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Saw a thread recently in the sailing club from a skipper who runs a booze-free boat for safety reasons. They won't allow drinking until the boat is anchored or docked. I've also gone sailing with skippers who will not leave the dock until everyone is wearing a PFD.

I have my own personal opinions about these matters but would love to hear others.

We sail in the Puget Sound, and it's cold enough that if you go overboard you have a limited amount of time before hypothermia sets in, even in the Summer. So I encourage my friends to put on PFDs but if they are just going to relax in the cockpit I don't care too much.

I also don't mind if people drink on my watch. I want my friends to enjoy the sail and if they want a glass of beer or wine, I don't mind.

I'm curious, though, to hear what your comfort zone is regarding PFDs and booze with your guests.
 

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Remember you're a womble
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Kids - PFD on before getting through the gate to the docks and worn until they are back on dry land. No exceptions.
Adults - PFD is optional in the cockpit (or on the dock of course), mandatory outside of it.
Booze - depends on the situation but never more than a beer or two (or glass of wine) unless we are tied up. I only ever take non-sailing friends out when the weather is very benign.
I think it's all about being sensible without being an ass.
 

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Kids - pfd all time.
Adult - up to their own comfort level on pfd.
Drinking - free to drink unless we are racing.
Kids - drink coca cola, water, ....no beer, no alcohol.
Racing - drink only after race and at dock.
 

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First, compliance with local laws is mandatory. Children under 13, must wear a pfd when underway in RI. I do not think there is an open container law on the water, but that should be checked locally as well.

Secondly, the boat itself and weather conditions matter. Beyond the laws, these are the Captain's call. On a sailing dinghy in 25 kts, everyone better expect to end up in the water sooner or later. On a 50 ft keel boat in 10 kts, it would be pretty hard for crew that doesn't leave the cockpit to fall overboard.

I never drink underway, with the rarest exception if we are in calm water, light winds and may have one light beer. By rare, I mean once every other year. I don't even want to be inebriated underway. Too much could happen. I do, however, catch up at anchor. The funny thing about the sea is I find everyone drinks much more than they would on land. Somehow, you don't feel as intoxicated, but you are. One should keep that in mind, if drinking underway.

We don't mandate pfds on our boat. However, in rough conditions, when the crew dons them you can bet the passengers will whether we insist or not. We usually try to avoid those conditions with passengers.
 

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It's a tough one.
I always ensure there's enough PFDs for all onboard, and those who wish may wear one. Children under 13 will wear one.
I'm loathe to take anyone at all who cannot swim.

As for the drinking, never before 10.30am. Never. And never before the end of the first lap while racing.

We are lucky here in Bahrain. The waterways aren't crowded, the breezes are fairly mild, and the sea is shallow. The chances of coming unstuck after making a bad decision due to too much alcohol is remote. Note: I said "too much" alcohol (for me), not excessively inebriated. Guests are free to consume as much as they like, until their attitude starts to stink or they can't control themselves.

I kind of like the attitude of the CG here - they don't bother you unless you are being a complete pratt.
Back home in Oz, some states conduct random BAC testing on skippers! To me that's insanity and way, way over the top.

A bit of self control and responsibility. Idiots will always be there, and with some luck they strengthen the gene pool by removing themselves (hopefully not others) from it.
 

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Captain Obvious
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I will drink a beer or maybe two while sailing during the day. Not more than that if I am skipper. I have crewed on larger boats where they have a full liquor cabinet and encourage you to help yourself. The problem came in once where I had a lot to drink and someone asked me to take the wheel for a spell. I felt I was okay,knew the course and heading and checked chartplotter/ AIS etc..... but of course at that moment a CG boat came alongside for a safety check ....and then I got really worried.:eek:
 
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I dont drink so there is always a sober skipper on board. I dont mind if passengers/crew have a drink or two within reason. everyone always wears a pfd but my crew is pretty in experienced.

this is on 21-23 footers. on my 31 the rules are/will be pfd suggested but unless its blowin and were doing "stuff" just suggested. you're allowed to fall in the puget sound and sink like a rock if you want.
 

