Skipper Safety Brief

Skipper Safety Brief


Check your boat before you go to sea.


As you approach your boat, whether it be on a mooring or marina, you can take a first impression does she look well is she lying true is there anything that looks or appears out of order or place.


As you step aboard, taking care to pull up using the shrouds rather than top guard wire, does she feel balanced a walk around the deck to give a visual of the rig, bottle screw pins and clips in the right place, taped or not taped are they all secure. Are the guard wires, as taut as you like them, a tug on the jack stays is always reassuring.


Step inside the boat down the companionway bring all your senses into play, smell, taste, feel (balance), hearing and vision. Natural odours suggest boat needs airing more dangerous smells from gas, fuel, engine fumes suggest other problems to deal with before going anywhere.   


 Check the bilges for water, fresh or salt, better dry and clean. Obnoxious smells often lurk in the bilges as well as gas.


Check the engine, does it look together, oil, water levels, filter and sea cock clean and working.  Engine bilge clear of water, oil and coolant.


Check sea cocks do they open and close, are they leaking, are the bungs in place.


All the above should be completed before turning on the battery switches or lighting up any electrics or electronics. Switch electrics on, check sufficient fuel, water, battery power. Turn on electronics radio on to channel 16, squelch checked, GPS on, saloon lights, navigation lights working, gas alarm working.


Check domestics, cooker isolator open if lighting up, leave closed if not using, switch fridge on, pump sea water through the heads, cushions down. Victuals, sufficient for trip or voyage, placed into appropriate storage.


Back into cockpit look over the side for debris, is the helm turning smoothly full lock side to side. Turn engine over, check for cooling water exiting exhaust, check charging systems and alarms.


Sail cover off connect up main halyard, release reef lines, halyard clear


Anchor, securing devices checked and made ready for sea.


OK all done can we go now?


 What about the questions you should ask?

The following is the basis of the Skipper Safety Brief and an explanation as to why you should ask the questions (SAQs)

What clothing should I wear when I go to Sea?

How do I wear my life jacket and how does it work?

What happens if we catch fire or smell gas?

How do the heads work?

What is a Sea Cock and why are they important?

How do we know where we are going?

How is this recorded and why?

What are engine checks?

Where is the life raft stored?

How do flares work and why different colours?

Where do I put my stuff?

Where is the First Aid Kit kept?

What is in the First Aid Kit?

Should I tell someone I have a medical condition?

What should I be looking for when I do the deck walk?

Is there a Skipper Safety Brief check list?   



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GT Yachting  September 2017

All information on this website is a general guide.

All responsibilities lie with the boat owner.

GT Yachting reserves the right to make alterations as appropriate.