If you take your boat offshore or to areas where medical assistance beyond first aid is not readily available it’s a good idea to take an emergency medicine seminar/course that teaches you more than basic and advanced first aid. All boaters should take a basic first aid course (basic first aid may be combined with a CPR course), and advanced first aid as well, depending on where their boating takes them. An offshore medicine seminar/course will give you advanced techniques for dealing with medical emergencies and severe injuries, and perhaps enable you to save a life while you wait for professional assistance. Look for a course that covers medical emergencies occurring at sea; wilderness medicine usually deals mainly with emergencies on land, and being on the water has some hazards which may require different procedures. Find offshore medicine seminars/courses from an Internet search, advertisements in the boating press, and the websites of various boating organizations. See also “Crew and Health” in the Mariner’s Guide Topic Index, p. 517, for entries related to crew health and emergencies.
Because of the Navigation Rules that apply to meeting trawling or trolling vessels. A boat fishing with nets or trawls that restrict maneuverability is a fishing vessel under Navigation Rule 3(c). A boat fishing with trolling lines over the side is not a fishing vessel under the Rules. Fishing vessels have right of way priority over sailing vessels, power-driven vessels, and seaplanes. Look carefully at a boat to see if there are nets or other gear over the stern or side, just coming out of the water or extending into the water. If so, the vessel is trawling. If you see fishing poles with lines in the water, the vessel is trolling for purposes of the Navigation Rules definition (even if actual trolling is not being done). Charter and private boats with fishers aboard sometimes expect to be given the right of way like a fishing vessel because they have 25 people fishing and they’re catching fish like crazy in that spot. They are power-driven vessels, but a considerate sailboat will give them a wide berth, even if the sailboat has right of way.
The text of Rule 3(c) is available at www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=navRulesContent
Do you know where all the through-hulls, transducers (depth sounder and speed log, for example), and the other holes in the hull near and below the waterline are located on your boat or a boat you are using? Are there tapered soft wood plugs tied near each through-hull in case something breaks or is damaged? Create (or find) the diagram that indicates where these holes are, and make sure you can get to the areas quickly in an emergency. If you have to move lots of gear to reach a damaged through-hull you may be working in the water. It’s amazing how fast water comes in through a one or two-inch/25-50mm hole in the bottom of a boat!
Priscilla Travis spends more than 110 days each year on the water, takes photos, and writes about nautical topics.