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Even though statistically improbable, falling overboard can be a serious matter.

Sailing ship accidents - Wikipedia

If it happens in cold water, hypothermia compounds this risk. Most cruising destinations are in places that have warm water. Nevertheless nobody wants to find themselves in the water unexpectedly. Especially if hit over the head by the boom. Keelboat and catamaran design nowadays takes this into account, and particularly for the larger boats, keeps the boom out of harm's way when in the cockpit.

Nevertheless this is something to be well aware of, particularly when doing work at the mast. And when sailing downwind, especially with a boom that is not prevented. If you do end up in the water, life vest technology has come a long way, with vests on the market that automatically inflate as soon as they hit water. The key thing is to wear it in the first place. The Royal Yachting Association basically mandates that all its sailors wear deck vests at all times. In warm water, sailors who are also able to swim generally only wear them when they feel a need to do so.

If you have any concerns with falling overboard, make sure you have a decent life vest. If you do this, and cruise in warm water, then the small chance of anything happening to you is made much, much smaller. We hear this all too often. People not wanting to jump in the beautifully clean, warm, azure-blue, Caribbean water because of a fear of sharks. A site called trackingsharks.

You can see below that there are no recorded cases of shark attack in the main islands of the eastern Caribbean, a large area that includes the British Virgin Islands. Globally, including the hotspots such as Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean off Africa and some Australian beaches, there are around fatalities each year.

We humans kill that many sharks every two seconds or so. The only case in recent times in the eastern Caribbean area was in the Dominican Republic with a non-fatal injury. And there have been no recorded fatalities in the entire area, ever. If you still can't get the thought out of your head and want to swim without fear, have a look at shark repellant products such as the Sharkbanz 2.

Would your correspondent ever wear one of these in the Caribbean? Not at all, and he swims there daily. In fact this correspondent comes from Australia and he wouldn't wear one there either. However, irrational fear is, well, irrational, so trying to explain it away won't help. In that case, get yourself a band and enjoy the water. What about Hurricanes? Many people refuse to sail in the Caribbean during the summer months due to this perceived risk. But for others it is the best time of year to sail. For one, weather forecasting has advanced to the point where any big storms usually have at least five days notice as they make their way across the Atlantic from Africa.

Then there's the relatively narrow storm path: the Caribbean is such a large area, to have an average of storms pass through each year with only a couple of them big enough to make the news , where a storm has a very specific, narrow path, means that the chances of a storm surprising you are low. Nevertheless our aim here is to offer a balancing view on storms rather than to promote the idea that they carry no risk. Of course they carry risk. We watch the weather religiously during the storm season. We simply encourage a level-headed look at the risk here.

You can see the path of 's big storm Matthew below thanks to The Weather Channel for the image and how specific it is. The eastern Caribbean islands are that line of islands just after Matthew's line turns orange. We were a few islands south of the line at the time and literally saw blue sky where we were. Or even Hurricane Irma, the largest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic, which caused havoc to our own base of the British Virgin Islands, but did scarcely any damage to other islands.

This is a good time to talk about trip insurance.

If you obtain trip insurance which we always advise , you will be able to receive a full refund on your vacation in the event it is cancelled due to a named storm. So the risks here are manageable. If you are looking for a travel insurance provider, we can recommend and indeed have an alliance with WorldNomads. The men see this as a sinister, insulting gesture, but the captain cannot swat the bird off because the sudden movement would likely topple the boat. Eventually, the captain shoos the bird away, and they go on rowing until the captain sees a lighthouse in the distance.

Although the cook expresses reservation that the nearby lifesaving station has been abandoned for more than a year, the crew heartens at approaching land, almost taking pleasure in the brotherhood that they have formed and in attending to the business of the sea.


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The correspondent even finds four dry cigars in a pocket, which he shares with the others. They again make for the open sea, exhausted and bitter. Another sign of hope comes when the captain sees a man on shore.

Safe and clean seas, saving lives

They think the man sees them. Then they think they see two men, then a crowd and perhaps a boat being rolled down to the shore. They stubbornly think that help is on the way as the shadows lengthen and the sea and sky turn black. During the night, the men forget about being saved and attend to the business of the boat. The correspondent and oiler, exhausted from rowing, plan to alternate throughout the night. But they get tired in the early hours of the morning, and the cook helps out. The use of salt is interesting.

How did it all start?

Touch and go, refers to the practice of just touching one shore before tacking towards the other when attempting to make way upstream within the confines of a river or estuary. My grandfather was a turn of the century sailor of pre-motorized ships, and spent 20 of his first years aboard. He had great tales to tell, and I remember one especially as it shocked me as a child.

About Bermuda Triangle

An entire genre of music comes from this phrase. Who knew that came from the world of sailing? The ship would fly blue flags and have a blue band painted along her hull when she returned to port. This saying is used all the time these days to indicate being severely compromised, but it began in the most literal way.

Gulf of Tonkin incident

Sailor crew would sometimes be punished for their misgivings and that involved being tied over a cannon barrel and whipped. If this has happened to you, we are sorry, that sounds like a horrible work environment. The big dangerous thing would be sliding all over the place making for some uncomfortable time on deck trying to get that bad boy back in its spot.

It comes from a more literal origin — sailors would be tugging at lines as fast as they could, hand over fist, to trim sheets and raise sails. A good spot for this sort of thing was between the guns on the gun deck. Notify of. Vote Up 28 Vote Down. Vote Up 5 Vote Down. Vote Up 1 Vote Down. Love this! I use a bunch of nautical sayings daily, and now I realize I use a lot more! Vote Up 0 Vote Down.


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