Filed Under (Boating Safety) by Debbie on 04-08-2007

Dreaming of fair winds and far away places? Is blue water sailing calling to you or maybe your better half? If it’s your guy that’s dreaming and maybe dragging you along you’re probably feeling a bit nervous. It’s understandable that you’d be wary; few of us ever take that last step and slip the lines to sail away.


If you’ve read any of my blog you’re aware that I firmly believe a woman can and should know how to do just about everything the men do. I will climb the mast, change the oil, chart a course, man (woman) the helm, dock the boat, hoist the sail and all things boating requires. I maybe intimidated and I may mess up but I’m going to do it. This is how the guys learn ladies….


So, if you find yourself with a man who’s been seduced by the sea then let me give you my best suggestions for your own survival and peace of mind and possibly your partner’s survival and peace of mind too. I believe you should be able to do the following without assistance or direction. I can do all but four of the items listed and I plan on learning them.

  1. Hoist and lower or furl the sails;

  2. Trim the sails correctly (still working on it);

  3. Steer the boat on a compass course plus on an apparent wind course;

  4. Know what point of sail you’re on;

  5. Turn your boat either by jibing or tacking;

  6. Know when to reduce sail (I find women are generally much more cautious and reduce sail before the need is upon them…just learn to read the weather);

  7. Start the engine (you can’t just turn the key on a diesel engine);

  8. Drive the boat under power;

  9. Be able to dock the boat;

  10. Be able to drop the hook (anchor) and it’s really great if you can bring it back up (We haven’t yet on the sailboat);

  11. Check the engine oil (oh, come on!);

  12. Navigate…yes it would be great to be able to use a sextant (I need to learn);

  13. Know how to use all your electronic devices, especially the navigation ones;

  14. Know how to use the VHF radio;

  15. Know how to perform a man over board recovery (I understand but haven’t practiced);

  16. Know how to use the dingy;

  17. Know how to deploy the life raft;

  18. Understand jack lines and how to hook up a harness;

  19. Be able to change fuel filters;

  20. Be able to replace the impellor.

I believe if you can do these things, your cruising life will be much easier. There will always be times of stress and uncertainty but you should be able to actively keep yourself safe. Which I hope will make your life with your mate much happier!


I’m sure that others could add to my list but these are the ones I felt each person (especially if you’re a couple on a boat) should know how to do. If your guy gives you grief about learning them, point out that his life might someday depend on you being able to do any or all of the above.


If you are or have been cruising and see something that you feel should be on the list, please leave that information on the comments. Thank you for visiting!

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