For Cruiser Owners

For Cruiser Owners

Would you or any of your family/friends be able to locate emergency gear on your boat? Would they even know how to operate the VHF? Maybe.

If you have an accident on the water and need your passengers to pull you out of a fire, a “maybe” is not good enough. Even if you do boat with knowledgeable people, will they know where to find that well-stowed gear in a matter of moments? Considering all the different stowage compartments on an average 30’ cruiser, it’s a long shot at best.

The piece of mind knowing your passengers are able to handle or assist in a situation is so obvious – so obvious that most don’t take the time to do it. It could be the difference between a bad experience or a disaster. It’s a three-minute safety talk and mini-tour of the boat. Here is what your passengers should know every time you head out for a cruise:

  • The location and simple instruction in the use of safety gear, including fire extinguisher(s), flares, sound signals, life jackets, throw cushions, and any other important safety feature.

  • The proper way to put on a life jacket. For those who’ve never worn one before, it can take several minutes to figure out which straps go where. These are several minutes you may not be able to afford.

  • Use of the VHF. Specifically, make sure people know that channel 16 is for emergency and how to change the channel to 16. Also, go over the use of a squelch button or they may never hear a reply.

  • The location of the refuse container. Make sure to tell everyone that nothing, except bait, gets tossed overboard.

  • Proper use of the marine head. This may sound silly, but many people don’t know how to use a head. Fail to explain its use and someone might clog, flood, or break it – and you’ll have to clean it.

  • “Man Overboard” procedure. Instruct people to yell “man overboard,” toss out the throw cushion, point to the person in the water, and keep their eyes glued to him or her until the boat can be turned around. The key here is to make it perfectly clear that they should not turn around and look at you. If they do, they may never spot the
    person in the water again.

  • Basic rule: No running, no jumping, no rough-housing, and no playing with the bait knife.

  • If you have a boat with no bow rail, you should also keep passengers aft while underway.