|Better Boating, Safety Advice and Top Tips|
Our simple tips to improve your skills, keep you safe, and make for the most enjoyable sailing experience
• Do not forget to wear your buoyancy jacket when boarding or leaving your boat and in any unsafe situations. Check your life jackets for any damage or wear regularly and make sure fastenings are secure.
• Ensure children are closely supervised at all times.
• Keep to a clear course to avoid any possible collisions, and stick to the right hand bank.
• Do not drink and drive. Being in charge of a boat under the influence is as dangerous as
• Don’t drink canal or river water, and avoid contact with particularly dirty water where you see foam or scum
• Wash properly after partaking in water based activities, and ensure any cuts or scratches are covered properly in a waterproof dressing.
Generally, it is a wise idea to make sure your boat is clean and tidy. Rinse after saltwater outings to remove residues, using cleaning solution specifically designed for boats, and a spray cleaner or long handled boat brush. If you have an outboard engine, check your propellers before each outing to make sure everything is properly secure, and to check for fishing line or other debris. Any dents or nicks should be inspected by a professional.
Check all fluid levels; engine oil, coolant, power steering and so on fairly regularly as you would with any motorised vehicle. Keep an eye on cables and electrical connections for cleasniness and to make sure they are properly fitting.
Electrics and engine – a few quick checks before every single trip can save an awful lot of time and energy. Check for any leaks, loose leads or particular rust spots, as keeping these well maintained can stop breakdowns and issues later on. Make sure your oil is fresh and in good condition, and make sure you change your fuel filter regularly to avoid any run in’s with diesel bug.
Paintwork – look after your paintwork well to avoid costly repainting jobs. Use a simple wax ;polish (check manufacturers specifications) once in a while to help protect the boat, and be aware that consistently mooring facing in one direction can mean one side deteriorates much more rapidly than the other.
Battery issues – as you will be using the battery as a power source for items such as fridges or lighting, you can end up with a flat battery after an overnight mooring. To avoid these, try to minimise the use of such power hungry items. Choose a low powered fridge, and consider switching to LED lighting which uses considerably less power than traditional lighting.
Overnight mooring – check the depth of your chosen mooring spot to ensure that there will be sufficient depth to avoid going aground. Try marking your boat pole to a depth slightly more than you need, and use this to probe the depths to ensure they are steep enough and check for any protruding rocks or similar.
Reverse propellers – a quick and simply way to clear any dead leaves, weed or debris from the rudder and keep maximum efficiency. Use short bursts on the throttle to free them, and when you move forwards you should see any debris floating free.
Old rope – no, not money for, but use older ropes for mooring rather newer, as these will be left out in all conditions. This way you can preserve your newer, more expensive rope for cruising.
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