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Archive For: Resource Articles Index

  • Weather Resources for Cruisers by Greg Allard

    A big thank you to veteran cruiser and SSECN contributor, Greg Allard, for this excellent guide to online and printed materials related to weather.

    Weather Resources for Cruisers

    By Greg Allard

    Cruisers- especially those looking to travel longer distances, soon learn Rule One of cruising: It’s All About the Weather

    This article discusses the weather sources we have used on the east coast of the U.S., in the Caribbean and the Bahamas, and a good bit of this information also applies to the west coast of the U.S. and Canada; some of the sources provide national or worldwide information. READ MORE!

    Understanding cloud formation is critical to understanding pending weather. There are numerous sources which explain the many different clouds and what they portend. In this photo, taken off the west coast of the Berry Islands, these two upward moving cloud columns may develop into something nasty.

    We don’t pretend that this article is exhaustive: experienced cruisers will undoubtedly have different sources or methods they rely upon, but these are the ones which have worked for us.

    Remember: you are ultimately responsible for the decisions you make about the weather. By its very nature, weather forecasting is an inexact science, and the best professional forecasters and weather sites are, on occasion, just plain wrong. Wind forecasting is especially problematic: marine wind speeds are often different from what is forecast: sometimes less, and often – more. This article will outline multiple sources of weather information, but as captain of your boat, only you can use that information, and your own judgment, to make the decision to go, or not to go.

    See Rule Two, at the end of this article.

    This shelf cloud, coming across Highbourne Cay Marina in the Exumas, means: “Don’t leave the marina.”

    If you have internet access:

    Marv Market’s Weather Service: Marv provides a daily e-mail update which draws upon Buoy Weather reports (see below). He covers multiple locations throughout the Bahamas, the Caribbean and the eastern and Gulf coastal U.S. from Texas to Maine. As an example, if you are travelling from Miami to Bimini, there will be a specific report for that route. His reports include projected wave heights and their period (time between waves, in seconds), wind speed and direction, all shown in a seven day projection. The graphic reports are exceptionally easy to use.

    Marv also provides extremely valuable Tropical Updates, whenever there is a potential severe weather system which might affect the U.S. east coast, the Caribbean or the Bahamas. His analysis is some of the best we have seen. He also appears to give alerts at least a couple of days before anyone else. The Tropical Updates come by e-mail; he sends them only when necessary.

    If you want to be added to his daily mailing, send him an e-mail request at: marvboater1@aol.com. He asks for a voluntary donation while you use his service.

    The convenience of having Marv’s comprehensive package of reports in your mail each morning cannot be overstated.


    A fast moving storm, approaching from the SE, at Staniel Cay in the Exumas. The dark area which reaches down to the water (just to the right of the island) is heavy rain.

    Buoy Weather: In my view, one of the singular best commercial internet weather sites. Annual fee: up to $79.95. Worldwide coverage. www.buoyweather.com.webloc

    As mentioned above, one of Marv Market’s principal sources of information is an arrangement he has with Buoy Weather. You can access the Buoy Weather site for free, but that will only give you projections for two days. Membership gives you wind and wave forecasts for seven days, plus a number of multiple additional features, including the ability to select a specific location for your weather reports. It’s worth looking at the site, just to see what is offered.

    Both Marv Market’s Weather Service, and Buoy Weather have additional links and significant features which make them individually valuable. We subscribe to both. We cruise about six months each year; having such valuable weather information available for a modest cost is an easy decision.

    Passageweather: passageweather.com.webloc

    This site always makes our short list for reliable forecasts. A bit more difficult to navigate than some, but we consult it daily.

     

    Other sites you may find helpful include:

    1) WINDYTY : windytv.com

    Worth exploring, if just for the neat graphics!

    2) LEE CHESNEAU’S information-packed weather site:

    www.chesneaumarineweath#152F3A8

    Lee Chesneau is a first-class weather instructor, and his website is rich with content and helpful links.

    3) INTELLICAST: www.intellicast.com.webloc

    4) OCENS: A number of serious offshore cruisers use this regularly for both weather and satellite based communications. www.ocens.com.webloc

    5) The NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) sites, are primary sources for coastal and offshore information. They also include hurricane data. Here are two links to get you started:

    www.nws.noaa.gov/om/mar#1C97533

    www.nws.noaa.gov/om/mar#1C975E3

    6) Crown Weather: crownweather.com/.webloc

    Excellent site with superb graphics.

