April 13, 2007
Coach Boats - The Need For Safe Boating
Coach boats, safety boats, and spectator boats are becoming more and more prevalent at sailing regattas. It’s essential for those of us who operate them to remain alert and aware of our surroundings at all times. We need to not only be mindful of where we’re heading, but also of our wake and their effects on other boaters – most importantly the sailors.
I read an article this morning on the Scuttlebutt newsletter (a great daily sailing e-newsletter) with a disturbing heading “Coach Boat Accident” – obviously I read more. It talks about a recent accident at a Laser regatta in Spain in which a sailor got their hand jammed between two Lasers as a result of two coach boats speeding past their tow line. It goes on to talk about a horrific accident in Greece back in August of 2002 when a boardsailor was run over by a coach boat. Click here for a link to the article. These two instances should make us all take pause.
There’s no doubt that RIBs make excellent coach boats because of their stability, soft forgiving sides, and performance, but we must remember that they don’t make the operator invincible. When operating a RIB, or any powerboat, at a regatta (or anytime on the water for that matter) move about the course carefully and slowly making sure to always look around you. Having run and coached at countless regattas myself, there is very rarely a need to go faster than headway speed – let’s face it, most of the time a slow but steadily moving powerboat will always get from Point A to Point B faster than a sailboat.
A RIB is not much different than owning a four wheel drive SUV. Just because you’re in an SUV during a snow storm doesn’t mean you should speed down the road at full speed – the roads are still slippery and all the four wheel drive in the world isn’t going to stop you any faster. Likewise –the safety and performance of a RIB doesn’t offer any additional safety to other boaters if you’re speeding around and not paying attention to who else is out there. Like the SUV in snow – just because a RIB can handle chop and rough weather better than a hard sided boat, doesn’t mean you should push it and stop exercising good judgment.
Please remember to always stay alert and be aware. For those of us in the industry, this just points to another good example of the need for boating safety and boat handling education.
Posted by ribcraftusa at April 13, 2007 08:54 AMBack To Index