Sailing on the water in Atlantic Canada is one of the most pleasurable things you can do. It's a different world out on the water. There is something about the freedom and relaxation that comes with boating, and you don't have to be concerned with all the things that are happening onshore. However, if you are just beginning, these 9 sailing ti[s can help you get off to a safe start.
1. Take lessons first: Maybe you know someone that is experienced with sailing. Learn all you can from this person. IF you have no one to learn from, consider taking lessons. Before you start lessons, take the time to study basic terms you will be dealing with. For example, port is left and starboard is right, when looking at the bow (front) of the boat.
2. If possible, rent your first sailboat: This gives you a "try before you buy" advantage. Plus, you'll know exactly what you like and how much boat you can handle. In addition, you should rent something small with just one sail. This is the best way to get accustomed to sailing.
3. Write out a safety checklist and bring it with you: Don't forget to include proper flotation devices, and if you are boating alone, let someone else know where you are going and how long you plan to be out on the water. Here is what a standard checklist might look like:
- Lifejackets (within easy reach)
- Flotation Devices
- Horn or emergency sound maker
- Signal Flares
- Fire Extinguisher
- Check navigation lights
4. Be a good swimmer: You never know when you will need this skill, but if you are not an excellent swimmer, now is the time to improve your skills. Maybe you can't swim a stroke. You really should take swimming lessons as soon as you can. They are not expensive and just may save your life or the lives of others some day.
5. Bring sufficient clothing: When the water is cold, it will not take long for hypothermia to set in, so make sure you have warm clothes with you.
6. Check out the weather beforehand: It's very important to see what kind of wave and wind conditions you can expect. This will have a big influence on your sailing.
7. If the weather is rough, consider postponing your trip: Getting used to sailing will take all of your concentration and if you add bad weather to the equations, it may be more than you can handle.
8. Check out the engine: Yes, some larger sailboats have engines onboard. They are an excellent way to ensure you won't have any problems. Engines are a good idea for a couple reasons:
- Suppose the wind dies down and you are a long ways from shore. All you have to do is start up the motor and you can be on your way home.
- You'll have a backup means of propulsion in case something happens to the sail system
9. Bring plenty of water or sports drinks with you: Remember, you can't drink saltwater as it will dehydrate your body.