    National Data Buoy Center (NBDC): www.ndbc.noaa.gov.webloc

    This site is operated by NOAA, and rather than give projections or estimates of wind and wave conditions, the advantage is that it reports actual conditions in almost real time, – at hundreds of locations, both buoy and coastal-based. For instance, if you access the Settlement Point (West End, Bahamas) report, you can see wind speed and direction no more than an hour ago. It’s valuable to know what the conditions actually are, rather than what they are supposed to be. (The Settlement Point site does not report on wave heights, but many of the various NDBC locations on the east and west coasts of the U.S. do.)

    At times, some of the NBDC stations are “down” (not operating), or the sites are reporting only limited information.

    Each station’s report includes a link to the full National Weather Service Marine reports. You can set up your own file of preferred NDBC locations to make access easier.

    Another feature of the NBDC worth knowing about is the “Dial-A-Buoy” service. Information about it can be found using the link above. Using your cell phone (or sat phone) you call the NDBC and enter the number-identifier of the buoy you want. You will then hear a voice report of the current conditions at that buoy, and in many instances, you can also receive the voice report of the NWS forecast. It helps if you have identified the buoy ID numbers ahead of time on the internet, as obtaining them on the phone connection is cumbersome.

    Wunderground: This is a general purpose weather site, not primarily marine, but it contains an great deal of good information, including links to the U.S. based radar sites.

    This photo from NOAA shows a classic “anvil” cloud, one of the most important clouds for mariners to recognize. They are often a sign of thunderstorms.

    As an example, here is the link to the Tampa, FL radar, which covers all of SE United States and includes the Florida Straits. www.wunderground.com/.webloc (Zoom the image out, to see full radar and wind coverages.)

    While U.S. based radar only extends into the Bahamas as far as the center of Grand Bahama island, and the west side of Andros, U.S. radar is extremely helpful in planning a crossing of the Florida Straits (Gulf Stream).

    The Wunderground radar link (above) also has sub-links to view lightening strikes and storms, as well as satellite views, which show storms and strikes outside of the U.S. radar area. (There is no weather radar in the Bahamas.)

    The Wunderground site can also link you to land based forecasts which are helpful for projections of rain or thunderstorms. For instance, here is the link to the extensive Wunderground information for Great Harbour in The Berry Islands, Bahamas: www.wunderground.com/ 3.webloc

    (Note on Bahamas internet access: Bahamian cruisers will find that access to the internet is very good in most places. Just as in the U.S., almost all marinas have wi-fi – at some it is free, others impose a charge. Or, if you are anchored or moored in the Bahamas near a BTC (Bahamian Telecommunications) tower – which are in-place on almost all inhabited islands – you will be able to access the internet, provided you have made plans with either your own carrier, or the Bahamian Telecommunications Company (BTC.). The BTC towers often offer coverage up to ten miles from shore. Some of the really remote Bahamian islands have no access, and the Exuma Land and Sea Park has internet only if you are sitting next to the office at the main headquarters at Warderick Wells.)

    Non-Internet accessed Weather Sources:

    VHF Radio Weather Channels:

    With multiple internet ways to obtain weather, the National Weather Service reports on VHF Radio are often overlooked. They are free, current and as reliable as anything else. Depending upon the condition of your equipment and connections, and height of your antenna, their reports are often available a considerable distance offshore, and occasionally in some parts of the Bahamas.

    Sirius Marine XM Satellite Weather (WxWorx) : www.siriusxm.com/.webloc

    For cruising everywhere along both U.S. coasts, significant portions of southern Canada (but not Alaska), the Bahamas and some portions of the Caribbean (including Cuba), we’ve found that the single best way of obtaining weather when the internet is not available is through Sirius Marine Weather (WxWorx). Just like Sirius radio, the information is provided by satellite.

    This drawing, from the Sirius site, approximates the area of coverage of Sirius XM Marine weather.  Sirius notes that: “Satellite signal strength at border regions may be limited.”

    Sirius shows wave heights and direction, wave period, wind speed and direction, radar (again, U.S. based), lightening strikes, movement of fronts, buoy data, storm paths, tropical storm warnings, satellite views (including lightening strikes outside the reach of U.S. radar) and NWS forecasts for coastal and offshore.

