Safe Skipper Blog

First Aid Afloat – jellyfish stings

Posted by on 10:51 am in Emergencies, Preparation | 1 comment

Jellyfish sting First Aid Afloat at Sea

First Aid Afloat – jellyfish stings

 

Wherever you are boating in the world I am sure you will be using a pilot guide to aid your navigation.

Often in the introduction to the area section there will be a part talking about different types of sea creatures that may sting you and how to treat a sting.

Sometimes it can be useful to do some additional research online as well. One type of sea creature that I have come across all round the world are jellyfish. I am sure you are aware they can give a painful sting.

How to treat a jellyfish sting:

• Check for dangers

• Check for level of response and for normal breathing, treat as appropriate

• If crew member shows signs of severe allergic reactions, treat as appropriate

• To treat the actual sting, wash the area with vinegar (4-6% acetic acid solution) for at least 30 minutes to deactivate the venom

• After the sting material is removed or deactivated immerse the area in as hot water as possible without scalding

• Monitor and record the crew member’s vital signs

(from the new iPhone & Android app by Paul Hopkins First Aid Afloat)

First Aid Afloat – fish spine injury

Posted by on 10:40 am in Boat Handling, Emergencies | 0 comments

First Aid Afloat at Sea - fish spine injury. Get Safe Skipper boat insurance.

First Aid Afloat

First Aid Afloat – Here is what to do if somebody stands on a fish spine:

• Check for dangers. Is it safe for you to enter the water?

• Check for levels of response and for normal breathing

• Inform emergency services if necessary

• If needed treat serious bleeding

• If easily done remove embedded fish spines

Immerse wound in as hot water as possible without scalding. Leave in the water for up to 90 minutes for pain relief and to help remove small spines

• Apply a cold compress to wound if hot water is not relieving the pain

• Clean wound with antiseptics wipes from the first aid kit

• Seek medical assistance if necessary

(taken from Paul Hopkins new app for iPhone & Tablets, First Aid Afloat)

Hourly Checks when sailing or motoring

Posted by on 3:51 pm in Boat Handling, Practical | 0 comments

Hourly checks for sailors and motorboaters

Hourly Checks when sailing or motoring

 

Hourly Checks

Get into the habit of carrying out these checks and both yourself, your crew and your boat will be safer:

Fill in log book

Filling in the log book can seem an unnecessary chore but having a record of courses and positions is valuable if you have an electrical or electronic failure. You can also see weather trends.

 

Engine compartment

A regular check in the engine compartment can detect any leaks or problems before they get serious.

 

Weather forecast

Update the weather forecast at regular intervals if you can.

 

Course and position

Check both the course you are steering and the course being followed on the plotter and adjust if necessary.

 

Double checking

Try to check your position by visual means or with the echo sounder if you are within sight of land to confirm that the GPS is working satisfactorily.

 

Fuel

If you are running under power check the fuel being used and the fuel remaining to ensure that you are not consuming more than expected.

 

Crew OK?

Check that the crew are all OK and in good shape. Look for any signs of seasickness.

 

From the new app for iPhone & Android:

Dag Pike’s Boating Checklists

ag Pike began his career as a merchant captain, went on to test lifeboats, and took up fast boat navigation, winning a string of trophies for powerboat races around the world, including navigating Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic Challenger on the record-breaking fastest Atlantic crossing by powerboat.

About the author:

Dag Pike began his career as a merchant captain, went on to test lifeboats, and took up fast boat navigation, winning a string of trophies for powerboat races around the world, including navigating Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic Challenger on the record-breaking fastest Atlantic crossing by powerboat.

Boat Handling – anchoring

Posted by on 6:45 pm in Boat Handling, Practical, Preparation | 0 comments

Boat Handling - anchoring

Boat Handling – anchoring

Anchoring your yacht or motorboat

Anchoring is one of the most important boat handling skills. If you can set an anchor correctly with confidence and know your boat will be safe in a secure anchorage, then you can rest in comfort and will not need to rely on moorings and marinas when cruising. You can also leave your boat at anchor and go ashore safe in the knowledge that the anchor will not drag.

