11 July 2011

Going Offshore -- Prep list

A useful prep list for crew who are about to go off shore.  I can't remember where I pinched this from originally but it's been adapted fairly heavily.

It pays to keep someone who you are familiar with (family member, etc) ashore informed of:

  • When and where we are leaving from.
  • Where we are travelling to.
  • Estimated date of arrival.
  • A picture of the boat.
  • How many people you are travelling with.
  • Information about the EPIRBs as mentioned below, as well as our radios and call signs.
  • URL of this page which I will update with our route plan immediately before we leave.
Be aware that travel times under sail at sea can be highly variable -- there are days when I have covered 180 nautical miles (approx 350km) and there are days, due to wind and current, when I have traveled 7 nautical miles in the wrong direction!  So if we are approximately +/- 20% late over a sea passage this would not be unusual (I usually plan to cover approximately 100nm per day).  If we are much later than this, however, there may be cause for concern.

I always have a shore contact alerted to the route plan, planned arrival date, EPIRB details, etc, but it does not hurt to have your own.

Chiara Stella has pretty much every piece of electronic gadgetry known to man -- in addition to the EPIRB and my PLB (personal locator beacon), all of which alert the rescue authorities via satellite if there is a serious problem, we have VHF and HF radios, 3 separate GPS systems, navigation system, radar, depth sounder, wind gauge, water temperature gauge, speed through water and speed over ground, etc.  It's unlikely we would be lost at sea without something going off that would alert the authorities.