    A screen shot of Sirius Marine Weather (WxWorx) from our shipboard computer in April of 2015. The lower part of Florida is on the left of the screen, and some of the Bahamian islands are in the center. The bright yellow, green and (some red) areas on the left side of the screen are all rain, picked up by the U.S. based radar. There are lightening strikes shown in the red areas on the lower left. The real time version of this screen showed the storm moving directly east. Note that the U.S. based radar only goes as far as the west end of Grand Bahama island (top of the screen) and the west side of Andros, the large grey island in the middle of the screen. All of the lightening strikes from the center to the right side of the screen have been picked up by satellite, not radar, and provided by Sirius via satellite. So while there are no radar returns showing the heavy rains from the center of the screen over to the right, the strong number of lightening strikes surely means that there is bad weather there, and likely to be heavy rains and wind. The different colors of the lightening bolts indicate the amount of time since the recorded strike: white means the strike was less than 5 minutes ago, yellow is 5-10 minutes old, and orange occurred 10-15 minutes ago.

    The strength of Sirius is that you have access to the weather 24-7, without needing an internet connection. It has helped us plan for multiple open-water crossings.

    A negative: the wind and wave forecasts are projected only two days out. Access to the NWS forecasts does make up, to some extent, for that deficiency.

    For a stand-alone Sirius marine application you need a WxWorx “black box” and a small mushroom antenna, connected to either an onboard Windows computer or laptop. The box, from WxWorx, costs $830, however you may be able to find a perfectly serviceable used one on E-Bay. We secured a used box, and found that Sirius offers free software updates for all of their older WxWorx receivers.

    We’ve had two boats equipped with Sirius; on both we’ve used a stand-alone box, connected to either a Windows desktop or a laptop. The service has been excellent and the package with the most features (recommended) is the “Master Mariner” at $49.95 a month.

    Some chartplotters can also receive the Sirius data, using their own proprietary black box or related equipment. We’ve seen Sirius in use on several chartplotters, and sometimes the data presented was in a different format, less detailed and a bit more difficult to access than what we receive with our stand- alone Sirius system. This is based on several observations; some cruisers may have a different experience, depending on their hardware. This statement is from the Sirius site:

    “The availability and display of service features….varies by hardware provider.”

    Cruisers may find that the access to Sirius WxWorx through a chartplotter will be more than adequate, and that it is more cost-effective to connect it to their existing chartplotter..

    If you want to see if you can access Sirius XM weather on your chartplotter, start by consulting your owner’s manual, or contacting the manufacturer of your device. You could also call Sirius, but do not call the regular toll-free number which is used to subscribe to the service. They are nice order-takers, but know nothing about the technical side. Instead, call one of the technical people at Sirius, whose contact information is on their website.

    Sirius has a good feature which allows you to suspend the service for months at a time when you are not cruising.

    Once you install the system, spending less than $2.00 a day for this kind of weather access is smart choice especially if you are doing open water passages.

    Ship’s Radar: Some cruisers don’t recognize the value of the vessel’s radar as a weather monitoring tool. When it is set on longer ranges, your radar will pick up fast moving rain storms, and you can plot their direction.

    Other Non Internet Options: There are a number of other sophisticated – and sometimes complex – ways of collecting weather information. They include using a “short wave” radio receiver (less than $200) to receive scheduled reports; weather reports and “GRIB” files can also be downloaded from various sources through an SSB or a SAT phone. A portable “short wave” type radio receiver is a reasonable way to receive SSB forecasts, without the chore of installing and learning how to use a full featured SSB. Just be sure that the portable short wave radio you purchase has the required frequencies to access the reports you want. (See below).

    Weather Services: Paid Professional Forecasting and Routing Advisors:

    Offshore, SSB and Sat Phones (with a fax) can be used to obtain voice or printed forecasts from a professional weather routing provider such as Chris Parker (search “Chris Parker Weather Service”) who offers customized interpretation of weather data tailored to your specific route. (Parker’s services can also be accessed by e-mail, internet or cell phone where you have a connection.)

    The use of a weather routing service may be more important if you are cruising to remote places, travelling offshore for days at a time. Parker focuses primarily on the Bahamas, the western Atlantic (including Bermuda) and the Caribbean.

    Another recognized weather service is that run by Bob Jones, called Ocean Marine Navigation, Inc. (OMNI) www.oceanmarinenav.com.webloc

    OMNI offers worldwide coverage, which you can access using multiple methods. Jones has provided services for the two Nordhavn cross-Atlantic Rallies and for multiple FUBAR rallies on the west coast of the U.S./Mexico. His service is well-regarded by experienced offshore and trans-ocean cruisers.

    SUMMARY: Virtually all of the information and data available on any packaged weather site or service is available often for free, on the internet. The real value of dedicated sites (such as Buoy Weather, Passageweather or Marv’s Reports) is that they pull together in one place multiple sources of the information you need, and present it in an easy to digest, integrated format. Sirius does the same thing, but makes it available via satellite. Weather Routing Services go a good step further, and add professional interpretation to the data.