If you do not know how to anchor correctly then you risk endangering your boat and also others who might be anchored nearby. And if your anchor is unsuitable for the type of seabed beneath your keel then there is a high chance of the anchor dragging. For some boat owners, the fear of the anchor dragging means they stay awake all night, as a result getting little or no sleep and most likely stressing out their crew into the bargain!

Getting anchoring right is not always straightforward. It can be confusing with the many types of anchor available and there will always be conflicting opinions on which anchors would be best suited for your boat and your chosen cruising ground. Anchors and chain weigh considerable amounts, so loading up with excessive amounts of chain and anchors can affect a vessel’s performance and only really be necessary if planning a long distance voyage along a variety of potentially exposed stretches of coastline.

Types of anchor

Choosing the type and size of anchors and cable to carry aboard will depend on the type and size of your vessel and the sea area it is being used in. Most importantly, choose anchors that are big enough for your vessel and those which are recommended by the manufacturers. Cruising yachts normally carry at least two types of anchor, plus suitable lengths of chain and rope cables. Types of anchor include:

Bruce – good power to weight, easy to handle, holds well in mud, sand and rock
CQR or plough – good power to weight, stows well on bow roller, though awkward on deck. Holds well in mud and sand. Very popular and reliable
Delta – good power to weight, also plough shaped. Stows well on bow roller
Danforth – stows flat, good kedge anchor, hard to break out of mud. Excellent back up anchor. Prone to pull out if the wind or current reverses
Fisherman’s – the traditional anchor. Good for rocky and heavily weeded seabeds, but heavy and awkward and not so good in sand and mud.

Chain and warp

Anchor cables can be either chain or rope, or both. For an anchor to work effectively, the vessel’s pull on its cable must be parallel with the sea bed, otherwise the anchor will break out from the sea bed and drag. The weight of chain prevents this from happening, providing there is sufficient length of chain lying on the sea bed. A further factor that helps is the effect of the catenary curve of the cable between the boat and the anchor. This acts as a shock absorber between the boat and the anchor, so if the boat is hit by a sudden gust of wind the cable will straighten and tighten before it pulls hard on the anchor.

Hauling in an anchor and chain can be very heavy work if your vessel lacks an anchor winch, but chain is much stronger and will not chafe on the sea bed, unlike rope. A workable solution is to have the anchor cable consist of part chain, which lies on the sea bed and part rope, to make it more manageable. An all rope cable is much lighter and easier to manage, but less secure and prone to chafe. All rope cables are normally used with kedge anchors.

How much cable should you use? The amount, or scope, depends on the type of cable, the depth of water beneath the keel, plus the weather conditions and the height of tide. If anchoring in calm conditions with little or no tide, then the absolute minimum scope for chain is considered to be 3:1 and 5:1 for rope. In light to moderate conditions a ratio of 5:1 for chain and 8:1 for rope is generally accepted and in worsening conditions a ratio of 8:1 for chain and 10:1 for rope. In tidal areas, the rise and fall of the tide needs to be allowed for and if necessary adjustments will need to be made if at anchor for several hours or over night.

Trip line

Most anchors have a small hole for attaching a trip line, for use if there is risk of the anchor becoming fouled. The line is either brought back onboard and cleated or connected to a small buoy which floats above the anchor.

All of this advice and more is available in our easy-to-use, quick to access app for iPhone and Android. Go to SafeSkipper.com for more.

Essential boat engine checklist

Posted by on 3:41 pm in Boat Handling, Navigation, Preparation | 0 comments

Essential boat engine checklist

Essential boat engine checklist

Boat engine checklist

Engine oil level check

Even if you have checked it previously, confirming the engine oil level is up to scratch will give you peace of mind on a passage.

Cooling water check

It is the same with the cooling water in the engine. Check the water level before you start up the engine.

