10 sailing tips for this summer season
Summer's nearly here. Read our tips for a safe boating excursion and enjoy the pleasures of sailing at sea! Wishing you all a great summer!
Before setting sail…
- Pay attention to weather reports by subscribing to forecasts from APRIL Marine's Weather Service, accessible from your customer space on the website or by consulting with the harbor master.
- While aboard, be sure to carefully store all administrative documents (proof of insurance, navigation chart, etc.).
- Verify that the safety equipment is in order (first-aid kit, life jackets, flares, etc.). All your crew members must know where these items are stored and how they operate to ensure quick and efficient use if needed. With APRIL Marine Maintenance, feel free to request a safety preparedness inspection.
- Be equipped with reliable VHF radio communications and verify its operability. This way, you'll be able to contact harbor masters, notify the CROSS Coordination Center, speak with responders and be tracked for rescue. If you're not equipped, dial "196" on your cell phone to notify rescuers in case of distress.
- Always keep onboard in a survival kit: beverages, food, medicine and protective clothing.
- Take one last look at the map and weather forecast before casting off, to stay aware of any abrupt meteorological variations, and gain familiarity with your planned navigation itinerary.
- Inquire about local conditions. Establish contact with the harbor master.
- Verify the fuel level and condition of onboard equipment. Remember to regularly update your online maintenance log, which can be accessed free of charge from your customer space on the website, and visit the shopping space for your orders; you'll be offered special discounts.
Tip: think about contacting the harbor master at your destination location to learn about availability at that port.
If you have a Horizon or Néréide policy, Nina will handle this task for you.
- Test the tire pressure, the functionality of blinkers and hubs; also lubricate the bearings
- Make sure the boat is securely clamped onto the trailer. The hull must rest on all rollers.
- Refer to our article entitled "Does your mooring comply with regulations?". We recommend using the Quickflex tool, you'll benefit from a 20% discount with APRIL Marine!
Tip: We recommend that you avoid filling your boat with fuel before transporting it on the road. The extra fuel increases total weight, perhaps causing you to exceed the authorized gross weight.
While at sea…
- While on the open seas, should your vessel not have priority, you'll need to perform avoidance maneuvers and deviate from the trajectory. Otherwise, maintain your course and speed while staying vigilant.
- Avoid brushing up against trap buoys, signaled by various floating objects (cylindrical floating markers, different types of bottles), which are tied to the traps. They constitute a hazard for propeller shafts and rudders.
Tip: When anchoring or mooring, keep in mind the clearance circle in order to avoid colliding with other boats.
- Familiarity with one's boat and the surrounding marine environment (rocks, shallow waters) is essential. We strongly advise learning to use your depth finder and systematically consulting the tidal schedules.
Tip: The risk of bottom contact is higher for sailboats with a deep draft. Show extreme caution when sailing along the coastline, where sea beds may vary.
- Scuba diving : Take diving classes at a club training center and never practice on your own. Always be accompanied by someone capable of performing a rescue.
- Water skiing and similar activities : Respect the rule of "2 people aboard": one driving the boat, the other watching the skier(s).
Tip: Don't forget to raise the appropriate flag corresponding to the sport you're practicing: diving = red flag; water skiing = orange flag.
- You are required to wear a life jacket and have a boating license.
- Maintain safe distances: pass at least 100 meters from fishing lines and any craft indicating the presence of divers.
Tip: Share the water and avoid passing too close to other boaters and swimming zones.
- It is mandatory to wear a harness and to turn on the high-beam lights between sunset and sunrise.
- Remain vigilant of the distances, speeds and trajectories of other vessels
Tip: Before nightfall, we recommend that you organize your boat and prepare all the necessary safety equipment. And don't forget your flashlight.
Be sure to read the section "Regulations / Mandatory onboard safety equipment," as well as the safety checklist.
- Reminder: a new maritime regulation was issued on 1st May 2015 to establish consistency between current rescue and communication resources (CROSS) and the technical regulations governing boats according to different navigation zones.
- Contact rescue services via Channel 16 on your VHF device. Otherwise, dial "196" on your cell phone.
And another thing...
Wearing a life jacket must be a systematic reflex. Verify that all your life jackets have been fitted with a light indicator (in accordance with the new 1st May 2015 regulation). Do you go boating with the whole family? During tricky sailing maneuvers, remember to keep children inside the craft.
Do you go boating with the whole family? During tricky sailing maneuvers, remember to keep children inside the craft.
It's always better to have several experienced hands on deck. Should crew members lack the appropriate skills, show them how to stop the vessel (heave to), drop anchor, use the onboard radio, and transmit a distress signal (SOS).
Stay onboard: never leave your boat as long as it's afloat. Should a problem arise, the boat can be located much more easily than someone in the water.
Tip: Portable VHF devices are now in widespread use (no need for a Restricted Radio-Telephone Operator Certificate). Take advantage of this change to procure a device. Practice using it outside of emergency situations in order to gain the appropriate skills should an emergency occur.
After returning to shore...
- Rinse your motor and all onboard equipment with freshwater.
Tip: Regular maintenance of your boat is essential to preserving its value.
As an APRIL Marine customer, you'll be provided a maintenance log for your boat free of charge and easily accessible in your customer space on the website. Log-in now to enter updates.
- • Be respectful of the environment: do not throw your waste into the sea and keep all refuse until you return to the dock.
Tip: Ask your harbor master about the best practices to be an eco-responsible boater.