    A Note on Learning about Bahamian and Caribbean Weather Patterns:

    We would not think of cruising Bahamian waters without the most current editions of the Explorer Charts, which have separate chartbooks for Near Bahamas, Far Bahamas, and the Exumas. Not only do they have, in our experience, the most reliable and accurate charting details, but they also contain a huge amount of usable information about local anchorages, facilities, etc.

    The current editions of the “Near Bahamas” and “Exumas” Explorer books include an excellent full page discussion of Bahamian weather, fronts, hurricanes, analysis of changing patterns by season, and other weather resources, written by Chris Parker and Frank Ready. All three books have a list of weather stations, frequencies and the times at which you can receive weather reports on a portable “short wave” type radio.

    For Bahamian and Caribbean cruisers, another superb book is Bruce Van Sant’s: A Gentleman’s Guide to Passages South, which contains an excellent discussion of weather patterns from Florida, through the Bahamas, and into the Caribbean.

    As was said above, as captain of your boat only you can use information about the weather, coupled with your own judgment, to make an intelligent decision. Which brings us to the second, simple rule of marine weather forecasting.

    Rule Two: If you think the weather is questionable, and you are not sure if you should go, then don’t go.

      • Greg Allard has held a U.S. Coast Guard Master’s License for over 25 years. He has instructed U.S. Coast Guard and Navy crews, and the crews of foreign military partners of the U.S., in the operation of new coastal and offshore patrol boats delivered to them. He and his wife Barbara cruise aboard their 61’ Tollycraft “Meander” about six months a year. They have voyaged extensively along the U.S. east coast, the Bahamas, Caribbean, and most recently cruised aboard a friends’ boat in the Swedish archipelago on the Baltic Sea. He has no financial or other interest in any of the sites or companies mentioned.
      • Copyright – Greg Allard, 2016
  • Suggestions from AGLCA for Combating Sea Sickness

    This excellent summary covering motion sickness remedies comes from our experienced cruiser friends at America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association. The replies below were prompted by a question from Marshall Barnes.

    I’m thinking about stocking some seasickness medication as we begin our loop in April. Neither me nor my wife currently experience sickness but it might be wise to have some on board for friends and just in case. What brand would you recommend? Thanks in advance for your help.
    Marshall Barnes Read More!

    Perhaps one of the best products to prevent / cure motion sickness is MOTION EASE < https://motioneaze.com/ >. We have used the product successfully for ore than 15 years and it has always stopped motion sickness in just a few minutes, even after one has started getting sick. Because it is a topical compound that you rub just a drop into the back of the ear lobe, it does;t cause drowsiness nor prevent one from having a glass of wine or a beer. It is expensive though at a 5 ml bottle for $16 to $20. But it works. It is available from Walmart, West Marine, most large drug stores.
    John and Judy Gill

    Hi, We use and keep crystal ginger and our favorite is peanut butter or peanut butter crackers. We don’t get sea sick, yet, but we have done several crossings were I have felt queasy and that helped a lot.
    hich essentially is like a dried fruit, on board for those times a guest may have troubles. A resealable 7oz. bag is about $2.50 at Big Lots.
    Brenda Sanderson

    I bought some Ginger Gum off the shelf at a CVS Drug Store. Several passengers have found that helpful.
    Phil Koehl

    Some people might say these are a joke, but I’ve certainly read lots of positive reviews of them. We purchased Anti-Nausea Wristbands for the whole family before we started the loop. Granted, none of us have ever been seasick, so it’s hard to say if they work or if are just not prone. But basically, every time we’re doing a bigger day with the chance of things getting rough (e.g. Lake Michigan, gulf crossing), we all wear them and we’ve been fine. I do know you are supposed to wear them before you need them. If you put them on once feeling sick, it’s too late.
    Bonus: I feel a bit like Wonder Woman with these wrist bands on! lol
    Nancy, James, Lucas & Marcos

    (Quoted): “What really works is Transderm Scopalamine 1.5 mg/3 day patch. Yes, it is a prescription tbat you can get at a convenient care. Less drowsiness than other medications, including dramamine. One patch and you are done for big crossings, etc.”
    Agree. I’ve used these several times over the years in ocean passages and the patches are the ultimate fix. Not 100% if it gets really rough and there are some minor side effects but the ginger remedies, bracelets and other nonsense are a waste of time. Why find out the hard way like I did? Drink a lot of water while you’re at it to keep hydrated, even if you’re not thirsty. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) loopers do short term trips and it may take a couple of days to get your sea legs. But these help.
    Phil Barbalace

