Some advice for a safe navigation

Before going aboard and setting sail for a destination, it is fundamental to take precautions in order to have a safe navigation, prevent any possible risks and also know how to deal against dangerous situations. Because of these reasons, it is important to make a checklist that includes necessary security elements, also revise the engine general condition, have a defined navigation plan, be in the possession of tools that may allow you to know your exact location in the sea, and lastly know how to handle radio communication equipment.

For planning the navigation route, first it is necessary to revise the weather forecast and also study the nautical chart referring to the waters we are about to navigate. It is fundamental to know about the place we are about to navigate in order to identify possible danger, lows, anchorages, how tides and currents are going to behave, etc. In possession of this information, a navigation plan may be arranged for the Nautical Club and/or family members to be informed. The porpoise is to provide information about dates and timetables, including where and also when would both the departure and arrival be. We will not attempt to modify the plan but, in the case that we do, it is necessary to inform whoever it may correspond in order to prevent concerns or the alarm’s activation. By informing about the navigation plan, some crucial for survival hours may be saved when facing a delicate situation. In Spain, the Safe TRX app may be very useful. At the same time, measuring the necessary fuel and bringing enough food and water along is also highly important when taking care of the planning.

Our expectations before setting sail are always to have a good time and enjoy the sea. In order to do that, being prepared to face any possible eventualities that may arise is crucial to avoid placing ourselves and others in a dangerous situation. Engine failure or a sudden shift in sea conditions will test both our knowledge and ship’s condition. For that reason, we need to be aware and in possession of obligatory-safety elements, provisions, first aid kits, radio communication equipment, a GPS, a compass and nautical charts (GPS is always the first choice, but it is often recommended to have an analog alternative to deal with possible failure of electronic devices).

The radio communication system must correspond to the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) and comply with the normative that specifies which device is the one required according to what distance to the coast seafarers may be navigating. It would be highly convenient if all crew members were able to handle VHF, Digital Selective Calling (DSC), EPIRB radio beacon, SART and lastly know the VHF portable radio location when dealing with accidents or shipwrecks.

Which are the safety devices and equipment that are obligatory onboard?

It depends on our type of transportation and the waters we are about to navigate (river or lake sailing, coastal, high seas or transoceanic navigation). A mistake which is just as dangerous as it is common is to consider safety equipment merely as a careless formality in our way to getting validation for sailing. It is important to consider that the onboard material is there to increase the odds against any emergencies that may arise. Because of that reason, it must be placed, signalized and available for everyone onboard.

Life jackets: the minimum necessary amount is one, available for each and every one of the people onboard, always considering their weights, sizes and ages. All of them must be in absolute perfect condition, with clean and properly well-greased buckles and fasteners. Available models are numerous according to type and functionality, but they must all have CE or SOLAS homologation, and also include reflective strips for a better localization.

Pyrotechnic devices: emergency flares, rockets and smoke signals are necessary to be able to create luminous signals that may be important in order to get a surrounding ship’s attention. It is necessary to store them in a dry place that must be out of reach from children, also to respect caducity dates and learn by memory the instructions for use in case of need during nightfall or when facing bad weather conditions.

Extinguishers and dealing with fires: besides obligatory water buckets, it is convenient to have fire-resistant blankets in order to put out small fires that may ignite, and also have portable extinguishers at the reach of the hand. They must be checked in form and time by authorized organizations that are properly homologated for the task. There are five types of extinguishers (A, B, C, D, F) according to different types of fires; those which electric origin are the most common kind aboard.

Lifebuoys: these are fundamental safety devices when needing to rescue a man in the water. For them to be useful, it is convenient that they are placed in the stern or in the sides, with appropriate light and an adequate system to release them quickly and throw them overboard with no waste of time. The ship’s name must be represented in the lifebuoy and it is important to notify the closest coastal station in case of misplacing one of them, because someone may trigger an alarm in case of finding them.

Lifeboats: these must have its own space delimited for its installation on the main deck and must be daily revised in order to be sure that they are going to work properly in case of need. It would be highly convenient if all crew members knew how to manipulate them, throw them overboard and lastly board them.

Security harnesses, diving clothing, bilge pumps, a reflector or flashlights, radio communications portable equipment, and a long list of other items are also necessary and will not be secondary in our ship. They will contribute so we may deal in a better way with contingencies that may arise against us.

In matters of sea safety, both PREVENTING and PREPARING OURSELVES save lives: prevention decreases potential risks, reduces the possibilities of suffering incidents or at least minimizes its consequences. The key is to be prepared to know how to deal with any eventualities. Remember that is just as important to be in the possession of devices as to know how to properly use them. Both the ship and crew’s safety depends on you!

About Advenio Software

The name Advenio is a Latin word that means to arrive. In our professional activity, we consider very important to achieve our goals working with firmness, enthusiasm and perseverance.

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