Welcoming someone new to your boat can be an exciting experience, but it also comes with responsibilities. Whether your guest is new to boating or an experienced sailor, it’s important to ensure their safety and comfort throughout the journey. Here’s a guide to introducing someone new to boating in the UAE.
1. Inform Them of Your Responsibilities
As the skipper of the boat, you are entirely responsible for the welfare and well-being of everyone onboard. Make sure your guests are aware of this and inform them that you have the necessary marine license required in the UAE.
2. Conduct a Safety Briefing
Before setting sail, conduct a thorough safety briefing. Show your guests where the lifejackets are stored and how to put them on. Demonstrate how to activate the Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) and show them the location of the flares, torch, and bailing bucket. If your boat is equipped with a fire extinguisher, explain how to use it by aiming at the base of the flames rather than the top.
3. Demonstrate the Use of Safety Equipment
Don’t just tell your guests about the safety equipment; show them how to use it. Put on a lifejacket yourself to demonstrate how it is fitted and, if it’s an inflatable one, how to deploy it.
4. Explain the Basics of Driving a Boat
Boats drive very differently from cars. Give your guests an introduction to how the boat steers from the rear, how to change the gearshift from forward to reverse, and to neutral, and how to turn the engine on or off. If your boat is fitted with a kill switch, explain its function and how to re-fit it to the throttle and shift controller or dashboard.
5. Show Them How to Use the Radio
A VHF radio is a vital piece of safety equipment on a boat. Show your guests how to send a distress call and explain the importance of the Digital Call Select system, which automatically alerts all boats within range if you are in trouble.
6. Set Expectations for the Journey
Let your guests know what to expect during the journey. If the sea is going to be rough, inform them in advance and make it clear that they can ask you to slow down if they are not comfortable with the speed. Also, inform them about the possibility of seasickness and what to do if they start to feel queasy.
7. Communicate Clearly During Water Sports
If you plan on towing anyone behind the boat, make sure they know how to communicate with the observer. Go through all the hand signals needed, including the important ones like ‘slow’, ‘stop’, and the two signals for ‘okay’.
Ensuring the safety and comfort of your guests is paramount when introducing someone new to boating. By conducting a thorough safety briefing, demonstrating the use of safety equipment, and setting clear expectations for the journey, you can ensure a pleasant and memorable experience for everyone onboard.