The Six Minute Safety Sailing Spiel

It takes just six minutes to brief your first-time boat guests in simple safety measures
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It takes only six minutes to brief your new guests on board your boat for a day sailing, but could save the boat - or a life, and the briefing will make sure the day stays fun and relaxed. Here is the six minute safety briefing - six points, each taking only a minute:

Minute 1: Explain to your guests where the best/safest places are to sit during sailing, and if the boat is on the small side show them how a passenger's shifting weight can affect your boat's stability or exposure to waves. Explain that the boat 'tipping over' is a natural part of sailing.

Minute 2: With your VHF radio turned on, tell your guests how to call for help on channel 16. If you have a DSC-VHF radio, show them the red mayday button and explain how to activate it.

Minute 3: Bring out the life jackets and encourage your new-to-boating guests to wear one. If they are not worn, ensure they are easy to get to.

Minute 4: Point out the location of other important safety gear such as flares and fire extinguishers.

Minute 5: Show your guests on a chart where you're going, and let them know you've filed a 'float plan' so others know the boat's whereabouts and when the group should be returning.

Minute 6: Let them know what to do if someone falls overboard - having a spotter is essential as is keeping a throwable device, such as the life ring, danbuoy or PFD, handy at all times.

There, all done, and your new guests will feel a measure of control, and be confident that their skipper knows what he or she is doing. This is what makes for a relaxed day.

About the BoatUS Foundation:
The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is a non-profit organisation promoting safe, clean and responsible boating, providing innovative educational outreach directly to boaters with the aim of reducing accidents and fatalities. For more information go to www.BoatUS.com/Foundation.