WHAT TO DO IF THERE’S A MAN OVERBOARD
Accidents can happen when out on the water and it’s a good idea to be prepared for different scenarios. If someone slips and falls into the water, stay calm and slow down before you turn around safely to bring them back on board. Ensure you have a rope or lifeline on board to throw out for the person to hold onto. If you often take children out on your boat it might be a good idea to do practice drills for a ‘man overboard’ situation so everyone is less likely to panic if it happens.
If you’re the one who finds themselves overboard, it’s crucial not to panic. This can naturally be difficult but the RNLI offers sound advice on how you can best stay afloat and call for help:
- Fight the instinct to swim until the shock of the cold water passes
- Lean back and extend your arms and legs
- Gently move them around to float if you need to
- Float until you can control your breathing
- Then, call for help or swim to safety
PROTECT AGAINST THE SUN
Protecting ourselves from the sun is something we should all be doing daily but it is especially important when sailing out on the water with no shelter. Make sure everyone is wearing sun cream and that it is reapplied throughout the day – and the higher the factor the better. Wearing clothing such as rash vests and hats can also help protect from sun burn by up to 27%.
It’s also vital to stay hydrated and drink lots of water, especially if you will be out all day doing lots of physical activity. Wearing sunglasses won’t just make you look good, they are crucial for protecting your eyes against the sun so it’s best not to forget them.
DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE
It may seem like a nice idea to have a glass or two once you’re anchored at a stunning location but just like driving a car, you shouldn’t drink and steer a boat. Alcohol impairs your judgement, coordination and balance and being on the water can heighten those effects. If an accident should happen, alcohol, even in small amounts, when paired with long exposure in water can increase the likelihood of hypothermia.
Boat owners can be prosecuted for being intoxicated whilst in charge of a vessel. The Railways and Transport Safety Act states that it is illegal to operate a boat whilst over the drink-drive limit.
For more advice on staying safe at sea, take a look at our previous blog post.