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Night Sailing: Seven Main Tips to be Safe and Happy

If you plan to do a bit of night sailing, there are several things that you need to consider. Here are several tips to keep in mind if you’re going to be sailing at night.

Personal Flotation Device

We understand that life jackets might not be comfortable, but when you’re sailing at night it’s a very good idea to have your personal flotation device on. Some personal flotation devices can have a beacon or light attached to them which makes it easier to find you in the water if you happen to fall overboard. by using a personal flotation device, you simply improve your safety when on the water at night time.

Clear and Safe Waypoints

You should make good use of your electronic sailing aids to ensure boating safety at night. You should also make sure that the waypoints you have entered your navigational aid are correct so you don’t have any mistakes while sailing at night. Make note of your surroundings such as islands and other obstacles to ensure that each one of your waypoints from point A to B is going to be safe for you to sail through.

Know Light Patterns

When you sail at night you may encounter other boats, so it’s critical that you understand the lights on other boats. This will let you understand what is going on out on the water. When you understand what the various lights mean and what they are doing, this will help keep you safe and reduce confusion.

Night Sailing fastnet
©Rolex/ Kurt Arrigo

Dress for Weather

At night you’re naturally not going to have the warmth of the sun so you should dress according to the weather. On the water at night time, it can become quite chilly even if the daytime temperatures have been hot. If you want to enjoy your time on the water, make sure you have proper attire for nighttime sailing.

Have a Watch

While you want to enjoy sailing at night you should also have someone as a lookout and a watch. There’s going to be restricted visibility so even though moonlight might give you some light, you should still have somebody watching things as you sail. It might be boring being on a watch, but it’s essential to ensure safety. If you boating alone, you’re going to be the person on the watch so you must not only steer your boat but be cautious of where you’re going.

No Need to Rush

At night time it’s a good idea to run your boat a little slower. At night time you want things to be safer and you can have a better experience if you’re not sailing as fast as you might say out during the day. You won’t have as much reaction time at night so it’s a good idea to keep things slow and easy during a nighttime sail.

Good Searchlight

Your eyes will become accustomed to sailing in the darkness, but you still want to have a good Searchlight in case of emergencies. You may need the flashlight when you want to verify a navigational aid, come into the harbor to park your boat, or try to identify something in the water that might be foreign such as a log or other small obstacle that might be dangerous to your boat. You should have a good searchlight for all situations because you never know what you might encounter in the water at night time.

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