Posts by Stuart Batley

Passage Planning Advice & Safety for skippers

By on Nov 16, 2015 in Navigation, Preparation | 1 comment

Passage planning helps you to: • Decide where to go • Calculate how long it will take to get there • Avoid bad weather • Take advantage of favourable tides • Be aware of possible hazards, eg shipping lanes, tidal overfalls • Decide a watch system • Decide if the crew is experienced enough for the trip • Be prepared to react in case of emergency   A well prepared passage plan can make the difference between a safe, trouble-free trip, or an experience that could prove unenjoyable and possibly hazardous. When planning a passage, small scale charts are used to create an overall strategy. This helps the skipper and crew consider such factors as the most efficient route, alternate routes and possible ports of refuge in case of emergency. Large scale charts are needed for destinations and hazardous areas of the route. If going outside your country’s territorial waters, make sure you have original documents on board including ship’s log, registration certificate, insurance, radio licence, International Certificate of Competence and courtesy flags for your destination. Tips • Carry large and small scale paper charts in addition to electronic navigation aids • Carry pilot books that provide harbour information and passage notes for your cruising area • Study the tidal heights and streams and make notes to cover the whole trip. • Check on customs regulations if applicable • Check you have all necessary documents Contingency Plan Before going to sea, make a contingency plan in case conditions deteriorate unexpectedly or there is a problem with your vessel or a crew member is injured. Ensure you could navigate safely to places of refuge without the need for electronic aids, in case of power failure. Make a note of the tidal predictions at the emergency destination, to be sure of accessibility. Information Ashore Make sure someone ashore knows of your plans and how to raise the alarm if they become concerned for your well being. (taken from the Safe Skipper app for iPhone, iPad &...

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Fire prevention on boats

By on Sep 24, 2015 in Emergencies, Practical, Preparation | 1 comment

  Fire prevention on boats – common causes of fire: • Smoking below decks • Galley cookers • Build-up of butane or propane gas in the bilges • Faulty wiring • Petrol/gasoline vapour in engine bay • Flammable paints and solvents Fire onboard a boat – fire prevention tips: • No Smoking below decks • Butane and propane gases are heavier than air and leaks will result in a build up of gas in the bilges. To clear gas, open hatches, head downwind to allow fresh air into cabin areas and pump the bilges • Keep gas valves turned off at the bottle and cooker when not in use • Fit gas and smoke detectors • Regularly check butane and propane gas fittings and tubing for leaks • Keep butane and propane gas bottles in cockpit lockers which drain overboard • Stow all flammable liquids in well secured, upright containers in lockers that vent outboard • Never leave naked cooker flames and frying pans unattended • Always vent engine bays before starting inboard engines • Have the wiring checked regularly All crew should know the location of fire extinguishers and fire blankets on board and know how to operate them. (info. from Safe Skipper app for iPhone, iPad &...

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ColRegs Rule 14 – Head-on Situation

By on Sep 12, 2015 in Boat Handling, Navigation, Preparation | 1 comment

ColRegs Rule 14: Head-on Situation (a) When two power-driven vessels are meeting on reciprocal or nearly reciprocal courses so as to involve risk of collision each shall alter her course to starboard so that each shall pass on the port side of the other. (b) Such a situation shall be deemed to exist when a vessel sees the other ahead or nearly ahead and by night she would see the mast head lights of the other in a line or nearly in a line and or both sidelights and by day she observes the corresponding aspect of the other vessel. (c) When a vessel is in any doubt as to whether such a situation exists she shall assume that it does exist and act accordingly. (From Nautical Rules of the Road – ColRegs for power boating and sailing – a Safe-Skipper...

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Know your Navlights & Shapes – essential for all skippers

By on Jul 17, 2015 in Communications, Navigation, Preparation | 0 comments

Know your Navlights & Shapes International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (ColRegs) Anyone who is responsible for a vessel at sea, from the smallest dinghy to an ocean going supertanker, day or night, must be able to recognise other vessels and quickly interpret what they see around them. This is not always easy, especially in crowded coastal waters. Rule 21(b) – “Sidelights” means a green light on the starboard side and a red light on the port side each showing an unbroken light over an arc of the horizon of 112.5 degrees and so fixed as to show the light from the right ahead to 22.5 degrees abaft the beam on its respective side. In a vessel of less than 20 metres in length the sidelights may be combined in one lantern carried on the fore and aft centreline of the vessel. Rule 23 – Power-driven vessels underway (a) A power-driven vessel underway shall exhibit: (i) a masthead light forward; (ii) a second masthead light abaft of and higher than the forward one; except that a vessel of less than 50 metres in length shall not be obliged to exhibit such light but may do so; (iii) sidelights; (iv) a sternlight. (b) An air-cushion vessel when operating in the non-displacement mode shall, in addition to the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of this Rule, exhibit an all-round flashing yellow light. (c) A WIG craft only when taking off, landing and in flight near the surface shall, in addition to the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of this Rule, exhibit a high intensity all-round flashing red light. (d) (i)A power-driven vessel of less than 12 metres in length may in lieu of the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of this Rule exhibit an all-round white light and sidelights; (ii) a power-driven vessel of less than 7 metres in length whose maximum speed does not exceed 7 knots may in lieu of the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of this Rule exhibit an all-round white light and shall, if practicable, also exhibit sidelights; (iii) the masthead light or all-round white light on a power-driven vessel of less than 12 metres in length may be displaced from the fore and aft centre...

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Getting a tow for your sail or power boat at sea or on inland waterways

By on Jun 7, 2015 in Boat Handling, Emergencies, Practical | 0 comments

FREE tips from the Safe Skipper App for iPhone/iPad/Android: Getting a tow for your sail or power boat Plan how to secure a tow rope to your boat. The tow rope must be attached to strong deck fittings As a rescue boat approaches, warn them of any debris or loose lines in the water If you are being rescued by a lifeboat, follow their instructions – they are experienced in rescue techniques If necessary back the tow rope with other ropes to lead to other cleats and strong points on deck Avoid using knots or loops that cannot be released under load Protect the rope from chafing using plastic tube, rags or fenders When being towed in a small boat, you will need to keep the weight well aft to keep the bow up If the boat is down by the bows you may need to be towed from astern The towed boat should always steer to follow the towing boat unless the steering has been disabled The use of a drogue to aid towing can be...

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