Wear a PFD, and you might need a wetsuit, but that depends on where you are. If you're in New England or the Pacific Northwest, then I would recommend a wetsuit... if you're in Pensacola, FL, then you might not need one.
I'd also highly recommend you carry a rigging knife... preferably one you can open one-handed... If you get caught in the rigging in a capsize, it could be the difference between making it out or not.
A while back a young girl in Greece was sailing on a small beach cat, and it capsized and no one had a knife... and she drowned. Not good, but was totally avoidable.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.