Basic Boat Standards

August 7, 2002

Any vessel venturing into the ocean should be structurally sound and built with appropriate attention to ABYC standards and equipped according to USCG regulations. If you have any doubts about your boat, consult a skilled marine surveyor.

While this summer cruise is far from being a lengthy ocean crossing, the conditions encountered will be more demanding than those found on Long Island Sound or the Chesapeake Bay. Be prepared for more rigorous sailing. Start by looking over the ORC regulations. (To order from US Sailing call the Publications Department at 800-877-2451.) Pay special heed to sections that deal with the following points:

  • Check windows, lockers, hatches and companionway slides, all of which seal the vessel from water during heavy weather
  • Check sails. Make sure you have a storm jib and well-reinforced reef points on the mainsail, as well as appropriate hardware and rigging to use them effectively
  • Double-check lifelines, gates, jacklines and harnesses for every crew member
  • Test bilge pumps (manual and electric)
  • Inspect the rigging. Look for missing cotter pins as well as signs of wear, where necessary. Replace rather than gamble
  • Lash down loose gear and prepare for bouncing around in ocean swells
  • Check the engine, charging system, battery banks, navigation lights and safety gear
  • Be sure the radar reflector has a means for hoisting or a more permanent mast attachment
  • Inspect ground tackle that you may have to count on to weather a gale
  • Hose down the decks and look for potential leak points at sea

— Ralph Naranjo


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