Boat Safety
The Beaufort Scale
Safety at sea should always be the most important thing on any boat anglers mind both before going to sea and while on the water. Catching that fish of a lifetime is always the dream of all sea anglers but it is never worth your life or that of your crews. Remember, if in doubt, DON'T! On this page hopefully you will find some tips that will make your time afloat safer and more productive.
Force 1 Light airs 1-3 knots
Sail - full Mainsail and large genoa
Power - fast planning conditions
Force 2 Light Breeze 4-6 knots
Small wavelets
Sail- Full
mainsail and large genoa
Power- fast planing conditions
Force 3 Gentle Breeze 7-10 knots
small wavelets
Sail - Full sail
Power - Fast planing conditions.
Things to take special note of:
Force 4 Moderate 11-16 knots
Frequent white horses
Sail - Reduce headsail size
Power - may have to slow if wind against tide.
Essential Equipment
Force 5 Fresh breeze 17-21 knots
frequent white horses
Sail- reef main sail
Power - May have to slow down to prevent slaming when going upwind
Why not get your boat checked out for safety by a qualified RNLI safety advisor?
The safety check is absoloutely
FREE and may put your mind at rest as well as maybe pointing out some things you may not have thought of...
Force 6 Strong breeze 22-27 knots
Large waves. White foam crests.
Sail - Reef  mainsail and reduce head sail.
Power - displacement speed
Force 7 Near gale 28-33 knots
Sea heaps up, Spray, Breaking waves, Foam blows in streaks
Sail - deep reefed main, Storm jib
Power - displacement speed, stem waves
Force 8 Gale 34-40 knots
Moderately high waves, breaking crests
Sail - deep reefed main, storm jib
Power - stem waves, displacement speed
Force 9 severe gale 41-55 knots
High waves, Spray affects visability.
Sail - trysail and storm jib
Power - stem waves displacement speed
Force 10 storm 48-55 knots
Very high waves, long breaking crests, survival conditions.
Check Points
All fishing trips should be planned. Never go to sea in a small craft without first checking through your list of check points. Things like the the weather and tides are an absoloute must. You can use this check list below as the basis for your own and add to it how you please. Forward planning only takes a few moments thought and can make all the difference between being safe and being DEAD! Be smart, be alive!
1) LIFE JACKETS These are an absoloute must have. You must have the correct number aboard for all your crew and you must make sure they are suitable to the size of the wearer. A small life jacket with suitable bouyency for a child is not suitable for an adult. Life jackets with the traditional collar are best if more awkward. These protect the wearer from drowning and swallowing water while unconcious. Another alternative is the floatation suit providing all the benifits of a life jacket combined with the insulation of a wet suit. You can be dead in the water from hypothermia within an hour and although expensive  these suits are worth it.
2) Weather Forecast
You should NEVER leave for sea without taking the weather forecast with you. This can easily be found right here on this site or from teletext page 162 on your T.V. You should also keep an eye on the daily forecast on RTE as these will give you an insight into what weather changes will be coming along in the near future. The VHF radio should be monitored for it's hourly updates on the situation and time should be taken to listen in an take note of what is being said
3) Tides
Special note should be takenof the tide situation on certain marks. A spring tide will mean that as well as the water height being higher the currents will be stronger. This combined with the winds in the opposite direction will lead to choppy seas
4) Compass
The compass is an essential piece of equipment on any boat. Ideally there is a whole host of other instruments you really should invest in as you will see in the Essential equipment section on this page, But this is the basic navigation equipment that you must both posses and know how to use. Any skipper who does not have one on his boat does not deserve to be one and should not own a boat!
5) Float Plan Never leave for a trip without having told someone reliable where you are going and when you will return. This person should be phoned and told that you returned safely, or if any change has been made to your plan. This person should be given instructions to ring the coast gaurd should th worst occour. Make sure they have the phone number to ring - 01 6620922
6) Fuel and Oil
Seems obvious but stupid incedents occour every year and waste the coastgaurds time when they could be saving someones life! Always make sure you have enough fuel on board. The most common mistake is to judge where you are going by how much fuel it normally takes. Outboard engines will use far less fuel on calm seas when compared with a rough one! Another common mistake is to have plenty of petrol and to run out of lubricant oil which will destroy your engine should you run it without it. The best solution is to bring two identical tanks and when one runs out you will have exactly the same amount of fuel to get back with... sounds simple but you would be surprised.
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