    My wife and I were in Cozumel 34 years ago. I was diving and she went to get the perfect sun tan. In those days, the dive boats were converted old wooden fishing boat with a diesel engine and a sail that was never use. A little rolly at rest. So Sharon decided to go out on the boat but was worried about sea sickness. A friend who is a doctor was on the trip and gave her a patch to wear. Sharon put it on and had 3 great days on the boat working on that suntan.
    We returned to Chicago, Sharon took off the patch and went back to work at the hospital were she was a nurse.
    Half way thru here shift, her one eye pupil dilated really big and the other was normal size. On of her fellow nurses noticed this and the next thing, Sharon was down in the ER (now called ED, but I regress). They are thinking she was having some type of neurological episode.
    Turns out, that when she took off the patch, while she washed her hands (she has the cleanest hands in the world), there was some of the transdermal left on her finger and that was transferred to her contact lens when she put it in her eye. While it did not cause a problem medically, it was a shocker.
    Moral of the story, if you use the patch. Wash your hands and then wash them again, and again.
    Mike O’Malley

    This could sound a bit odd, but years ago we were told about using Ginger(the spice). We were on a cruise with a couple friends in the BVI – as we ventured outside The Sir Francis Drake Channel it got Real rough – and my wife and another passenger were not feeling the best. Within a couple minutes of dipping a wet finger into some powdered ginger, the reply by my wife was, “A beer sounds really good about now.” Certaintly couldn’t hurt to keep a little ginger on board.
    Tamara & Kim Ransom

    The patch is the way to go. Susan has used it for years and it works fine for her. Last weekend we took the Ft Jefferson Ferry out, 3-5′ seas with a few 7’s and 9′ to keep things rolling. Or as the Captain says “a little sporty”. 1/2 the boat was sic, she was fine.
    Get the patch, well worth it.
    Foster & Susan

    Has anyone tried Bonine? It is a small chewable that can easily be broken in half for little ones (mine used to get carsick). While it can be taken the night before, it works very quickly (within 30 minutes), even if you already feel nauseous. It does not cause drowsiness, either.
    I have also found that it works on land, too, when you feel like the room is still rocking after being aboard for a long time.
    Happy Travels!
    Bill and Kellirae

  • Recommended Medications to be Carried Onboard by Tony Pozun

    Once again we are indebted to Tony Pozun for sharing his years of experience as registered nurse, emergency medical technician and sailor with this list of basic medications to have onboard.

    Medications carried aboard
    Anthony Pozun, B.S., R.N.
    AHA CERTIFIED INST.
    NYS REGISTERED NURSE
    NYS CERTIFIED MASTER INSTRUCTOR
    FORMER/EMT/DSGT N.C.P.D. / INSTRUCTOR
    FORMER VOLUNTEER FD

    Meds dictated by those aboard, conditions, length of journey, size of the boat and other factors.

    LIST NOT FOR ALL: ONE SHOULD CONTACT HIS / HER DOCTOR FOR COMPLETE RECOMMENDED MEDICATIONS. Read More

    Lacerations
    Iodine, Beta dyne
    Alcohol preps
    4 x 4 in gauze
    Steristrips (stitching)
    Assorted band aids
    2in and 4in cotton rolls
    ½ in bandage tape
    Triple Antibiotic
    One pair scissors
    Tweezers, Forceps

    Sea Sickness
    Meclizine, Transderm Scop patch Bonine, Dramamine
    Wrist bands
    Ginger tablets, coke

    Allergic Reactions
    Epi Pen
    Oral Benadryl 25mg
    Claritin tabs
    Prednisone 20 mg tabs

    Infection
    Neosporin ointment

    Asthma attack
    albuteral inhaler

    Cough
    Delsuym or OTC
    Menthol cough drops

    Anti inflammatory
    Advil/Motrin ibuprofen
    Aleve

    Pain
    Tylenol extra /ADVIL

    Nasal congestion
    Afrin spray
    Sudafed tabs

    Minor burns, abrasions
    Bactine, Lanaicaine spray

    Stings, bites
    HydrocortisoneCalamine
    Ambesol

    Gastric/Diarrhea
    Pepsid, Mylanta,
    Imodium

    Fractures/contusions
    Triangular bandage
    Various splints
    bandage
    Assorted ace bandage

    Cardiac chest pain
    Aspirin 325 megs

    Cardiac patient /potential
    Ambu bag
    air mask
    Defibrillator
    Review

    Medications needed is determined by length and type of voyage and size of boat passengers type etc

    Always debrief your crew/ passengers as to what medications they are on and location of same

    Know what to do to give Meds and outcomes before hand ..

