If you plan to get away on a long trip on your boat, you must prepare well in advance to ensure your safety and comfort. Just like a land trip, you have to ensure the condition on your sailing vessel, as well as pack a few essentials.
Here’s how to prepare for a long sailing trip.
- Determine your course and when you are going. Choose a season and route where you will be unlikely to encounter bad weather. Plot out your course well in advance and check forecasts to ensure you’ll have clear skies along the way. Once you determine your voyage plans, let someone trusted know where you are going.
- Assess the condition of your boat. Make sure there are no problems with your boat, no matter how small. Check the engine, sails and hull of your ship. The communication, satellite, heating, cooling, refrigeration, plumbing and all water systems should all be working. Bring a two way radio and other means of back up communication. Don’t forget your binoculars and course map.
- Get your crew ready. Depending on the size of your ship and your skill level, you may need to bring some help along. You must have a captain (which can be yourself). If you are taking along more than one person, make sure that the crew gets along and works well together. Captain’s instructions must be followed immediately and without question, especially in critical situations. You must practice emergency drills with your crew so everyone knows what to do.
- Stock up on your supplies. You will need to bring a lot of non perishable food. Pack some meat, fruit and vegetables that will last you till your first port of call. You can always buy fresh food and more supplies when you reach a port. Aside from food and water, you must bring an emergency first aid kit and life jackets for the number of people onboard. Pack an emergency inflatable lifeboat. Bring a fire extinguisher and some tools and other equipment such as extra gasoline that you will need to ensure your safety in case you need to make quick repairs or refuel.
- Pack your bags. Pack light since you can always purchase more. Bring vitamins, prescription medicine, a hat, towels, sunglasses, lightweight clothing, a lot of sunblock and your toiletries. Bring laundry detergent.
- If you are licensed to carry one, it is wise to pack along a gun. You need a way to protect yourself from pirates and any other dangerous elements out at sea.
- Pack things for your entertainment. Prepare your scuba or snorkeling gear if you plan to go out in the water. Bring along reading material.
- Make sure someone will handle your business affairs while you are away. Contact the post office to hold your mail. Pay your bills online or set up automatic payment systems. Have a trusted person check on your home for the duration of your trip. Keep in contact with this person while you are away.
Proper preparation will help ensure everything goes smoothly during your sailing trip. Bon voyage!