings and investigations. In addition, numerous books have been scribed through the years all about seamanship and the special techniques for preventing problems on a sailboat during storm conditions.
The fact is, however, that you should never underestimate the power of the sea even under calm conditions. That’s because big storms are not the only dangers involved in sailing. In fact, many sailing accidents and even deaths occur when sailors aren’t even sailing under any dangerous conditions at all. So, it’s critical to respect the power of the sea even when the weather is calm.
Develop a Proper Safety Attitude
You really need two basic things for developing the proper attitude regarding safety when you’re sailing and they are:
As a sailor, you need to be aware of the fact that the risk of dying is always there with you, especially when the wind and water are calm and you don’t see any reason to be afraid.
A “What if” Mentality
You don’t have to be constantly obsessing about the dangers of sailing, but anytime that you’re out on the water, you need to think along the lines of what could actually happen and what you would do.
A PFD-Never Leave Port Without It
You should also be sure to wear a personal flotation device (aka PFD or life jacket) at all times because falling overboard is the leading boating fatality cause. In the event that you or someone ends up falling overboard, knowing (and practicing in advance) an effective method to quickly turn the boat around and stop close to the man overboard for pickup is of critical importance.
This is called a crew overboard (COB) maneuver. It’s critical to always remember that your PFD is one of the most important safety equipment pieces. Another is a tethered-safety-harness for use in rough weather and if you sail solo. It helps ensure your safety by keeping you on the sailboat no matter what may happen. And, using jack lines can be a very effective way of staying clipped onto your boat with a tether.
One Hand For the Boat & One For Yourself
That’s usually the first saying that all sailors have to learn when they start out with learning to sail. Those stanchions and lifelines around the outside of the deck on a sailboat are there for a reason and are definitely not just for looks.
When you’re sailing, night or day, and have to walk around the deck either to just get from one place to another or to help with trimming the sails, be sure to hold on at all times.
Safety First At All Times
Sailboat safety should involve a number of activities such as being sure to pay attention to the weather around you. When we were sailing our 57-foot sailboat from Ft. Lauderdale to the Bahamas, we saw a squall in the distance. Our immediate assessment of the situation was that it was quite far away and most certainly not headed our way.
It’s not that we weren’t paying attention to it but that we simply misdiagnosed the danger. As you’ve probably guessed, it headed straight for us and we ended up making the crossing through a violent storm, giving new meaning to the saying “Lord, the sea is so large and my boat is so small!”
So, the lesson learned was this. If you’re close enough to your departure port to turn back when you see a squall, perhaps it would be safer to do so.
Don’t forget to take the safety instruments, life jackets, VHF radios, sailing knife, lifebuoys, flares, etc.
So, in conclusion, please don’t let a few warnings about the dangers of sailing put you off or make you afraid to try one of the most amazing things in the world! Just remember, the better your overall sailing skills are, the safer it will be for you.
And, when you’re not out sailing, read a good book (or two)on seamanship for the purpose of improving your boating skills and overall knowledge. Don’t forget to study up on all of those nautical terms so you’ll know port from starboard, the bow from the stern, and so much more. But, most of all, have fun!
Do you remember the first time you learned how to drive? How was it? Typically, most people find the terminologies regarding driving confusing. Sailing basics can also be confusing in the first days. But the practice will make you a master.
The car drivers also take some time before they can master the principles of driving and the traffic rules involved in every situation. After a few lessons and practicals, they soon ease in into it. Before long, driving becomes an instinctive skill.
Well, the same applies to sailing. If only you can take your time to understand a sailboat or a dingy, you will be halfway into becoming a pretty cool captain. Sailing requires a good understanding of your vessel and a few sailing principles. Don’t worry, you get the hang of it, and it will become a natural reflex. For starters, let’s understand some basic sailboat terms.
Parts of a Sailboat | Sailing Basics
The Aft and the Bow
Just like fish, a sailboat is streamlined. The bow is the front of the boat, and it is streamlined like the head of a fish. The aft is the back of the fish, and it is as flat as the tail of a fish. The aft is also referred to as the stern.
The Port and the Starboard
The port and the starboard are the two structurally and functionally different sides of the bow. It is essential to tell the difference between the aft and the bow for the sake of locating the port and the starboard. If you cannot tell the difference between the port and the starboard, you’ll find major difficulty in maintaining balance when sailing. In fact, you could lose the direction or even sink your vessel.
The port is always on the left side of a sailboat’s bow. When out in the sea, right and left can become pretty abstract and relative. Therefore, sailors refer to the right side of the bow as the starboard and the left side of the bow as the port. The front is what matters most in forwarding movement and defining direction.