    Plan ahead have a plan

    Anthony Pozun

  • Sailing Injuries by Anthony Pozun

    Our sincere thanks to registered nurse and experienced sailor, Tony Pozun, for this very informative article on staying safe and healthy while on board.

    Sailing Injuries
    By Anthony Pozun, BS, RN.
    Anthony Pozun is a New York State registered professional nurse and former Detective Sgt., EMT, first aid basic and
    advanced courses’ instructor at the Nassau County police Academy. He is a current member and certified instructor for the United States power squadrons for sail and basic boating courses of instruction. He has been an avid boater and sailor for 50 years. He has sailed intensively on Long Island sound with his wife Barbara for the past 30 years. Read More

    He has traveled and sailed the East Coast including the Intracoastal Waterway from Northport to Florida and the Bahamas and back again. He currently sails a Catalina C 400 Mystical Paradise, sailboat set up for long-term cruising. He has written a previous article entitled “Medical Emergencies at Sea”, which has been published in many local and national boating periodicals.
    Sailing as a pastime, hobby or a full-time leisure activity, can be both fulfilling and enjoyable. A sailboat has many working parts necessary to convert wind into propulsion to use the sailboat. These many working parts need to be respected, and pre-lanning is essential in their usage. The many working parts and movement of these parts and the sailboat itself, can cause accidents, falls, collisions, which may lead to injury sometimes severe. But with a little bit of planning and forethought, before its usages, the sailboat and its many working parts, can be enjoyed without injury.
    This article will discuss the possible incidents and accidents, leading to injuries, and will give some suggestions for pre-planning, prevention, commonsense rules, on dealing with the many working parts of a sailboat to prevent injuries. Additionally at the end a basic primer on basic first aid including some of these of injuries will be discussed. These incidents include falling overboard, falling down hatches, falling, tripping on working lines and devices around the deck or cockpit. Hand and finger injuries as well as swinging boom injuries will be discussed. Running aground or hitting fixed objects will also be covered. Cooking aboard injuries, maintenance injuries, and seasickness although not a true injury, will be discussed. One overriding principle to be used to prevent accidents occurring, is to pre-plan in one owns mind what needs to be accomplished, how to do it, what can go wrong, how injury can be prevented.
    Little information from studies — are available on the amounts of overboard incidents occurring. We’ve all heard of some catastrophic details including deaths, from crew members falling overboard on large ocean type sailboat races such as the Fastnet disaster, or Volvo Ocean races. But persons can be swept overboard in the bay or sound just as easily. Being swept overboard is one of the most fatal type injury that can occur on a sailboat. But most overboard incidents can be avoided with the application of certain precepts. These include using a little common sense, some pre-planning caution and a thorough examination and assessment of one’s environment and surroundings. Put together this is all called prevention. The main thought of any person should be “ stay on the boat”,” stay on the boat”,” stay on the boat”. Asking oneself do I need to work on deck, what pitfalls are present, i.e. low or no lifelines, low free board, open transom, etc., that could lead to going overboard. All crew members working on the sailboat should at least wear a PFD, personal flotation device. A member alone on deck, at the helm, or a lone sailor, should always wear a PFD, with a safety harness and tether attached to the boat, because no one will see him or her being swept overboard. Mentally crew members or guests should obey the adage when moving about; “one hand for me, one hand for the boat”. They should move about low to the deck, slowly and purposely always keeping one hand attached to the boat. Because we cannot always prevent persons going overboard, certain safety equipment should be available on the sailboat. This may include main overboard poles, life rings, throw rings, float-able, cushions. A hoist, PFD’s with GPS locators, all items to assist retrieval of persons thrown overboard.
    Captains and their crew should practice man overboard drills to see how it’s done, to deal with any issues that arise, so in a real incident they know what to do. In these incidents, it is imperative that someone be given the job of observer. His focus is to keep an eye on the person in the water. To facilitate retrieval of the person, crew should slow the boat down by dropping sails, and then perform a Williamson turn, that is a series of s “s that turns the boat around, that allows boat to go back to retrieve person. Retrieval of the person can be accomplished with the use of ladders, davits, hoists, the boom, and crew members in the water as a last resort.
    Another serious incident is falling through open hatches and walkways. This can result in injuries ranging from
