Danger Areas on a Boat

By: Safety

When you take ASA 101 Basic Keelboat Sailing, your instructor will reinforce many safety lessons in the curriculum. You will become so well versed in safety terminology that your ability to sail safely and confidently will be rooted in the basic mechanics of being aware while on a sailboat and underway.

However, there are a few things that you should never forget and share with those who go sailing with you.  These are the dangerous areas on a sailboat that all experienced sailors quickly point out. It is important to understand where these areas are and to understand how to be cautious of potential hazards.

Areas on a boat where you should be cautious.

  • Anywhere in or above the plane of the boom. In certain maneuvers, the boom will swing across the cockpit, sometimes with a lot of force. Keep your head down and also stay out of the way of the path of the boom vang and mainsheet as they will follow it. 
  • On the leeward (downwind) side of the boat, especially if the boat is heeling.
  • In the way of the jib and jib sheets during a maneuver. The sail and its sheets are like whips when the sail flaps.
  • Anywhere outside the cockpit, especially when you are walking or standing.
  • At the bow and stern – hang on! The boat’s motion is accentuated here.
  • Near any open hatches or slippery areas on deck such as varnished wood or plastic hatch covers. Walking on a sail is like walking on ice.

Possibly the safest spot on a sailboat is on the windward side of the cockpit below the level of the boom.

Or while at anchor goofing off with your new sailing buddies.

S/V Tina, 53 Jeanneau: Joe C and his wife Anna from Montreal, Canada Chantal B from Montreal, Canada Ken K from Minnesota Alex V from Washington D.C. by way of Wiesbaden, Germany

Tips from the text. These tips are from Sailing Made Easy: The Official Manual for the ASA Basic Keelboat Sailing Course..

Sailing Made Easy Textbook
Garmin