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Prudence—Not Just an Island
It seems that near the end of each summer, a buzz ignites on the safety front. Sparked by a season full of incidents, questions and debates inevitably emerge about lifejacket usage, heavy weather preparedness and crew experience. From all pockets of the Internet, armchair sailors weigh in with quotes and cries of, “That will never happen to me, I always wear a lifejacket!” and “They shouldn’t have been out in weather like that anyway,” or “It seems like they had no idea what they were doing.”
Opinions on safety vary as widely as the different types of emergency situations that occur. I frequently get asked hypothetical questions about what I would do if a given situation arose while on the water and my typical answer is: “Keep water out of the boat and people in. Don’t start the boat on fire. And don’t run into anything.” I usually get a chuckle, as people think I’m joking, but each one of those tenets is true to safe boating.
In my mind, safety on the water begins and ends with prudent seamanship, and the big question before setting out should be, “Do I have the appropriate equipment, knowledge and skill to take care of my vessel and the people on it?” If you can’t answer yes to that question, you should seriously reconsider your boating plans.
Be safe out there and enjoy this week’s Cruising Compass.