The Boom and the Rudder
The boom and rudder provide the speed control and steering functions of a sailboat, respectively. They are mechanical installations with which a sailor is able to control direction, velocity, and stoppage.
The boom is the horizontal pole extending from the base of the mast. It controls the mast and, consequently, the sails. You can use the boom to exploit wind power for moving forward or backward. You just need to adjust it either leeward or windward.
The rudder is always beneath the sailboat and in contact with water. It can be made from wood, metal, or fiberglass, and it must be flat.
Points of Sail
The point of sails on a sailboat refers to the boat’s direction in relation to the wind’s direction. It serves to harness the pushing and pulling power of wind for directional motion.
The Windward and the Leeward
The wind is a major driving factor in sailing. Wind energy majorly powers the motion and direction of a sailboat. As a sailor, you must always know the direction of the wind. The windward side refers to the direction in which the wind is blowing. Sailboats move in the direction of the wind and thus move windward.
The leeward side refers to the direction from which the wind is blowing.
Upwind and Downwind Sailing
Upwind sailing includes sailing towards the leeward, and it includes close-hauled and close reaching. Sailors refer to sailing across the wind as beam reaching. When a sailor moves in the windward direction, it is referred to as downwind sailing. The two types of downwind sailing include broad-reaching and running.
Points of sale apply to the port and the starboard identically. When a sailor wants to sail downwind, he should pull the sails tight and let them loose for upwind sailing. Between upwind and downwind sailing lies intricate wind angles that help sailors. They help in determining the vessel’s motional direction.
Side to Side Balance
You must always keep the port and starboard in balance and level. When picking up speed, your boat may incline to one side, and you must tip your weight on the opposite side to maintain a balance. When you incline your weight on one side, and the inclination persists, consider spilling some winds by altering the sails.
You must also keep the bow and left at the level. Depending on the boat’s point of sail, you must keep moving towards or away from either the aft or the bow. While on a run, keep most of your weight on the aft/stern. When either aft or bow dip low in the water and the other part lifts, you lose a lot of speed through dragging.
You must learn how to position the mainsheet for optimal efficiency. Your mainsheet shouldn’t flap; neither should it be too tight.
Choosing Appropriate Courses
You should always prefer the shortest and smoothest route to move from one point to another. When waves are crashing against your course, you may end up sailing in a curve if you persist on course stubbornly. Tides and leeway are very likely to steer you off course if you do not take caution.
Basics Of Sailboat Maneuvers
When picking up speed from gusty winds, your boat will heel by inclining to one side. You need to keep port and starboard balance by tipping weight to the opposite side and spilling some wind.
This maneuver includes changing direction by turning the front of the boat through the wind.
This is also another direction changing maneuver, but it works with the opposite effect. It involves turning the stern of the boat against the wind.
Sailing license (USA & International)
Knowing the sailing basics will not do in all states in the USA. Very few states in the United States demand sailors to have sailing licenses. However, they do require that sailors be trained for safety and boats have the necessary safety standards and apparatus.
If you’d like to sail internationally, the rules are different. Since 2017, international sailors must have an International Sailing License. It requires license holders to be absolutely competent in steering lives and property across international waters. The great thing about the International Sailing License is that the United States of America recognizes it as a local sailing license.
How to Learn Sailing for Free
Sailing can be a very expensive skill to learn. You’ll need access to a boat for practice, and money to pay your sailing trainer. However, if you are smart and don’t have the money to spare, you can learn sailing for free. How now, you may be wondering?
For starters, learn the terminologies stated in this article. Visualize them and watch sailing movies. Then, go online and search for free sailing tutorials, guides, and manuals. Consume as much information as you can.
For the practical bit, just find charities that conduct activities by sailing. By volunteering your services to charities with boats, you can stay close to the sailors and ask them to let you practice. Within no much time, you’ll be a pro even if you couldn’t afford sailing classes.
Moreover, if you stay with a sailor you will be learning many tricks of sailing, small things (lifestyle), risks of sailing, good sides of sailing, etc. For example: if you don’t know how to use good sailing knives for maximum output, you can learn it gradually being with a sailor.
Sailing is as surreal as life can get. Sailing is pretty much like driving, but it so much more liberating and exhilarating. Sailing basics will help you to get one step forward for sailing. It is one of those skills that grow into a fun and adventurous habits.
Furthermore, it can be quite an extra income earner. You should definitely try it for therapeutic and profitable reasons.