Top Tips for Sailing Safe – Avoiding Uncharted Hazards

When cruising amongst unfamiliar islands and discovering new shorelines,  you may have the benefit of a lifting keel or shallow draft catamaran enabling you to get closer inshore. These attributes may encourage you to venture closer in than you might have otherwise.

Of course exploring somewhere new is one of the joys of a sailing adventure.

However many areas are still covered by charts relying on hazard surveys conducted by men in rowing boats with leadlines.

So have a good look at your large scale paper chart before going in; don’t rely on what is shown on your chartplotter.

Even then have someone on the bow paying attention to changes in the colour of the water directly ahead. Those yachts comfortably anchored may be behind a submerged reef.

Try to proceed in on a visible transit and come out on the reciprocal course having first reminded yourself of the local hazards obvious on the chart.

Be sensitive to the effect of tides and currents putting you close to offshore dangers as you come back off the beach. Yachts and natural obstacles rarely coexist happily!