Spare oil on board

Carrying some spare oil for the engine is a wise precaution just in case a leak develops.

Fuel filter check

If your primary fuel filter has a glass bowl then a quick check to confirm that there is no water or dirt in the bowl will give you peace of mind on the passage.

Sea water intake filter check

Most water intakes have a clear top so you can check that there is no debris or seaweed inside that might block the filter.

Seacocks open

You will often close the seacocks when in harbor so make sure that they have been opened before you start the main engine and check that all other necessary seacocks are also open.

Loose equipment stowed and secured

The last thing you want in the engine room and steering compartment is any loose equipment or tools wandering around when the boat starts moving in a seaway, so check that everything is secure.

Battery and electrical switches

The battery switches should all be open before going to sea and check that switches with multiple choices are set to the right position.

Check the belt drive for the water pumps and the alternator

A quick feel of the amount of slack in the drive belts will confirm that they will work correctly, thus reducing the chance of slipping or breakage when out at sea.

Stern gland

This may be of the type that needs greasing at regular intervals so make sure the greaser is full and screw it down a turn or two.

 

From the new app for iPhone & Android:

Dag Pike’s Boating Checklists

ag Pike began his career as a merchant captain, went on to test lifeboats, and took up fast boat navigation, winning a string of trophies for powerboat races around the world, including navigating Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic Challenger on the record-breaking fastest Atlantic crossing by powerboat.

About the author:

Dag Pike began his career as a merchant captain, went on to test lifeboats, and took up fast boat navigation, winning a string of trophies for powerboat races around the world, including navigating Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic Challenger on the record-breaking fastest Atlantic crossing by powerboat.

 

Dag Pike’s Boat Survey

Posted by on 5:57 pm in Boat Handling, Practical, Preparation | 0 comments

Dag Pike Boat Survey App

We’re really pleased to be working with Dag Pike on some great new apps for iPhone & Android. Here’a a bit more about the first app:

Dag Pike’s Boat Inspection App

Dag began his career as a merchant captain, went on to test RNLI lifeboats, and took up fast boat navigation, winning a string of trophies for powerboat races around the world, including navigating Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic Challenger on the record-breaking fastest Atlantic crossing by powerboat.

He is now a navigation and powerboat journalist in demand all round the world.

In this new app he shares with you his expert knowledge gained over 25 years as a qualified Marine Surveyor – Essential tips and information to help you navigate safely through the process of buying a boat or checking out your own.

It’s an absolute must – have this app with you when checking out any boat with a view to purchase, and help avoid very costly mistakes.

Calling in a professional surveyor is expensive but you can do a lot of the same inspection work yourself. These check lists will guide you through the process, what to look out for and what the signs mean.

This app will be with you when you need it – on your ‘phone or tablet.

For the boat owner, the check lists are a useful starting point for checking out your boat in detail at the end of the season, so you can be comfortable that the boat is in good shape or identify any work that needs to be done.

The 10 Minute Boat Survey

The 10 Minute Boat Survey check list can be a useful guide when looking over boats when there isn’t time or the facilities for making detailed checks. If you want to make a closer examination of a boat that interests you, then after working through the detailed lists in this app you will have a good idea whether it is worth going ahead with the purchase or whether to walk away, before calling in the professional.

These check lists will go a long way to help identify if potential problems are serious or cosmetic. You will certainly know a boat’s condition better at the end of them.

Whether potential purchaser or owner, please call in the professional for the final check or when you can’t work out just how serious a problem might be – it’s a big investment, and we aim to help you get it right.

Dag’s unique 10 Minute Boat Survey check list is an essential guide about what to look for when looking around a potential purchase when there isn’t time or the facilities for a more detailed check. It’s easy to be taken along with admiring your potential new purchase, or listening to the broker sell you on all the good points, but this will keep your feet firmly on the ground, and help you make the right choice and then negotiate the best deal.

You can find out even more about boat surveying in Dag’s new book Be Your Own Boat Surveyor published by Adlard Coles,.

