Most accidents at sea are caused through carelessness and inefficiency, and seldom through stress of weather or the caprice of the elements. A well found yacht handled by an efficient crew will rarely run into serious trouble but it must be equipped with the proper safety gear and equipment. All crew members must know where each item of safety equipment is, and how, and in what circumstances, to operate it.
Extinguishers should be of the dry powder type, and should be located at exits, cooker and engine compartments.
Two lifebuoys with sea anchors should be provided, located near the cockpit so that they can be easily removed and used in an emergency. At least one of the buoys should be equipped with a safety light, and this should be checked daily. A danbuoy on a line attached to one of the buoys is an additional safeguard.
A self inflating life-raft is carried on deck in an easily accessible position, with the painter firmly secured to a strong point on the yacht. All crew members of the crew must be familiar with the drill for launching the life-raft.
One lifejacket for each member of the crew is provided on board. It must be worn by all non-swimmers when on deck, and by all hands at the skippers discretion, when abandoning to the life-raft and when going into the dinghy.
On the principle that prevention is better than cure, a safety harness is probably more important than a lifejacket. It should be fitted individually and be made ready for use at all times, and be worn by clipping on in heavy weather, especially when moving forward out of the cockpit. Safety harnesses will always be used at night and any crew member who is seasick is to be clipped on for his own safety.
Flares should be securely stored in a dry place where there is no danger of accidental ignition or deterioration through damp. All members of the crew should be familiar with the operation of the flares.
All yachts carry two hand operated bilge pumps, one in the cockpit and one below decks, this is in addition to any other type of pump. The bilge pumps should be checked for efficient operation before departure, checks must also be made to ensure that any limber holes are clear for the passage of bilge water.
A lung operated fog horn is provided. One short blast is a sufficient check for correct operation.
First Aid Kit
Every yacht is equipped with a first aid kit. Hints on first aid afloat are in a later Chapter of this handbook.