River sailing doesn’t have to be challenging; it can be a great recreational activity you enjoy with family and friends. Traversing rivers under sail is an excellent way to explore if you have the understanding and knowledge of how your boat responds. In this article, you’ll find great sailing tips that will help you quickly navigate the waters for unforgettable experiences.
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2. Take up a boating safety course
The waterways are unpredictable, and something can unexpectedly go wrong. A 2020 Boating Safety Statistics Report released by the U.S Coast Guard indicated a fatality rate of 6.5 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels, a 25% increase from the previous year’s fatality rate. Operator inexperience was ranked among the top five contributing factors in the accidents. Taking up a boating safety course reduces the chances of you being among the fatality statistics by learning:
- How to use safety equipment
- Survival techniques in the open water
- How to trailer and store your boat
- Rules of the waterway
- Handle challenges you encounter while on the water, like passengers experiencing hypothermia
3. Beware of depths
Depth gives you the weather bank effect, so be sure about it. For example, if you are sailing on Broads, watch out for signs like isolated reeds, which show a shallow patch, and if you are on a tidal river, a chart will show the depth.
4. Avoid alcohol
5. Avoid objects at water level
To avoid forgetting aerial obstructions, don’t plan several tacks. Look out for things like dinghies and bowsprits dangling off davits.
6. Always watch the depth sounder
The wind provides a making tack when it’s not funneling directly up or down the river. Ensure you watch out for the depth sounder as it’s responsible for finishing on the lee show.
7. Don’t sail directly into the wind
Sailing directly into the wind unbalances your vessel and forces it to move sideways, so it’s advisable to sail at an angle of at least 40 degrees.
8. Learn sailing rules
Learning proper sailing rules will help you stay safe while in the waters. The golden rule is to look to the right, give way to the right, turn to the right and stay to the right. Always keep right in channels.
9. Understand the sailing signs
It’s important to know what river signs mean for your safety. For example, follow a red marker when going downstream and a green one when going upstream. Note that the markers should be on the right side of the boat.