Google-Play-logo1-300x100 available_on_the_app_store-300x98

Fire safety advice at sea from the Marine & Coastguard Agency

Posted by on 9:37 am in Emergencies, Preparation | 0 comments

Fire safety advice for boaters

Top fire safety advice at sea:

1. Fit smoke alarms, carbon monoxide and gas detectors
2. Turn fuel off properly after use
3. Dispose of cigarettes carefully. Put them out, right out
4. Make sure appliances are installed and maintained by a trained fitter
5. Clean up fuel spillages straight away
6. Plan your emergency procedure and make sure everyone on board knows it
7. Avoid fighting a fire yourself
8. Get out, stay out and wait for the Fire and Rescue Service
9. If you are moored near land move everybody off the boat and call emergency services immediately
10. If you are off-shore move as far away from the fire as you can on deck. Get everybody into life jackets and make a mayday call
11. Keep fire blankets and extinguishers close to exits and risk points, such as the galley and engine area. Only use them if you know how to

 

Medical Emergency at Sea

Posted by on 11:18 am in Emergencies, Preparation | 1 comment

How to deal with a medical emergency afloat

How to deal with a medical emergency on a boat

Medical Emergency at Sea

 

If you are planning a boating trip, it is important to have at least one person on board who is trained in first aid.

Responsible skippers should definitely make time to do a basic marine first aid course.

If you need medical advice, make an all stations PANPAN.

If reporting a medical emergency at sea:

Be prepared to describe symptoms including:

• Breathing rate
• Pulse rate
• Temperature
• Skin colour
• Conscious state
• Site and description of pain
• Site and type of injury
• Loss of blood

Be prepared to deal with common medical emergencies including:

Fracture – immobilize the limb. Splint a broken finger to adjoining finger, a leg to the uninjured leg, an arm to the body

Head injury – seek urgent medical assistance if the casualty is unconscious. Check airway. Put in recovery position. Watch the casualty carefully

Resuscitation (CPR) – learn the recommended combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths

Shock – lie casualty down, raise their legs above the level of their heart, loosen clothing, cover with blanket, do not give them food and drink until you have received medical advice

Severe bleeding – using a sterile dressing, apply pressure to wound to stem bleeding

Be prepared to deal with:
Burns, Chest Injury, Dislocations, Fish Hook Injury, Heat Exhaustion, Hypothermia, Jelly Fish Stings

Ensure you have a good first aid manual aboard.

(taken from the Safe Skipper app for iPhone, iPad & Android)

How to Avoid Collisions At Sea With The ColRegs

Posted by on 11:21 am in Boat Handling, Navigation, Preparation | 0 comments

How to Learn The ColRegs and Avoid Collisions at Sea

How to Avoid Collisions At Sea With The ColRegs

Every Skipper Needs Accurate Knowledge of the IRPCS ColRegs

As a responsible skipper it is every skipper’s duty to learn and apply the IRPCS ColRegs.

How To Avoid Collisions at sea

Accurate knowledge and interpretation of the IRPCS ColRegs ensures that every skipper can avoid collisions by applying their responsibility, correct look-out, safe speed, action to avoid collisions, in traffic separation schemes, whilst overtaking, in head-on situations, crossing situations, action by give-way vessels, action by stand-on vessels and the proper conduct when vessels are in restricted visibility.

What We Learned Reading ColRegs Puzzles

Reading through the many ColRegs puzzles posted online in sailing and boating forums it has become clear to us just how often the COLREGS are breached when collisions occur, and how widespread poor understanding and interpretation of the ColRegs is amongst skippers.

The forums and the questions asked are a great starting point for wide-ranging discussion and analysis on all aspects of collision avoidance, and we’ve concluded that what often separates a good skipper from a poor one is not just their skill and ability to overcome risk, but exercising the judgment to AVOID risk altogether. This comes with experience as well as training, you simply never stop learning the ColRegs.

