The Nautical Blog

Boat Safety – Week/Lesson 5

Tonight’s lesson was more of a review and video night. Out instructor Dave had an emergency, so class was given by Jim (U S Coast Guard Auxilary).

Class started with a question from one of the students regarding lead lines.  To determine what type of bottom there is before anchoring, put peanut butter, wax, chewing gum,etc on the bottom of the cup or weight of the lead line before dropping into water. This helps you bring up a sample of what’s on the bottom before anchoring. (See lesson 3 towards end or chapter 4 in your Basic Skills and Seamanship book if you’re following along).  As your vessel is moving forward, you come straight over the line, look down and see how far down you are. If you can’t judge, tie flags on your lead line approximately every 6 feet, then lower line into water till the weight on bottom touches.

You are the eyes and ears of local police, USCG, etc. Learn how to be vigilant by watching this new public awareness video “America’s Waterway Watch” by USCG.

Next, we reviewed chapter 8: Boat Safety

make sure you brief your passengers to where everything is on the boat, in case of emergency

maintain a center of gravity – especially in small boats like kayaks, canoes, row boats, sail boats, etc.
it’s vital in a small craft for people to be distributed evenly.

When falling overboard, stay in the Help (heat escape lessening position) position. This position is when you draw your knees up into the fetal position to make your body as compact as possible. If there are more than 1 person in the water, huddle together to conserve heat and move about as little as possible.  Hopefully you have a lifejacket on.

Bring sweaters and jackets with you when you go out boating, temperatures change on a dime.

Next, we went over the signs for Hypothermia, treating and stages. If someone is hypothermic, Don’t give them a warm drink. How long someone can stay in the water before becoming hypothermic depends on the person’s body weight, how well they tolerate cold, and what they’re wearing. If you have a wool sweater on – leave it on – it will keep you warm.

Swimming and treading water cause
faster heat loss than remaining still. Treating a Hypothermic Victim
  1. Rescuers should do all the rescue work (not the victim).
  2. Dry off the victim, if possible.
  3. Keep the victim out of the wind.
  4. Make the victim as comfortable as possible.
  5. Ask for assistance on the radio.
  6. Get medical assistance as soon as possible.
  7. Cover the victim with warm clothing or other material.


Stages of Hypothermia

Body Temperature (°F) Visible Signs and Symptoms
98 – 96 Intense, uncontrollable shivering; impaired ability to perform complex tasks
95 – 91 Violent shivering; difficulty speaking; sluggish movements; amnesia begins
90 – 86 Shivering replaced by muscular rigidity; muscle coordination impaired; erratic movements
85 – 81 Irrational; stupor; loss of contact with surroundings; pulse and respiration slow
80 – 78 Unresponsive; no reflexes; heartbeat erratic; loss of consciousness
Below 78 Failure of heart and lungs; internal bleeding; death

source:Basic Skills and Seamanship manual (both charts)

When buying safety equipment you need to ask questions. Always check to make sure you’re getting what you need, not what the salesperson wants to sell you. Also, play with your new equipment to learn how to use it before an emergency situation.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide, itself, is toxic and poisoning includes the following symptoms: drowsiness, headace, dizziness, weakness, nausea, fainting, coma and if inhaling long enough – death.

To prevent this from happening, use the following techniques:

  1. Provide, maintain, and frequently check adequate engine, and generator compatment ventilation
  2. Install a carbon monoxide detector (just like at home)
  3. Be aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning (see list above)
  4. Be aware of any nearby boats that might se sending poisonous fumes your way.

There are many places on a boat that carbon monoxide can sneak in – learn how to ventilate and do it well.

Another video –

this next video we watched was on preventing pollution in waters – aka: Good Mate Video

 over 10,000 marinas in United States
causes of pollution:
– fuel and oil
– sewerage
– maintenance
dishwashing detergent is illegal and doesn’t help whatever it is you’re using it for, except washing dishes
fill your gas tank for 90% capacity to avoid spills
store any soiled rags in a separate container until you’re on shore and can dispose of properly
in a no-discharge zone, you’re type 3 device must be locked
filters from cigarettes are toxic and nonbiodegradable

Thunderstorms and Lightning

thunderstorms come from the West, usually build up over land
notice the color of clouds, shapes, change in wind and static on radio
when you see any of these, make sure you put on your rain gear
if you’re in relatively shallow water – go into deeper water, sails down and drop anchor
ride into wind, check to make sure your boat is grounded

think of the worse that could possibly happen and prepare for it!

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