Sailing to the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean 1500
Safety Equipment and Procedures
|These two pictures show one of the two tethers that lead from the cockpit to the jacklines on the side decks. By keeping tethers permanently installed, we just had to clip the tether to our harness when leaving the cockpit. My own personal harness had a couple of tethers attached.
The Caribbean 1500 placed great emphasis on safety, and so did Jeff. Here's an outline of our equipment and procedures.
| ||This shows the yellow jackline leading up the side deck; it ran from bow to stern. It was routed on top of everything (like the jib sheets, etc.) so you wouldn't have to unclip and reclip the tether while walking around.
- Life raft - if abandoning ship.
- Dinghy - can be considered as a backup for the life raft.
- Man-overboard pole - to assist recovery of crew-overboard.
- Rescue ring - to assist recovery of crew-overboard.
- Heaving line - to assist recovery of crew-overboard.
- PFDs - both offshore type and vest type carried aboard.
- Emergency whistles - issued to each crew person.
- Sailor's knife - for emergency as well as routine use.
- Jacklines, harnesses, tethers - for personal security on deck.
- Abandon-ship bag - if abandoning ship.
- Emergency water - if abandoning ship, or if main water supply becomes unusable.
- First-aid kit - for basic injuries.
- Fire extinguishers - more than the required number.
- Ship's bell, Freon horn - for emergency signaling, or for use in fog.
- SOLAS flares, USCG flares - adequate supply of emergency signals.
- Strobe light - at masthead, for emergency signaling.
- EPIRB - for emergency signaling and locating.
- Iridium satphone - for emergency communications (as well as routine communications).
- SSB radio, VHF radio, handheld VHF radio - for emergency communications (as well as routine communications), the built-in radios have a DSC "Distress" button.
- Axonn satellite transmitter - for periodic position updates (provided by Caribbean 1500 organizers).
- Handheld battery-powered GPS units and paper charts - for backup navigation.
- Backup compass - in case main compass fails.
- Radar - for collision avoidance, squall avoidance, and backup navigation.
- Radar reflector - for collision avoidance.
- Wind instruments - these can be considered "safety equipment" since they vastly improved our ability to manage the boat during nighttime squalls.
- High-water alarm - to monitor bilge for flooding.
- Manual bilge pump - in case electric pumps fail.
- Buckets - for manual bailing.
- Backup navigation lights - in case main lights fail.
- Emergency steering system - in case main steering system fails.
- Mask, snorkel, fins - usable to make emergency underwater repairs (for example, if prop fouled by a line).
- Tools, supplies, etc. - to make emergency repairs on any boat system (sails, rigging, plumbing, electrical, etc.).
- Pre-departure inspections - by Caribbean 1500 official and by crew members.
- Written emergency procedures - read our procedures here.
- Weather updates - multiple ways of obtaining current and forecast weather, to avoid heavy weather.
- SSB roll-call check-in - for mutual assistance, if necessary.
- When crew in cockpit - crew required to wear PFD and harness.
- When crew on deck - crew required to wear PFD and harness, clip into jackline; second crewperson required in cockpit to observe crew on deck to make sure no problems occur (like injury or falling overboard).
- Dog had his own safety equipment and procedures - see next page.
- Watchstanding - for collision avoidance, also radio watch for emergency broadcasts.
I thought our safety equipment / procedures were lacking in one area: having good sea berths. On Night Heron, the forward and aft cabins had large queen-size or king-size berths with no lee cloths; the settees in the saloon also did not have lee cloths. Much of the trip was very bouncy and rolly from swell and wind waves, and the lack of good sea berths added to the difficulty in getting good rest.
On the next page, you can see pictures of Schooner's safety procedures.