How to Learn The ColRegs

There are lots of different ways to learn the ColRegs, and we chose to help skippers with that process by developing a series of easy-t-use graphically-led mobile apps to help skippers everywhere learn and apply the ColRegs and IALA systems

We want all our users to enjoy a safe, collision-free passage at sea!

Happy sailing!

You Need To Understand The IRPCS ColRegs To Pass Your Yachtmaster, Master of Yachts and Coxswain Certificate of Competence

Posted by on 11:12 am in Boat Handling, Navigation, Preparation | 0 comments

IRPCS ColRegs Rules of the Road at Sea and Yachtmaster

The IRPCS ColRegs

IRPCS ColRegs Rules of the Road at Sea and Yachtmaster

Learning, understanding and remembering the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (IRPCS ColRegs) is essential if you’re seeking to get your YachtmasterCoxswain or Master of Yachts certificate of competency, which is is often the ultimate aim of aspiring skippers. These are well known, highly respected seafaring qualifications worldwide, proving your experience and competence as a skipper.

Unlike other courses in the international cruising programme, there is no formal training to complete in order to become a Yachtmaster. Instead, provided that you have sufficient experience and seafaring time, you can put yourself forward for an exam to test your skills and knowledge.

How do you obtain a Yachtmaster certificate? 

Preparation is the key. In fact, any instructor will tell you, the main reason for failure is a lack of preparation and poor knowledge. So, it’s a simple as that, you have to know your syllabus and be able to answer the questions to get your Yachtmaster certificate.

What’s the best way to prepare for your Yachtmaster exam ?

People have different ways of learning the ColRegs, but a common mistake is to try to remember the ColRegs without having understood and interpreted the rules first. So, you need to find materials that will help you with your own learning style. Visualising the rules and potential hazards and collision will often help people understand the rules and their application. That’s why, with permission from IRPCS, we developed series of graphically-led mobile applications to help people understand and interpret the ColRegs on their iPhone, iPad or Android devices.

Our ColRegs Nav Lights and Rules of the Road at Sea apps provide skippers with what they need to interpret what other vessels are doing, who has right of way and what action they should take to prevent a collision, as specified by the IRPCS ColRegs. Every rule and definition is available at the touch of a finger, each scenario expertly drawn for quick reference.

Why are the ColRegs so hard to learn? 

They are complex and can take years to learn properly, so begin as soon as you can. Finding every opportunity for practice and revision can help. That’s why having the ColRegs Nav Lights and ColRegs Rules of the Road apps on your smartphone, tablet or other mobile device can be helpful. Particularly for the “dead time” you can spend sitting on a platform or commuter train, or in a doctor’s surgery; all opportunities when you could be revising the rules of the road at sea, and checking and testing your ColRegs knowledge on your app. Users of our ColRegs apps have often alluded to these reasons for liking the apps in their endorsements and feedback.

What are Yachtmaster examiners looking for? 

Your accuracy in interpreting and applying the Colregs are the examiners best indication of your knowledge and awareness of your responsibilities, and your ability to conduct safe passage when things get hot and you’re close to another vessel. So you need to do everything you can to improve your knowledge of the regulations, an show more than just a basic understanding of the rules. So, be focused on understanding the ColRegs and fully applying yourself to learning and applying them in your seamanship.

Learning and practice 

The Yachtmaster course is designed to formalise what you have experienced and combine it with what you have studied. That’s as true for practical boat handling as it is for navigation, so don’t wait until the week before your exam to brush up on the ColRegs, or to learn to use a compass and charts.

What is the mark of good Yachtmaster? 

Finally, it is worth remembering that what often separates a good skipper from a bad one is not just having the skill to overcome risk, but exercising the judgment to avoid risk altogether. This comes with experience as well as training, you simply never stop learning. So, if you pass the exam and become a ‘Master of Yachts’ or ‘Yachtmaster,’ remember the real learning has just begun. And remember to take your ColRegs Nav Lights and Rule of the Road at Sea apps with you, just in case you need to revise the