Living aboard a sailboat safely is great fun, it will be even more fun if you do it in a prudent manner.
One of my favorite movies, is Captain Ron, with Martin Short and Kurt Russell.
Remember this is a movie meant for entertainment... you won't find any gorillas or guerrillas, in the Caribbean... sorry to disappoint you.
No bloodthirsty pirates will be chasing you were it will be necessary for you to be rescued by the Coast Guard... but I did love the line about these people are taxpayers...
Living aboard a sailboat safely is mostly common sense but lets review some of the things my bride and I did to insure that we were as safe as possible.
Let's divide them up into at anchor, at the dock, haulout, ashore and on passage.
In the 8 years of cruising in the Caribbean I would guess we were at anchor 92%, at the dock 5%, on the hard 1% and underway 2%.
100% was fun... Okay I'm lying about having to sand the teak and going up the 52 foot mast to change a burnedout navigation lightbulb.
Here is an entire page devoted to the subject of safety at anchor How to do you say peaceful? Being at anchor, especially at sunset, and that night when the stars are ablaze.
Hey, I could find the Northstar and Orion.
Sleeping on the boat was never a problem, the gentle rocking of the waves, seem to loll you to sleep.
Even when we are on the dock at Trinidad, in an hour we could be at Scotland Bay listening to the howler monkeys.
Safety at the dock your primarily dependent upon the security at the gate... only boat owners aand their invitees should be allowed access in the first place.
Your job is to be on the lookout for anyone that is not seem to belong, they stand out just like you stand out when you leave the dock area in a foreign country.
Do not bypass the lock mechanism that you see on most US marinas...you would be surprised how easy it is to roam up and down the docks, looking at boats.
We do this at every opportunity, but were not looking to steal something from a boat, we like to visit with people and tell them about our cruising adventures.
This device pictured is called a Travellift...
We always came home for 3 to 5 months at a time during the summer.
My idea of fun is not listening to the weather forecast three times a day trying to predict whether or not you're in danger of being in a hurricane... the safest place for your boat is out of the water during hurricane season.
Although it did not need it every year, we took advantage of the low prices and had our boat sanded and bottom painted while we were gone for the summer.
Sailboat haulout our page devoted entirely to this subject, being "on the hard"...not fun but necessary.
Your boat drives into the special dock area... slings are placed underneath your boat... and it is skillfully lifted out of the water... and sat on chocks...
This experience is called being "on the hard"... the process is reversed when you come back to the boat, a very happy time referred to as splashing.
This haulout procedure is a necessary evil...but it is something that you should consider doing every summer.
We have devoted an entire page on safety while underway.
Although this is only 2% of the time, we had routines that we never deviated from... and we never had a scary incident going from one island to another.
Having patience is the key to being safe while underway... if the weather's not right don't go.
It includes our suggestions on how to be as safe as possible... again mostly common sense, but necessary that you are aware of certain precautions that you should take at all times.
Living aboard a sailboat safely makes it fun. And thats what you are doing is having fun. It is a great life but you don't turn your brain off completly...well there are times when you do...when you cruise.