Sailing 101 | How to Prepare for a Sailing Trip

Men on a sailboat
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Stepping away from the hustle and bustle of the city on a sailboat can be a wonderful experience. The isolation from society and the clear starry sky are just a few of the best benefits of a sailing trip. As fun as they can be, these trips can also be dangerous.

A comprehensive checklist for going sailing besides knowing what clothes and entertainment to pack for your trip, is an absolute necessity, as you decide on what things you need to take and need to check before setting off. 

A Comprehensive Checklist for Going Sailing

While keeping entertainment and all your favorite foods and snacks is essential, you also need to check various aspects of your sailboat. From the hull to the engine and the emergency kit, here is a comprehensive checklist of things to inspect before going sailing.

Boatims Sailing trip

Check If You Have the Right Fire Extinguishers

There are multiple types of fire extinguishers, each of which you must use when putting out a different type of fire. If your boat already has a fire extinguisher, you should check to see if it is not expiring soon or has expired.

See If Your Checklist for Going Sailing Has Flares in It

Flares are another essential thing to add to your sailing boat since they could be the only way to call for help. The type of flare is not important, as long as you can use it to send out a distress signal. This can include parachutes, meteor, or regular flares. 

Sufficient Fuel

While the primary way you will be going about your trip is by sailing, the onboard motor is still useful. Even if you will not be using it as often, you should carry some fuel just in case. 

Spare Hose Clamps

Always keep spare hose clamps with you if the ones on your sailboat break. Ideally, you want to keep one of each size on your sailboat in case of an emergency. If you plan to go away for a longer trip, you should carry two or even three of each hose clamp size.

A Comprehensive First Aid Kit

You should also have a big first aid kit containing various essential medications like seasickness meds, sleeping meds, painkillers, bandage wraps, and antibacterial cream. These things can be very effective in dealing with minor aches, scratches, and other ailments at sea. 

Check Your Propane Gas Stock

Propane gas tanks should be a part of your checklist for going sailing. While it might be quite obvious, people can often understock on gas tanks, leaving them stranded and with no means to cook food. Try to use one propane tank at a time to avoid reckless use.

Check the Horn 

Another important thing to consider is the horn and if it works. Federal government provisions specifically state that every boat should have a horn when out in the water. Even if you don’t have a built-in horn, an air horn can suffice.

Test the Dinghy or Inflatable Raft 

A dingy or inflatable raft can be essential in emergencies, allowing passengers to escape. If you have a dingy tied to the back of the boat, make sure you strap it in tight. If you have an inflatable one, learn to use it before stepping on the boat.

Check for Leaks in the Hull or Fuel Tank

Before you unload your vessel into the water, you should check the hull for cracks. If you’re not careful, your ship could slowly sink. Furthermore, gas is rare, so make sure it doesn’t leak from anywhere and that the cap is airtight.

Check if the Seacocks and Thru Hulls are Working Properly 

Seacocks and the thru hulls need to work properly for the boat to keep running. Check the hoses connecting the seacocks and thru hulls to see if they are well-fitted and in good condition.

Check the Steering and Shift Mechanisms

Seeing if the steering and shift mechanisms for your boat are working properly is an important addition to your checklist when going sailing. Make sure that they are responding accurately and not making driving more difficult.

Dry and Clean Bilges 

A thru hull is responsible for taking water out from the side of the deck. If some of that water doesn’t make it through, it goes to the bilges. Use a bilges pump periodically to clear out any water that gathers inside.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Should You Know before Sailing?

Before going sailing, you should know how a sailboat works, learn important terminology, and do research on your destination. The research you do should also include understanding weather conditions on your trip, the draft and direction of the wind, and finally, the tide. Even if you are not sailing the boat, you can be a valuable part of the crew if things go wrong.

Young man sailing yacht steering wheel vacation sail holidays people travel

How to Eat Healthy while Sailing?

Focus on eating as little processed food as possible since it doesn’t provide as much, if any, nutrition. Include plenty of vegetables and fruits in your diet to get pure nutrients and always try to have some protein when having a meal.

Do Sailboats Tip Over?

Although the chances of it happening under the control of a well-trained captain are low, a sailboat can tip over. Unfortunately, as it happens frequently enough, you should consider it a possibility and have a plan in case it occurs.

How Do You Prepare for a Sailing Trip?

You can prepare for a sailing trip by first inspecting the boat itself and all its components like the hull, steering, shift, and engine.

Before heading out to sea this season, don't forget to follow the steps of our comprehensive sailing checklist to know all the things you should inspect, be ready in case of an emergency, and even avoid accidents.

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