Captains: Preparing your yacht passengers for an emergency
January 15th, 2008 | By: admin | | No Comments
Whether you are headed off for an extended voyage or just an afternoon of yachting, you need to introduce safety procedures to your passengers.
You should give the safety talk and tour as soon as everyone is aboard. Some of the yacht charter companies have made DVDs for their passengers to watch while on the cruise. As a private yacht owner, you don't need to go to that extreme, but you do need to point out a few important things that your guests should know.
<h2>What yachting safety procedures to cover before embarking</h2>
<li>Point out the location of the life jackets</li>
<li>Point out the flotation devices and explain their use in case of a MOB situation</li>
<li>Point out the location of fire extinguishers</li>
<li>Point out the storage area for medical equipment</li>
<li>Point out the radio and give a short demonstration its use</li>
<li>Describe the use of the red emergency button on the DSC</li>
<li>Give a tour of the steering station with an overview of its operation</li>
<li>Tell them if they are unsure about operating the vessel, use the radio to call for help</li>
<li>Explain that the radio is more useful than using a cell phone.</li>
The radio broadcasts a signal that may be heard by other boats in the area as well as the Coast Guard. Nearby boaters can offer faster assistance. If using a cell phone, dial 911. (<i>Note</i>: CG is no longer a valid way to contact the Coast Guard except in Alaskan waters)
<h2>Declare a man overboard (MOB) drill</h2>
On an extended trip, you should have an apprentice operator and one, or preferably more, people with a current first aid card including CPR. The Red Cross now offers First Aid On the Water courses. These classes include how to deal with the most common boating injuries. They also cover extended care for victims or patients offshore when no EMS personnel are immediately available. Some yacht clubs are teaming up with the Red Cross to offer these classes. Check out your club's offerings or suggest they offer the classes, if they don't have any scheduled.
Good planning can prevent loss of life and vessel. In May of 2004 Nainoa Thompson, captain of the Hokule'a, suffered a back injury when he fell against the end of a thick wooden rail. His brother-in-law, master sailor Bruce Blakenfield held a crew meeting and reviewed Thompson's condition. Complicating the situation was the possibility of broken ribs, which could puncture Thompson's remaining lung causing a life-threatening emergency. Blakenfield decided to have the twin-hulled craft towed by an escort yacht, because it would take too long to sail into the wind to reach the harbor.
"This is something we're prepared for, something we plan for. There are procedures for every emergency down the line," Blankenfield said. "Here we are, implementing the procedures." It went even more smoothly than anyone expected. Those who knew the radio called for help while others steered the craft. The trip had to be revised, but everyone arrived safely and Thompson recovered.
Others haven't been so lucky. All that remains of the Yacht Ouzo and the three men aboard is the tender.
Have a good time on your yachting excursions. Knowing that everyone on board is prepared for any emergency will allow you to have a good time and enjoy your guests and your yacht.
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