Sailing and Motorboating

Always wear an appropriate lifejacket or buoyancy aid and make sure you have a means of calling and signalling for help within reach.

Sailing or motorboating is great fun to enjoy with friends and family, but things can go wrong. Engines can fail, the weather can turn suddenly and accidents can happen. It’s important that you’re prepared, just in case. 

In 2015, RNLI lifeboats were called out 1,217 times to motorboats in trouble in UK and Irish waters. The largest single cause of callouts was due to machinery failure.

Here are some top tips to enjoy sailing or motorboating safely:

  • Always wear an appropriate lifejacket or buoyancy aid unless it is safe not to do so.
  • Always have a means of calling and signalling for help.
  • Ensure there is an emergency action plan in place and everybody has had an appropriate onboard briefing (in particular on the location and use of the safety equipment, including the spare kill cord for powerboats).
  • Undertake the appropriate level of training for your craft.
  • Always check the weather and tide times.
  • Make sure someone ashore knows where you are going and who to call if you don’t return on time.
  • Always drive your boat at a speed that is appropriate to the weather conditions and to the environment that you are operating within.
  • You can find suitable courses and qualifications by visiting RYA (UK), and ISA (Ireland), the governing bodies for recreational boating.

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