Guide: Preparing and packing for longer sea crossings

Written by Jørgen Løwe November 3, 2017

long sea crossing

Spending time at sea is an essential part of the Goldfish business strategy and we do so all year round. My season contains approximately 3.000 nautical miles in our boats.

The experiences I have had at sea this past year have inspired me to write a list of the things I bring on my trips, which I hope will inspire others to embark on new adventures.

Must-have safety equipment for long distance boating

Safety is extremely important when venturing out to sea. Both for you and your passengers but also in regards to surroundings.

Here is a list of the safety equipment we try to always have onboard in our Goldfish boats:

  • Life jacket and kill cord

Kill cord and life jacket are key to safety on the sea.

We have always been more attentive to the kill cord than the life jacket, because the latter only protects the person wearing it, whereas the kill cord can save those surrounding you. A boat moving at 50 knots per hour without a driver is a threat to everyone.

Kill cord is standard equipment in all Goldfish boats.

The Goldfish-team uses Sail Racing inflatable life jackets. They are comfortable; they have a great design and most importantly; they can save your life if you end up in the water.

We always use both life jacket and kill cord, regardless of distance.  

  • EPRIB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon)

Emergency beacons have been mandatory on all ocean-crossing vessels for a long time. The difference between an EPRIB and a standard emergency beacon is that the former is personalized.

I encourage everybody to buy one for each crewmember. If an accident should occur and you have to leave the boat, every person will have his or her own emergency signal.

Every emergency beacon has a subscription, which is connected to emergency centers all over the world. Most EPRIBs will automatically trigger a distress signal when it is exposed to water for a longer period of time.

EPRIB is more important than VHF, which we will explain in-depth in a subsequent article.

  • A small inflatable life raft

One of the biggest threats on the water is fire. Luckily, we have very little experience with  fire-related accidents in our boats. However, this does not mean that it cannot occur in the future.

A boat built with fiberglass or carbon will burn rapidly if the fire is not controlled quickly. In such cases, there is nothing else to do than leave the boat.   

Having a life raft can be a determining factor in situations where you are forced to leave the boat.

Many people make the mistake of buying a raft for 10-14 people. Such rafts are expensive, heavy and difficult to handle. We recommend that you buy a 3-4 person raft in a soft shell case. This will make it a lot easier to carry to your boat when you are heading out to sea. Such a size will allow you to keep it in your boat as standard equipment with-out lowering your boat’s efficiency.

Even if there are more people in the boat than the raft can carry, it will still function as floating device to which you can cling until help arrives, and thus increase the likelihood of survival.

Also, if you are in a hurry due to a fire onboard, it is crucial that the life raft is easy to handle.

Important preparations for longer sea crossings

Being well prepared is another necessity for long sea crossings. Here are my recommendations for preparations:

  1. Take the boat for a drive the day before of your voyage and check that everything is functioning.
  2. Inspect fluids, drive leg. propellers and see to that sub-systems like navigation is working as it should.
  3. Always keep a clean engine room. This will make it easier for you to detect any oil leaks, traces of salt water and other signs of weakness..
  4. Make sure you have drinking water and food on the boat.
  5. Make sure that all passengers are wearing appropriate attire for the trip. Keep in mind that you are responsible for them as a captain and that not everyone has the same experience going on boat rides as you.
  6. Make sure you have more than enough fuel for the leg!
  7. … and last but not least, have a great trip!

I hope this introduction to safety on long sea crossings has inspired you to take your Goldfish-boat on new adventures. True happiness lies in exploring unknown waters and not just your own homeport.

See you at sea!

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