    contusions to serious fractures. Again a little prevention through pre-planning will help. The adage “one hand for me one hand the boat “must be observed. When moving about a moving or stationary boat one must move cautiously, slowly, and with purpose. Rushing about only causes injuries. Crew members or guests before sailing should study the locations of hatches, companion ways, and other openings which could cause a fall. Think before you move, move slowly, should be your mental condition. Owners of boats may mark those areas of danger with protective foam, and or highlight with bright colors or decals to warn others.
    A third incident that may occur is tripping and falling on deck and cockpit lines and many devices used in the course of sailing. These injuries include bruises, contusions and fractures to toes, feet, lower limbs and upper limbs from tripping and falling. Pre-planning and Prevention is the key to prevent these injuries. First, study your environment, know what can trap or trip you i.e. lines, cleats, blocks, winches, and many other devices which may bite. Always move slowly purposely keeping one hand for you one hand for the boat as your mantra. Always wear sturdy shoes, boat shoes or sneakers. Never move about the boat with sandals, Flip-flops, other loose footwear or barefoot. Think before you move, ask yourself is this necessary, and what can happen to me.
    A fourth type of incident which can lead to serious consequences is swinging boom accidents. The boom on a sailboat is constantly moving, is heavy and has a tremendous amount of force behind it. Injuries are many and include concussions to the head, injuries to the body and even being swept overboard. Crew members and passengers should always assess the possibility of being struck by the boom. Some prevention includes, not moving about, not standing up completely, and watching for accidental jibes or tacks which may cause accidental movement of the boom. Crew and guests should always listen to commands of the captain, during tacks and jibes, and only move about if it is necessary as part of their job. Before moving, think of what the task is, stay low, move slowly and purposely, again keeping the adage “one hand for me one for the boat.”
    Another incident which can cause serious injury is hitting another object, boat, fixed dock etc. or sandbar, which
    causes immediate stoppage of the boat. In these situations persons may be thrown about. Injuries occurring from this include contusions, abrasions, fractures, concussions and many worse. Pre-planning and prevention is the key to preventing these type of injuries. Always know where your boat is, what are my depths, where are the hazards I may encounter. Common sense and pre-planning must be used at all times to control the direction and motion of the boat. Captains and crew must constantly be observant for these hazards and prepare to avoid them. Use of charts, maps, radar or sonar if available, previous knowledge or information should be diligently applied. If there is ever a question or unknown information which causes a dangerous condition, captain or crew should immediately slow or stop the boat, reassesses the situation and if necessary contact, via radio persons that know the area and may help. The Coast Guard, Tow Boat US, Sea Tow, Harbormasters, or even local commercial fisherman are persons with a wealth of information about local areas unfamiliar to the boater. The Avoiding any object should be the main focus of a crew member or the captain.
    Because sailboats often cruise long-distance and days, we conduct our lives accordingly which includes cooking food. But because we are on a sometimes moving object, cooking on a boat is not like cooking at home on a steady platform. Because of movement of boat, hot water, steam, flames, may move, surfaces may move, items may shift resulting in burns, cuts from knives, or appliances, injuries to body from movement. Preplanning and prevention may help: know your environment; are there possible splashes of hot fluids, loose items, sharp edges, that will hurt me. Cruising crew should always think of what they are going to do, secure loose items, obtain necessary tools before they start. Always know the limits and capacities of cooking systems, danger or flame, spillage possibilities and other things that may injure. They should always know the location of emergency gas shutoff switches, fire extinguishers, and procedures of what to do in case of fire. Again they should move slowly purposely and obey the adage one hand for me one hand for the boat. If cooking underway, person in galley should use available handholds and or be tied in to secure locations so as to prevent falls.
    Seasickness although not a true injury, is an illness that can cause much dismay pain and discomfort as to ruin the crew members or guest day and/or trip. Often called motion sickness, mal de mar, “I want to die syndrome”, and many other terms, it can be a wrenching illness. It is caused by one’s brain and central nervous system receiving conflicting signals from the inner ear and the eyes. It can occur out on the ocean or on a calm day in a bay with devastating results. The symptoms may include: dizziness; nausea; vomiting; painful stomach; balance problems; feeling of movement when there is none. Prevention before the onset of seasickness is perhaps the only cure. Medically there are medications and devices which may be taken including, Bonine Meclizine, Benadryl and others. Accu bands which create pressure on key pressure points on the wrist, have been known to prevent seasickness also. Avoiding heavy greasy meals before or during sailing, avoiding caffeine drinks, and avoiding those foods which is known in the past to cause sickness will help. While on board sit in the middle of the boat, keep your eyes open on the water and boat, keep busy if possible, hydrate with water, ginger ale, cola syrup, eat ginger cookies, saltines etc. Do not go below. Sometimes sleep can cure the illness. Often the only cure may be to get oneself on dry land. In any event prevention before the onset seems to be the most diligent cure.
