Traveling by Boat: How to master it and avoid risks 

Traveling by Boat: How to master it and avoid risks 

Traveling by boat is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and nothing feels more freeing than being in full control of your boat. Plus, you can carry as much luggage as you need, so you’ll have anything you need to enjoy your trip fully.

Before embarking, make sure you take everything you need to enhance safety. A boat without the right equipment is like a hospital without the right doctors. You can never ensure its utmost safety. So, before you get the sails up, get the right equipment from

Leading your boat properly requires strength and planning. That’s because you’re limited in fuel, and land might be farther away than you can swim to reach a safe space. Plus, boat travel isn’t necessarily secure, especially when getting to places flagged as dangerous. You also must be aware of territorial waters and maritime exclusion zones.

Besides dealing with these concerns, you must learn to enjoy your alone time on the boat and have fun. Here are our tips on mastering boat trips!

Take your time with planning

Don’t rush to make plans. Otherwise, you’ll forget something important. Outlining the routes you plan on taking and devising a backup plan is the most important for your safety. Moreover, you must ensure that all tools, supplies, foods, clothing and other essentials make it to the boat. So, develop a thorough plan a few months in advance; a checklist could help you get everything in place.

Consider the safety of the places you plan on passing through. Around Europe, many areas are highly traversed, which increases security levels. However, you might be surprised to find sites not registered on a map in some remote areas.

Some of the best places for sailing around the EU include some of the following:

  • The Dalmatian Coast in Croatia has clear seas and excellent sailing areas;
  • Corsica in France is more suitable for experienced skippers due to weather conditions, but it is undoubtedly an extraordinary location;
  • The Ionian Islands in Greece have the ideal weather conditions for sailing, with predictable water and wind activity;

Territorial zones

Territorial zones are unauthorized areas where you might not enter. Usually, these borders are properly signaled, and you can tell whether you can get in. Learning about the laws of the sea will help you gain insight into what zones are prohibited and what aren’t. Regulations also include speed limits, laws regarding alcohol on the water or the required safety equipment.

Another thing you must be careful of is piracy, which can be easier to perform while on the sea, so you must be prepared. Along with armed robbery, some individuals might request unlawful payments for anchorage.

Ensure your boat is in excellent condition

After getting an idea of your ideal boating trip, it’s time to prepare your boat. Of course, start with getting a little check-up by a professional to see if your outboard motor is still functioning and if other fixtures are needed. You should also check the following:

  • The water pump should be in excellent condition to discharge water from the motor. Otherwise, the cooling system will overheat, and the engine will be destroyed;
  • The batteries should continue to hold a charge, and it would be best to keep them topped with distilled water;
  • The oil color should also be checked ―black-looking oil indicates the need for change, while a milky oil might signal a serious issue;
  • The hull also needs maintenance, so check if the bung plugs fit securely, the navigation lights and bilge pumps;

It’s always good to have a backup plan, so carrying a Honda outboard motor is a great idea if you want to rest assured during your trip that you won’t be left alone in the middle of the sea. Still, try avoiding getting too many things on the boat.

Equip the vessel with the necessary items

Before embarking, make sure you take everything you need to enhance safety. Some of these things include the following:

  • A life jacket and wearable personal flotation device (PFD) for you and your passengers; animals should also wear them for better protection;
  • A throwable flotation device, such as a cushion or a ring buoy. These are necessary if you travel with someone;
  • Fire extinguishers are essential. Depending on the type of boat you have, you may need at least one B-1 type or one B-2 type model;
  • Visual signalling devices, such as flares or night-time signals, are required, so use those with orange or white smoke and aerial light flares;
  • Sound signalling devices are necessary for fog or unfortunate weather conditions. Portable or fixed horns and whistles are what you need;

Besides these tools for your boat, don’t forget to have a medical kit for emergencies on the sea, such as seasickness. A bailing device is also essential, while a snorkel mask will help you inspect under the boat if you suspect any issues.

Devise a backup plan

A backup plan might seem extreme to think about. Still, suppose you’re traveling a few days away from the shore and alone. In that case, it’s necessary to announce to your family where you’re going, how much you’re staying and if you’re entirely prepared to go on your own.

Having a cell phone with you or any other form of communication is also best since challenges may occur on the way, so you need to signal that. Plus, you should know if there are extra paths you can take to reach your destination, even though you may take a long road. A physical map is the best thing you can have while sailing, so make sure you outline all the ways you can take in case of anything. Sometimes, it may even happen that the path available on the map has been obstructed by something, such as a fallen tree. Considering that, if you have another way to go, you won’t have to turn back or stay overnight in an unknown place.

Bottom line

What do you think about sailing alone? If you’re not doing it too often, it may be challenging to get back on track. But if you get your boat checked by a professional and devise a thorough plan, you can enjoy the beauty of solitude on the sea.