There are always lots of things to consider before travelling overseas so some of these tips will help you pack and stay stafe.
Whether you are booking a cabin charter, or your own bareboat, we want to ensure that you have an unforgettable and safe trip. As a result of the adventurous nature of sailing holidays, to avoid any unnecessary accidents we advise you to read the following carefully.
Life jackets: It is compulsory to know where your life jacket/personal floatation device (PFD) is located, how to put it on and how to adjust it. Your life jacket/PFD is stored under your bed board or in the cupboard of your cabin – please verify this and ask your captain if it is not there. It is not necessary to wear your life jacket/PFD when underway unless you wish to do so or the captain tells you put it on. All life jackets/PFD's need to be located in your cabin and tried on before leaving the first harbor. If you need assistance, your skipper or crew will be happy to help you.
Flares: All yachts are equipped with flares for use in emergencies only. You can ask your skipper to show you where the flares are stored and how to use them if you would like to know more about this.
Emergency life raft: All yachts are equipped with emergency life rafts to accommodate the maximum number of passengers on the yacht. Life rafts are either stored forward on deck or in stern lazarettes. Your yacht is also equipped with a dinghy and outboard engine. You may ask your skipper about the abandon ship procedure if you would like to know more about this.
First aid kit: All yachts are equipped with a first aid kit. You can ask your skipper to show you where the first aid kit is stored.
Person overboard: If you see someone fall overboard there are 4 steps you must follow:
1. Alert the crew.
2. Administer a flotation device (horseshoe buoys are located at the stern of all vessels).
3. Point towards the victim - never loosing eye contact with the victim.
4. Assist the crew in turning the yacht around to retrieve the victim.
Deck shoes: There are many cleats and fittings on the deck that can damage feet and break toes. Guests are advised to wear deck or canvas shoes to avoid injury especially when underway and docking.
Companionway: Always use the companionway (the stairs going into the boat) like a ladder and descend backwards holding both sides of the ladder. Falling down the companionway can result in serious injury.
Gangplank: It can be tricky disembarking on the gangplank if there is swell in the harbor. Always ask for help if you need it. Do not remain midway on a gangplank. The gangway is not a diving or spring board, so always step off never jump off. The gangplank should always be raised up off the wharf when not in use as it may get damaged if left in place.
Hatches: Hatches must be firmly closed with handles turned a full 90° while underway. If they are not 90°closed water will get into your cabin. Your cabin hatches are your own responsibility. Ask your crew for assistance if you are having a problem closing them. In the warm climate, hatches are often open at night so be aware when walking around the deck.
Ferry wake: There are large ferries and other vessels in Mediterranean waters that cause yachts at anchor to rock. Ensure you are seated or holding onto something when the yacht rolls.
Taking a watch: When/if you decide to take a watch (steer the yacht), you are responsible for the rest of the crew members lives as you are 'watching out' for them. Taking a watch is a very important job and must be taken very seriously. You must look out for other vessels large and small, as well as objects in the water. You must also watch your distance off shore. The yacht travels relatively straight through the water but the coastline is never straight so this must be monitored at all times. Inform the skipper of the yacht if you have any concerns while on watch.
Winches: When sailing the lines in the cockpit, such as the main sheet and the genoa sheets (that are wrapped around a winch) are under extreme tension. They must be properly cleated off. Do not sit on lines that are in use when sailing. Ask your skipper to demonstrate proper cleating of a line.
Swimming: Never swim alone without letting other crewmembers know. There are few dangers in Mediterranean waters, but watch out for high speed inflatables and other boats and beware of sea urchins which have sharp spines and live on rocks close to shore. Also watch for ferry or vessel swell that rolls into bays and can push you against rocks or make the yacht's stern and ladder lift and drop violently. If this occurs swim away from the yacht and wait a few moments for the waves to pass.
Smoking: Smoking is a fire hazard and annoyance to other guests and is not permitted below deck. If you wish to smoke, you should do this off the yacht when in harbor, or at the stern of the yacht downwind from any other guests, when underway. Cigarette butts should be disposed of appropriately and not thrown in the sea or on the ground.
Yachts do not have a large amount of storage space so travel light! We recommend that you travel with a small soft sports bag with rigid bottom and wheels or a good quality backpack. Hard suitcases with wheels are difficult to store. Mini-cruise vessels do have a little more storage in each cabin, but it is still best not to over pack!