Hello fellow PSC Sailors,
We experienced some foul weather earlier this week, but the remainder is looking good for
sailing! I stopped down and checked on everyone’s boats to make sure there wasn’t any obvious
damage but saw enough vessels out that I thought some safety tips may be in order.
One of the best aspects of the nature of sailing is its ability to be both exhilarating and relaxing.
It is also a great way to experience nature and to see the world. However, sailing can be a hazardous pastime, and there are numerous ways that a sailing trip can turn sour if a boater is not properly prepared to handle an emergency. There are several steps that you can take before your trip to guard against disaster, as well as general rules of conduct that you and those aboard your vessel should observe during your time out on the water. By adhering to these guidelines, you should be able to minimize your chances of running into problems that could put a damper on your sail as well as help ensure that you are as prepared as possible to deal with any unforeseen issues that may arise during your time out on the lake.
Whether you are a novice or experienced sailor, careful planning never goes amiss. Before heading to the water, be sure to obtain a local charts to identify dangerously shallow areas like the eastern points of Burns and Kipp Islands on Lake Wallenpaupack. Look up weather and condition forecasts. This will help you decide what days (and even what time of day) will be best for sailing and will also inform you of what kind of attire and gear you will need to bring along. Brush up on the “rules of the road,” and familiarize yourself with local boating rules and zones. Don’t take it for granted that other boats are aware that sailboats have the right of way when under sail! Create a float plan ensuring someone ashore at least knows your plans and who is aboard. Take advantage of a free vessel safety check through the Coast Guard to put your mind at ease and help ensure safe passage for you and your passengers. You can reach out to Don Snyder to ensure your vessel meets all the necessary safety criteria.
Coming prepared with adequate knowledge of your craft and the area is just as important as
coming with the right provisions and equipment. Before you leave shore, make certain that you arrive stocked with enough food and water, as well as emergency provisions. If any of your provisions or equipment have expiration dates, be sure that you have checked them (and replaced the items, if necessary), before your departure. Be certain that you have enough PFDs (personal flotation devices) for everyone that will sailing with you, that everyone knows how to put one on, and that they all know where they can find one should the need arise. Make sure that your sailboat has all its federally required safety equipment, and that it is all functional. Make sure you have plenty of sunscreen and even a few extra hats. Go through a pre-departure checklist in detail. This should include extensive boat and gear checks.
Responsible sailing (and boating in general) has a lot to do with common sense. Taking the time
before your voyage and during your trip to take a moment and think could save you and your
passengers from irreparable harm or danger. While you are out sailing, remember to check the weather and know the signs. If you see the sky darken unexpectedly or the wind pick up, play it safe and head back to the dock. This can happen quickly on the lake even when it’s not in the forecast. Avoid crowded areas. This may prove difficult during the holidays on the lake, but fewer boats means fewer chances for collisions. Avoid alcohol and drugs while you are sailing. You have a responsibility to yourself and those around you to operate your sailboat while you are completely sober and cognizant. Be sure to get enough sleep before your journey so that you are fresh and alert during your sailing. Take care of your physical needs. Remember to keep hydrated and to get protection from the sun. If you are not proficient already, swimming classes will imbue you with important life skills that could greatly increase your chances of survival in the event of an emergency. Try not to sail alone. Not only does company often make the sail more enjoyable, it also ensures that you have at least one companion to help address any problems that may arise. If not, join up with club members to take your boats out together. Know how to handle your boat. Sailing classes are beneficial to new and seasoned sailors alike. There is always
more to learn and improve upon. Kevin Detrick has offered to help provide training from the basics of sail shape and trim to advanced racing tactics.
Sailing is one of the best ways to enjoy nature, explore, and experience a fun challenge
outdoors. Planning and preparation beforehand will help you to be a good skipper for yourself and your passengers, and accurate, relevant sailing knowledge, common sense, and correct sail and line handling will help ensure that your adventures are fun-filled and accident free. Enjoy your sailing expedition but remember to do so in safety for your sake and the sake of those around you.
On the schedule this coming week we have Race five on Sunday July 22nd . The Melges crew is on the schedule for Race Committee, and Fiddler’s Green is to coordinate the following picnic duties.
Before the month is out we have the Bob Schmidt Regatta to look forward to on July 28 th where the usual skippers are to release the helm! This race is a chance to for the ladies, children, rookies, or total novice crew to take their turn on the helm and see what it’s like! I am really looking forward to it. Please let Kristen know if you will be participating. We also have Wally Lake Fest to look forward to on August 25 th from noon till 4:00pm. Please let Kristen know (if you have not already done so) whether your boat will be available to give rides, how many you can take, and what shirt sizes you need.