    Because a sailboat as many working systems, maintenance is necessary. Performing maintenance can cause a myriad
    of injuries if not thought out ahead of time. First know your limitations is this a job I can do for myself or left to professionals. Know your equipment engine parts and other moving parts i.e. blocks, lines, winches, electrical, booms. Moving or standing rigging can catch or hit body parts, causing simple to massive injuries. If there be a choice of working on Dynamic versus Stagnant machinery systems, working on stagnant, non-moving or non-charged systems is always preferred: Hands or other body parts may get caught in a moving engine; The charged Electrical system may cause serious burns; Rigging under load (which has tremendous release force capabilities) will cause serious injuries. Pre-planning safety, includes making sure these systems are all shut down and not under load. Make a plan, move slowly and purposely. Have all tools available/ think before acting. Use extreme caution if it is necessary to work on Dynamic, moving or charged systems, i.e. engine adjustments, electrical adjustments, rigging and sailing repairs. When working on boat on dry land be sure ladders are safe and secured to the boat. Be particularly slow and cautious on ladders, move slowly and cautiously as falls from heights to the ground may be catastrophic. Author note ugggh
    Some basic first aid, certainly not everything.
    1. Attend to severe bleeding first. To stop bleeding use clean gauze, apply direct pressure to wound; elevate wound
    above the heart; apply pressure to pressure points (brachial inside of bicep, femoral inside of thigh);apply tourniquet just above wound***used only as a last resort. (Only used when if bleeding continues, person will die immediately)
    2. Cardiac arrest /cessation of breathing/ call for immediate help, remember ABC
    A Airway, clear airway of obstruction person on back /chin lift
    B Breathing, listen and look chest movement if none- start mouth to mouth
    C Circulation, lack of heartbeat- perform chest compressions
    3. Wounds with impaled objects or embedded glass/ do not remove object, cover with clean gauze, wrap loosely, do not apply any heavy ointment/crème. Clean wounds/ close wounds if possible, wrap to stop bleeding, keep immobilized, and keep out dirt.
    4. Eye wounds/ protect eye keep out sun cover with gauze patch, do not cause pressure.
    5. Bruises Contusions sprains/ apply ice immediately, ace bandage to immobilize, put no pressure on joint limb etc., and limit movement
    6. Fractures/ Dislocations/ immobilize limb/ splint limb in place as found (never reset bone/ limb) use gauze cover to stop any bleed.
    7. Burns/ if slight soak in cold water. Skin broken cover same with gauze (air hurts) do not apply ointment or cream, treat for shock (elevate feet)
    8. Fainting spells/ have person lie down elevate feet. Monitor /watch breathing.
    9. Heat poisoning and heat stroke/ remove from sun/heat, cool off slowly, give water sparingly
    10. Ingested poisons substances/ give copious amounts of water; induce vomiting only if ingested substances are nonacid (may burn on way out).
    11. Stings bites imbedded small objects spines/ clean area remove stinger or hook apply antibiotic/Ambesol, cover with clean gauze /band aid.
    13. Water Hypothermia- remove person from water immediately. Remove wet clothing cover with space blanket or dry
    blanket. Re heat body slowly warm (not hot wrapping), warm liquids Monitor vitals, TX for shock.
    14. Shock- from loss of blood to brain/ other trauma–. Have person lie down elevate feet monitor all vitals watch
    especially for breathing. Give o 2 as needed.
    15. Head injuries concussions –treat open wounds as above. Have person lie down, check and monitor vitals, closely
    continue to monitor breathing and vitals. Get immediate help.
    Whether it be day sailing in the bay or cruising on the coast, sailing is an adventure. But it is a working adventure with an environment of many moving parts and systems. These working dynamic systems must be respected and
    worked with. The sailor must constantly assess and reassess his surroundings and actions to those surroundings for
    to ignore may lead to serious injury and more. But Sailing can be rewarding and absent of accidents and incidents if sailors take some time in preparation and planning. Having a plan for the day’s sail, and tasks that need to be done safely, will result in no incidents or injuries. Planning in advance and having a plan will always reduce risk. Boat preparation as well as crew preparation and planning is essential. Where all else is done, certain actions will cause certain consequences and sailor whether crew or guests must be trained and or prepared to take necessary action because of those consequences. Having a plan, knowing and using known safe techniques, using common sense approaches, analyzing tasks and moving slowly, will insure a safe and happy voyage. This works for the big ocean sailor, as well as the small day sailor in the sound or bay. Fair winds and safe sailing to all…
    Tony Pozun, author
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