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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #1  
Old 11-28-2011
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Safest way to board or disembark

I've noticed that there are a lot of first time boaters on this site recently so I thought I would mention a tip taught to me by a yacht broker of 50 years experience.

Getting on an off a sailboat can be a challenge for folks not used to it.

The following tip is the safest way to get on an off most small boats.
Of course bigger boats may have too much free-board and supply dock steps etc.

Getting off the boat.
1. Walk up the side deck holding the cabin top hand-hold and/or lifelines until you are at the shrouds.
2. Holding on the shroud lift one foot over the life-line and stand on the toe rail.
3. Still holding on to the shroud lift the other foot over the life-line so now both legs are now outside the lifelines.
4. Now you can lower yourself and put one foot on the dock and then the other.

Notice that before attempting to get to the dock both feet are outside the life-line.
Also notice that you are not committed to anything until both feet are securely on the dock.

Some beginners attempt to step to the dock with one foot inside the life-line and one on the dock with disastrous results.

Getting on the boat is the same just in reverse.

This technique is often safer than dropping the life-lines at the stern and trying to hop off.
The hop off technique will work 99 out of 100 times but if you are not hanging on you can slip and have a spill. Which is undignified.
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Old 11-28-2011
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Good post, David..

Even on boats with gates, this might be the preferred way to get off. OTOH often if the dodger frame has outboard handles these can assist/ease the step up to and down off the deck, freeboard and dock height allowing.

Agree the 'hop', used by so many, can become undignified if not disastrous..
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Old 11-29-2011
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Hey,

How about a real challenge: boarding a boat on a mooring, when you arrive in a dingy.

If the boat doesn't have a swim platform or walk through transom, it can be comical, dangerous or both, depending on your point of view. Even with a nice swim platform it's a challenge.

The main problem is holding the dink steady while you try to stand up and grab something sturdy while not tipping the dink over or letting it move away as you step. My wife is very graceful about it. My 75 year old Dad is not, but he's only fallen in once. Now add coolers and bags of gear, and the people in the mooring field get a nice comedy show!

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Old 11-29-2011
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Originally Posted by BarryL View Post
Hey,

How about a real challenge: boarding a boat on a mooring, when you arrive in a dingy......
Fender steps are very helpful.

Dan-Fender FenderStep
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Old 11-29-2011
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The main problem is holding the dink steady while you try to stand up and grab something sturdy while not tipping the dink over or letting it move away as you step.
If you're in an inflatable, tipping the dinghy is not a problem as long as you don't step on the pontoon with nobody else aboard. However, they do like to slide away. I find spring lines to cleats or stanchions help a lot with this, though only in the fore-and-aft direction. Beyond that it's a matter of standing straight up and not clutching the boarding ladder for dear life, which tends to push the dinghy away.
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Old 11-29-2011
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I try to get everyone trained to get off the dinghy without it being secured by lines or crew. The trick is to get your first foot onto the boat without pushing off on the dinghy. Then transfer all your weight to that foot before lifting the one still in the dinghy. When handing gear from the dinghy to the boat we try to make the hand-to-hand transfer OVER the boat, not over the water (especially with cameras, phones, beer, dogs, etc.).
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Old 01-18-2012
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My guess is that more people are injured getting on and off boats, and docking, than all other sailing activities. It's like driving to and from the airport is the most dangerous part of flying.
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