Prepared to depart…..maybe not
Lennie and I have been boating for a long time. Sixty years between the two of us. We had all the experience necessary to safely navigate, sail, maintain, and enjoy every vessel we owned. After completing our 12,000-mile voyage from Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco and back, we set our sights on some longer distance cruising and decided to take an ocean sailing seminar put on by the World Cruising Club. At this seminar they recommended the US Sailing Safety at Sea seminar. We thought some extra learning for the sport we loved made sense. We signed up and planned our trip to New York. Most of the planning was about what hotel to stay at and where we were going to eat every meal and the best bars for Rose’ time. We received an email about 30 days before the course that said for the certificate we needed to complete an online course with about 120 videos and 10 quiz’s followed by a 100 question final exam. We dug in and started watching the videos and within a few hours of study we came to the realization that we were not prepared for any emergency at sea even though we had most of the gear. The reason was we had no training. Both in general and with our specific gear. This great safety at sea program changes all that. It demystifies all you thought about life rafts, man overboard, life jackets, fires, sinking, health emergencies and all the other things that can go terribly wrong while on your boat offshore (or near shore for that mater).
Hands on and Hang on
Once you finish the online course you are raring to go to the hands-on training day and it’s a full day – from 7:45 AM to 5:30 PM. This course gets you up close and personal with firefighters, Coast Guard rescue swimmers, safety experts, medical professionals and every one of them is answering your questions as they teach you how to use your gear in live situations. As you will see in our brief overview video, this is an exciting and fun day that will make you wonder how this isn’t required for anybody that buys or wants to pilot a vessel. I am typically for “less government” but I have changed my tune on this one. We made seatbelt wearing the law, but we let anyone buy a 50-foot yacht and sail/power away with family and friends with no license or training required.
It doesn’t stop there
Now comes the hard part. We are committing to each other and our crew to make safety training and education part of our boating routine and we will start with safety drills on our new cat as soon as its ready. We will stay fresh and focused on what to do on OUR boat in various emergencies and continue our training. You will see it in future videos.
Now the only thing I would ask US Sailing to change is the use of young good-looking active duty Coast Guard helicopter pilots and rescue swimmers. Lennie couldn’t wait to get in the pool with them.
We hope you enjoy this overview video of the safety at sea course and if you own a boat please sign up for one near you. I am worried about your safety!