Vacation Safety 101: Traveling by Sea

Vacation Safety 101: Traveling by Sea

 

If daydreams of a spending lazy afternoons floating in the pool or laying by the beach come a beckoning—it may be time to escape from your daily routine and go on a well deserved vacation with your family.

Traveling by sea, whether it be a yachting adventure, fishing expedition, a cruise to the Bahamas or island hoping by way of local ferries—preparing your family of basic water safety guidelines is something very few vacationers take advantage of.

The following safety information will equip you and your family of fundamental information that will help ensure a safe and hassle-free vacation experience:

Traveling by Cruise Ship

Booking a vacation on a cruise is an exciting venture. From personal butlers, 24-hour buffet service, unique locations, diverse entertainment, romantic evenings and spending quality time with your family—a vacation via cruise ship is one of life’s great luxuries.

The notion that cruise ship personnel take care of all impending threats and guarantee safety to all vacationers is greatly incorrect. Sure, you’re not captaining the vessel—so drinking, sleeping and relaxing may be of top priority to you versus providing your family with basic safety guidelines.

But for those with a family of young children, teaching them rudimentary information about boat safety, who talk to with if lost, where to go during an emergency, what to do during the evacuation process, how to properly use a life jacket, and consulting with them during the safety drill, are essential.

Just like you would at home, use common sense to decipher potentially threatening situations.

Regarding older children or teenagers that are more likely to spend time alone or with friends, talk to them about the dangers of drink spiking, suspicious activity to look out for, sexual assault, crime prevalent to the area (when anchored in a new city or location), what makes you a vulnerable target (e.g., drinking alcohol, carelessness with your money and/or wallet, etc.)

Regarding older children or teenagers that are more likely to spend time alone or with friends, talk to them about the dangers of drink spiking, suspicious activity to look out for, sexual assault, crime prevalent to the area (when anchored in a new city or location), what makes you a vulnerable target (e.g., drinking alcohol, carelessness with your money and/or wallet, etc.)

Inter Island Ferry

Traveling by ferry or inter island vessels is a wonderfully efficient, cost-friendly way to experience different nearby locations during a vacation. Unlike commercial cruise liners, however, inter island ferries are more susceptible to issues regarding passenger safety, in particular, inter island ferries are more prone to capsizing versus different types of boating experiences. In the unlikely event of such circumstances, it’s imperative that you and your family are best prepared during an emergency; for example, understanding these signals of:

  • Fire – one long, continuous ring
  • Individual(s) overboard – three individual whistle sounds; in the case of a rescue attempt, to not hinder emergency personnel or crowd area of impending rescue.
  • Emergency raft stations – seven quick, individual whistle sounds and one long whistle.

Personal boating or leisurely activities

When participating to travel in your own boating voyage, safety guidelines need to be thoroughly addressed and comprehensibly evident to all of your boating party. Captaining your own vessel should take into consideration of:

  • Weather reports (local and national sources).
  • Developing a float plan.
  • Lifejacket tutorial.
  • Pre-departure checklist of boating essentials.
  • Completing a boating course.
  • Demonstrating to your boating party how to properly use emergency equipment/communication with emergency personnel, such as using an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRP) or Personal Locator Beacon (PLB).
  • Participating in a free vessel safety inspection provided for the United States Coast Guard.

If opting to travel with independent tour services, safety standards largely differentiate between businesses. However, use your common sense regarding boat safety knowledge to evaluate your captain’s experience. Pay close attention to his or her safety equipment positioning, such as where the flairs or lifejackets are on the boat. Depending on your captain, you may or may not be completed with safety guidelines; if so, don’t be afraid to take charge and demonstrate to your boating party (e.g., your family) of how to properly prepare yourself in the event of an emergency.

Limit your alcohol use

Whether you’re operating your own boat, on a cruise, ferry or on a friend’s boat, it’s important that you keep your wits about you during water travel. Sure, vacationing and alcohol most defiantly coincide with each other; however, between ensuring your family’s wellbeing, possibly being in a foreign location, customs, ticketing, the likelihood of having to swim and a host of other situations that apply to boat travel—limiting your alcohol use will ensure that you’re ready to tackle whatever tribulation may be thrown your way.