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post #1 of 32 Old 04-04-2016 Thread Starter
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Non Swimming Sailors

How many among us are confident sailors, who also DONT swim?
A lot of people i talk to think its just crazy that i dont swim.

Also, who has learned to swim as an adult, and how'd you do it?
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post #2 of 32 Old 04-04-2016
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Re: Non Swimming Sailors

In then ancient times the sailors were not asked to be swimmers. It was better being drowned immediately if you fall in the drink. The same applies today, if you fall you die, do not fall.
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post #3 of 32 Old 04-04-2016
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Re: Non Swimming Sailors

On our (racing) new crew questionare, we ask if someone can swim.

But it usually shows up right away anyway, they're the guy (and it's always been guys) who never take off their PDF while on the boat. And of course never go for that impromptu swim during postponements.

From a practical side, I CAN notice the difference if the person is deck crew... They always are less sure of themselves. Even with a vest on, they are much more cautious when moving around, even when the conditions situations do not warrant it. I do know boats that make basic swimming ability a crew requirement.

Overall and for cruising I think it matters less. But you have to know your obvious limitations there, and just work (or play) around it!
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post #4 of 32 Old 04-04-2016
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Re: Non Swimming Sailors

I couldn't imagine what it would be like not to be able to swim when messing about with boats. Other than the obvious, all the wonderful times you'd miss snorkeling and just jumping in to cool off on a hot day.
I'd be more than happy to teach you if you wanted to spend a week or so aboard, down here where the water is warm.

"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.
“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

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post #5 of 32 Old 04-04-2016
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Re: Non Swimming Sailors

Rule #1 is 'Stay on the boat'
Rule #2 is 'Stay on the boat'

Rule #3 is 'STAY ON THE $%^#*@ BOAT'

.. so technically swimming is not an issue...
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Re: Non Swimming Sailors

On a racing boat, nearly everbody is working on the boat and if somebody goes into the dink the probability of the boat to save is much more than that of a cruising boat with limited personnel.
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post #7 of 32 Old 04-04-2016
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Re: Non Swimming Sailors

Big issue is not sailing as appropriately stated "stay on the boat". Rather it's maintenance.

Scrubbing the waterline if not the hull, clearing the running gear if God forbid it's necessary. Diving the chain to peak at the set. Doing zincs.

There is huge joy snorkeling off the back of the sugarscoop. Gives motivation to do the waterline.

Would suggest Google adult swim lessons near me and you should be good to go. But please stay on the boat.

s/v Hippocampus
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post #8 of 32 Old 04-04-2016
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Re: Non Swimming Sailors

I can swim, quite well if I have to. I don't enjoy it at all and never do it for recreation. Current boat has a shallow draft, I can anchor and wade around the boat for any maintenance.
I would learn to swim if I were you, handy skill on a boat, I will dive to check an anchor or clear a line from around a prop etc.
My idea of swimming for fun is sitting in my hot tub!
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post #9 of 32 Old 04-04-2016
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Re: Non Swimming Sailors

It depends upon your circumstances.

In our cooler water, you can control your arms and legs for maybe 5 minutes before they start refusing your brain's requests. [You can't even self rescue climbing the boarding ladder... Cold water is why inmates couldn't swim the relatively short distance to the mainland from Alcatraz prison in San Francisco Bay...]

Therefore, we actually tell guests if they fall overboard, don't swim- except maybe to the Dan Buoy, if deployed, and if possible. We teach them to ball up and wait for the boat to return to you [Then we reinforce, "...if you have been well behaved anyway..."]

Consequently, we instill in everyone that the edge of the deck is the same as a 500 foot cliff... Once they see rocks way down in a canyon when looking into the water, they behave differently...

Swimming is moot in such water except for a quick scramble for the boarding ladder while at anchor...

Warmer water is a different story, but I swim more for recreation than survival then, and haven't been in such water in over 25 years...

That 500 foot cliff travels with us everywhere we go...

Safe travels.



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post #10 of 32 Old 04-04-2016
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Re: Non Swimming Sailors

There are individuals and individuals, one issue with non swimmers that I have seen is that they are very insecure to walk on deck let alone do something, as a crew member someone being insecure might not work well when confidence and quick thinking is required.
At the same time, no matter how good a swimmer is in a lot of situations it doesnt make much difference, I wouldnt say the practical aspect of swimming is the most important, but maybe the confidence that comes from it. I do a lot of swimming , as part of training actually, but it wouldnt save me at all in certain situations compared to the non swimmer.

My ex husband wouldnt be able to swim a yard. His ego of course wouldnt let him me teaching him to swim, but I said, ok, we take a private teacher, I will learn some advanced swimming and he can start from scratch. It worked for him. But I equally taught some girlfriends to swim, their egos were just fine. If some lessons are not possible, what I can say is learn first and foremost to be friends with the water, as in, learn to float, just float, just not to fear it, and then the rest sort of comes naturally once you trust yourself not to sink like a log.

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