Posts Tagged ‘crossing a bar’

Life Jackets: Can you get at them?

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

It’s not enough to know where the life jackets are on board, you need to know you’ll be able to get to them in an emergency.

I read this morning that one man is missing, believed drowned, after jumping off a boat that had caught fire. A portable propane heater caused the fire. Two other men were rescued, only one of whom was in a life jacket. The life jackets that were stowed in the bow could not be reached through the fire.


I remember the case of a yacht being sunk by a careless hydrofoil. No one on board had time to get to the life jackets. The result was that that skipper, from then on, kept his life jackets in a cockpit locker, where they were easiest to get at.


I do not advocate that we should wear life jackets at all times, but there are occasions, such as crossing a bar in or out of port, when it is advisable for all crew to have them on. In some places this is a legal requirement.


It’s a matter for you, as skipper, to assess the risks involved in what you are doing and then instruct your crew.


Learn more about Safety and Emergencies in The Boating Bible Manual of Seamanship.

Crossing a bar – a cautionary tale

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

Two fishermen who were lucky to escape alive today after being swept out to sea show just how dangerous bars are at the entrance to a port.

Their boat overturned during the night on the notorious Tweed River bar on the New South Wales/Queensland border.

First the engine failed on their five-metre boat, then the anchor line snapped and the boat was swept out through the bar on an ebb tide.

The two were thrown into the water when the boat flipped in the bar. They survived because they were wearing lifejackets.

Other fishermen rescued them from the sea three miles from the bar and they were flown to shore by a helicopter.

Read my article on Crossing a Bar – Nine Rules to Keep You, Your Crew and Your Boat Safe. In a yacht it can be just as dangerous.