What to do if the Captain drops, falls overboard, passes out.....

You take a friend or two for a sail on beautiful day. Maybe it's your spouse and child. Every thing is wonderful until the unthinkable happens. And that is the problem, we don't think about what could happen if you the captain is incapacitated and no one else knows how to handle your boat.

You could fall overboard and watch your boat sail away without you because nobody on board knows ow to stop it.

I suggest making a list or even a binder and show any passengers where you keep it. Go over this list with new passengers and make sure they can find it when needed. Make your list in point form but add details or explanations. They might not remember what you showed them a few hours ago.

I sail on smaller inland lakes so my emergency list may be different from yours. Make your list to suit your sailing.

HOLY SHIT! What do I do now? -List

  • Remain calm

- This is really important, breathe deeply and try to keep from crapping yourself.

  • Stop the damn boat

-a sailboat can not sail directly into the wind. Period. Turn the boat into wind, feel the wind direction on your face or see it on the windex. ( that arrow thing on the top of the mast this is no time for cleaning windows)

- once you get it stopped or slowed drop the sails or furl (roll them up)

  • Use radio

-show guest where the radio is and how to call for help

  • Cell Phone-

-many people have a cell phone. List the phone numbers for your yacht club or for other sailors that might be nearby that could help

-phone 911

  • Know where you are-

-GPS co-ordinates or land marks. Talk about the different land marks as you approach or sail by them.

  • Where are life jackets, first aid kit, fire extinguisher, horn/whistle
  • Drop the anchor, show them how to deploy the anchor. It may keep you off the the rocks and will keep you pointed into the wind.
  • Boarding ladder- be sure they know how to lower it if it is permanent or where it is stowed if not.
  • Lower outboard and start the engine, let them try this and get used to the tiller or wheel.
  • If the water is rough or stormy show them how crank up the swing keel and beach the boat.

What will you put on your list? What did I miss on mine? Leave a comment to share!

If you enjoyed this post, I'd really appreciate it if you could help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thanks & Cheers! Daryl