Trained for Success

Can we  handle the unforeseen? Yes, if we have the skills and practice for the foreseen.

There are endless books and web sites on crewing and sailing. Here’s what I have gleamed.

I’m working on this list.
Please add your suggestions in the comment box below.

What really Matters

(as borrowed from Attainable Adventure Cruising)

  • Keep the water out.
  • Keep the crew on the boat.
  • Keep the keel side down.
  • Keep the mast up.
  • Keep the rudder on.

Basic Skills

  • Entering onto or exit from boat at dock.
  • Understanding the law of natural attraction; tremendous love of the ocean floor for tools, cameras,  etc.
  • Life jacket usage.
  • Survival suite usage.
  • Life raft usage.
  • Tell helmsperson when you leave the cockpit.
  • Going on deck in calm and rough weather and at night.
  • Safety harness usage
  • Ins and out of the toilet.
  • Rules of the boat.
  • Understanding the love of  litter and bilge pumps.
  • Daily cleaning.
  • A place for everything and everything in it’s place.
  • The rule, one hand for the boat and one for you.
  • The five finger rule, keep all body parts attchaed to your body.
  • Tie a line to a cleat
  • Releasing lines from a cleat.
  • Adjusting lines under tension on a cleat.
  • Control docking with lines on cleats.
  • Use of fenders while docking.
  • Using a winch.
  • Steering.
  • Steer a course to GPS and compass heading in calm weather.
  • Use the depth sounder
  • Using sinks.
  • Doing dishes.
  • Use cook stove.
  • Cleaning toilet.
  • Entering dingy from beach, dock and boat.
  • Helmsperson’s tools.
  • Understanding body functions at sea, the importance and rest, food and toileting.
  • Combating the dastardly foes, seasickness.

Intermediate Skills

  • Use the VHF radio in emergencies.
  • Use the VHF, operators license required.
  • Use the depthsounder.
  • Receive and record weather from VHF.
  • Shutdown the engine.
  • Set anchor
  • Retrieve anchor.
  • Use of handheld GRS radios.
  • Regular daily engine maintenance.
  • Start the engine.
  • Stop engine.
  • Refueling store.
  • Refueling engine.
  • Take on water.
  • Daily boat maintenance.
  • Raise and lower jibs.
  • Raise and lower mainsail.
  • Launching and retrieving dingy.
  • Rowing the dingy.
  • Mount and remove outboard from dingy.
  • Operate the dingy with outboard.
  • Refueling outboard.
  • Dingy maintenance and emergency repairs.
  • Use the radar.
  • Understand switches on electrical panel.
  • Secure and cover  gear on deck, digny, generator outboard motor, gas powered water pump.
  • Operate generator.

Advanced Skills

  • Steering in heavy weather.
  • Weather watch.
  • Route planning and  GPS.
  • Dock the boat.
  • Sail off anchor.
  • Trouble shoot water systems.
  • Trouble shoot electrical systems.
  • Kedging with dingy.
  • Outboard motor normal maintenance.
  • Generator normal maintenance.
  • Gas powered water pump normal maintenance.

Normal Events

  • Docking.
  • Casting off from dock.
  • Picking up a mooring.
  • Casting off from mooring under power.
  • Sailing off a mooring.
  • Docking in heavy weather.
  • Anchoring.
  • Raising anchor.
  • Anchoring in heavy weather.
  • Going ashore in dingy.
  • Raising sails.
  • Dousing sails.
  • Clear decks for heavy weather when at anchor or dock.
  • Clear decks for heavy weather when underway.


  • Crew overboard.
  • Medical Emergency, crew injured.
  • Abandoning ship
  • Anchor drags.
  • Grounding and kedging.
  • Water ingress due to broken thru-hull.
  • Boat sinking.
  • Clogged bilge pump
  • Failure of automatic bilge pumps.
  • Use gas powered water pump to remove water from boat.
  • Fires.
  • Firefighting with portable gas powered water pump.
  • Dingy loose on davits in heavy weather.
  • Crack in hull from collision.
  • Hole in hull from collision.
  • Broken mast.
  • Explosion or fire from gasoline.
  • Ripped sails.
  • Broken lines.
  • Oil spill inside boat.
  • Oil spill into water.
  • Sewage spill.

2 responses

21 04 2010
Dale H. Arden

In the EMERGENCY department, it’s a good idea when you have a new crew to conduct a “man overboard” drill on the first day of sailing or during a practice sail.

21 04 2010

Thanks, man overboard should been on the list.

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