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VOL. 9 NO. 8
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Second in command

What everyone on board should know

Second in command

I believe there are some essentials all captains should teach their crew.

Learn how to start and stop the engine(s): In my boat the ignition keys are in the cabin, but the start buttons are at the helm; every boat is different, so practice your starting procedure.

Learn about life jackets: Where are they, how do you put them on, and do they have whistles or other safety equipment?

Learn how to put the boat in gear: Knowing how to put the boat in forward and reverse may come in handy.

Learn how to get back to the dock: Should something happen to the captain, what would you do? Getting back to the dock may be the fastest way to get help.

Learn how to pull into the slip: Docking doesn’t need to be pretty, but in an emergency, a little bump at 1 mph should do little to no damage.

Learn how to tie a line around a cleat: A simple figure eight will hold any boat.

Learn how to drop anchor: Dropping an anchor will most likely keep you safe and help calm things down if you can’t drive the boat.

Learn how to use the radio: It’s a fairly safe bet that the boat is equipped with GPS. Find out how to get your latitude and longitude positions from the GPS. With that, the U.S. Coast Guard, police and towing services can pinpoint your exact location. If latitude and longitude aren’t displayed on your GPS, look for it on the small screen of your VHF radio. Most modern VHF radios display your location.

Learn how to use a fire extinguisher: Nothing is more dangerous than a fire aboard a boat. Waste a fire extinguisher or two if you have to, but practice how to handle one.

Learn how to light a flare: and how to hold it safely.

Learn how to untie the boat: It’s never good to tow your dock behind you.

Learn how to disconnect the power cable from the shore power station: Water and electricity do not mix.
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