Your First Step Onto a Yacht
The day arrives and you travel down to the location of the yacht upon which you will be a member of the crew. But you may have some apprehension and nervousness as you have never been with other people on a yacht. This is not unusual, but you must remember to believe in yourself and do not claim skills or experience which you do not have. Be honest and the Skipper will understand how he can safely use you to the benefit of the whole crew and the yacht.
The crews aboard yachts operate similarly to the crew on commercial vessels. On a commercial vessel there is a Captain (referred to as the “Skipper”) there is a Chief Officer, there is a Second Officer, there is a Third Officer and, as far as this narrative is concerned, then there is the rest of the crew. When a commercial ship prepares to leave a berth each of the senior crew normally take up a position that is according to their seniority. The captain is at the control position, the Chief Officer is normally in charge of the activities at the bow of the vessel, the second officer is normally in charge of the activities at the stern of the vessel and the Third Officer is normally assisting the Captain as required.
The narrative is about seeking adventure but you must always remember that with any adventure comes risk and when we are young, in general, we believe we are invincible and can do no wrong. However, the most important duty of the Skipper is the safety of the crew primarily, the yacht and third parties. You have boarded the yacht, you have met the rest of the crew, you believe you know who the skipper is but, as he has nothing to distinguish him from the rest of the crew, you are not sure. However, before the yacht leaves the berth, the Skipper will give a safety briefing.
The most important points are:- take all necessary precautions to avoid gas, fire, explosion, impact and of course drowning. Ensure that you are always aware of the main beam arc of travel. Remember the golden rule “One hand for the boat one for yourself”. Always know the location of your life jacket, have it adjusted to your size and wear it as appropriate to the conditions at sea. Know the man overboard drill and the process for man recovery. When you get to be a skipper it is best to not show your sailing prowess by attempting to make a “Williamson Turn” under sail. It may impress, when it is a drill, but it could lose a life if in a real emergency. Start the engine in any case of emergency.
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