Yachting Safety Tips
Yachting safety tips are always welcome, specially when adding a more local perspective to your tour. When visiting Puerto Plata, many travelers have already booked their Sosua yacht charter to enjoy a pleasant sailing day in the ocean, or have a booze cruise party. Follow these tips to stay safe on the water, the list is born out of more than a decade experience dealing with yacht charters.
Weather: Even if you think the boat operator will handle this, take a minute to check the local weather. Even if the day is clear and perfect looking, wave conditions and ground swells can make it unsafe. Usually a red flag is posted by the local authorities if conditions are not safe for boating.
Hand rule: When boating, you need two feet in the boat and one hand on a rail. Anyone walking freely on a boat with two hands busy carrying food or drinks is doomed to take a fall. A boat moves when in the water, and only super yachts are big enough to effectively offset the sea movements.
Children: always must wear a flotation device, because children move fast and many are unpredictable. Kids will be a main priority, and parents or principal renter is responsible to keep someone watching the children at all times. Most tours will not allow children under 10 years of age, and will have the parents sign off a waiver of responsibility.
Mobile Phones: Mobile phones are the most common casualty in boats, as phones are meant to be held, yes, in the hand. To have a smart phone these days mean you`ll want it close for those perfect shots in your yacht tour. The safest way to bring a phone to a boating excursion or party is to have a cover with a lanyard, that either goes in the wrist or the neck. Many good models are found online in Amazon or Ebay.
Skin Care: Everyone loves to have good skin, and the number one enemy is, like you guessed, the sun. Setting aside Vitamin D, the sun does harm skin, so be sure to apply sun protection all over your exposed body before going boating. Read the product label to find out how long it is effective for, and reapply as needed every few hours.
Wearing a hat or cap is advised, and if you plan to get tanned do it between 8-11am or 4-6pm when the sun is not at its peak. For your eyes it is recommended to wear good sunglasses that offer real UV protection. Ineffective sunglasses dilate the pupil and offer no protection, worsening the eyes.
Motion sickness: those who are not seasoned boaters are prone to motion sickness, which translates to motion sickness; the effects are feelings of nausea, dizziness, headaches and vomiting, even cold sweats. Taking a dramamine pill 30-60 minutes before boarding the yacht will help cope with the effects. Get fresh air: If you are already feeling ill, go out to an open deck or window, and get fresh air into your lungs.
The first thing the tour principal must do is ask everyone if they have been on a boat before, and if they need to take the pill. Small children must never be given the pill unless talking to their doctor first. If you have a health condition, read this article before considering taking dramamine.
On Video: How to avoid sea sickness
Shoes: Most boats will collect everyone’s shoes and place them in a special bucket, rendering useless to wear your favorite shoes. In Sosua, going on a yacht or catamaran tour means getting into a fast boat on the beach shore. You might get a bit wet on the feet during the transfer from beach to boat and then to the yacht in the bay. Consider flip flops or shoes that won’t be ruined if getting wet.
Sun Pads /Sun Deck Use: Having a great time in a yacht means laying in a sun pad with our favorite drink among friends, please make sure that when the boat is moving everyone is sitting or standing grabbing a rail, not laying in the sun pads as it can get dangerous the boat turns or rides a wave. Always follow all yachting safety tips so the group can have an awesome time without accidents.
All charter tours make several stops at various locations, so there will be plenty of time to sunbathe in style. This rule does not apply to very big yachts (80 ft or longer) that enclose the area in protective fashion, when sailing at acceptable speeds. Knowing the power yacht types helps if you are not familiar with boating but you`re renting one for the next vacation trip. Locating the various areas in advance can be interesting.
Hydration: The sea is all about sun, salty wind and thirst. The average body loses about 2.5 quarts of water every day; we lose fluids every time we breathe, as the lungs humidify the air we breathe. Also when we sweat, because the skin produces perspiration to cool off when our temperature increases.
Dehydration is common to boaters, so water is always ready in bottles to be consumed, specially by those drinking alcohol in a charter. The smartest rule is to drink water for every two glasses of alcohol; also to have a full stomach before drinking.
The American Dietetic Association uses this scale for the progressive effects of dehydration:
|Loss of body water||Progressive effects|
|2–5%||Dry mouth, flushed skin, fatigue, headache, impaired physical performance|
|6%||Increased body temperature, rate of breathing and pulse rate, dizziness, weakness|
Alcohol consumption creates a fine line not to be crossed between having a booze party or engaging in water activities. Alcohol dehydrates people, impairs the muscles, balance, judgment and coordination. Many people have drowned for attempting to swim after heavy drinking, and their muscles just didn’t do the job. If you will drink, make it a yacht party and forget about jumping in the water.
Yacht Food: the simple rule of drinking applies here, always have a full stomach. Not all the foods are recommended in a yacht, and if you are on a party you should know that drinking beer requires less heavier food than having scotch or vodka. The menu in the charter must be made available online so its passengers know what to expect.
Sosua Catamaran & Yacht Charters have a catering section where the included menu is listed, and the extras as well. Finger foods are recommended, though the menu varies with the scheduled time; morning cruises will see more fruits and breakfast than noon and evening cruises. The same happens with the drinks, as morning will be more about beer and cocktails, and afternoon/evening heavier will see heavier drinks.
Yachting safety tips will help make the most out of your yacht charter, be it a party in Sosua or a sailing experience in Puerto Plata. Always consult this type of guide when you book a tour and are not yet familiar with the nautical environment of a yacht or boat. This article is for private chartered tours, where the charter agency provides the crew. If you are sailing the boat yourself we recommend these sources:
Have a happy cruise!