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I've never felt the urge to be a babysitter aboard a boat I'm operating. Even before the CG instituted the "dry crew" policy, any crew member was considered an adult and could drink as much as they pleased. Woe be it on them if they ever drank too much, however; that would only happen once.
On USCG COI vessels, children are not required to wear PFD's and the crew usually had way too much to do to be babysitters, so it was made quite clear to the parents that they were responsible for the children under their care.
I pretty much carry that over to my personal boat. Drinking is a personal choice, adults are responsible for their own actions. PFD's are also a personal choice, as are harnesses. Since I will wear neither, I guess I wouldn't be much of a guide as to when someone else should don theirs.
I sincerely believe a child has more need of a PFD when horsing around on the dock, than when sitting calmly in the cockpit or below, but the law is the law, as they say.
 

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When I am in NZ I race in a one design fleet where the stanchions and life lines are removed for quicker headsail sheeting. In the fleet hardly anyone wears PFD regardless of the weather. Though there has been talk in NZ of mandatory PFDs.

As far as drinking, I don't mind it if it is not excessive whether a passenger or crew.

Don't sail much with children but would require PFDs if I did.
 

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you're allowed to fall in the puget sound and sink like a rock if you want.
If it happens, that kind of thing involves you in a *lot* of paperwork with the authorities, and is bound to get you talked about. :)
 

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I think it's all about being sensible without being an ass.
I guess I would be classified as an 'ass'.

I ask that no-one drinks alcohol while we are underway. I couch it as a 'preference' and have yet to have anyone choose to drink.

I also 'strongly recommend' that everyone wears a PFD while underway. We have enough Mustangs to go around so no-one feels too encumbered. I, and my wife, always wear ours. We also have life jackets that some, especially non-swimmers, prefer to wear.

My sailing area is very busy, with police almost constantly in the area. It is illegal to consume alcohol, or have alcohol available, while the boat is underway - this goes for crew and passengers:

"Under what circumstances is it illegal to transport alcohol?
It is illegal to transport beverage alcohol in a motor vehicle, a motorized snow vehicle or a boat unless the beverage alcohol is in a container that is unopened and the seal unbroken, or unless the beverage alcohol is packaged in baggage that is fastened closed or is not otherwise readily available to anyone in the vehicle. In a boat, the beverage alcohol must be stored in a closed compartment. (Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario)

"What boats may carry alcohol in Ontario?
A boat with permanent sleeping accommodations and permanent cooking and sanitary facilities, other than a boat used to carry passengers for hire, is considered to be a private place while the boat is at anchor or is secured to the dock or land. (Sec.3/7 Read Ontario Liquor Licence Act for more.)"

All that said however, once the hook has dropped, or we're tied off on a dock or mooring: the bar's open.
 
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Sea Sprite 23 #110 (20)
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as a non-drinker.. no alcohol aboard my boat. Sorry, but I work with a -lot- of drunks (I occasionally work in a couple of nightclubs) and I can't stand them

my boat is 23 feet.. so PFDs are also mandatory underway
 

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I dont drink and would rather all on board be sober or near sober.
I ask on the dock if people can swim. All Children and non swimmers will wear PFD's at all times. No exceptions. I have been involved in a knock down and it was not pretty. This changed my ideas about PFD's
 

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Kynntana (Freedom 38)
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To me, PFDs are like seat belts -- no one used to wear them, but look at the data and it's pretty convincing that they save lives. Most of my friends are sailors and/or racers. They just don't leave the dock without a PFD on, so it's never an issue, but I don't enforce it either. I agree with the poster that PFDs become even more important when sailing in cold water areas.

We usually wait until the end of the sail and are back at the dock to start drinking. Not a rule though and it just depends on the conditions.
 

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Short of a glass of wine or a bottle of beer with supper each night on a long passage, and a little glass of Port afterward, we do not permit alcohol consumption on the boat while underway and only a limited amount when anchored, considering that one never knows when one might need to get underway in short order in which case one needs ones whits about them. We require children under 16 to wear PFD's when topside and by anyone that leaves the cockpit to work on deck. Fortunately, we have a good supply of inflatable PFD's as well as the non-inflatable type so everyone aboard can be fitted out when necessary. In crappy weather, everyone coming topside is required to wear a PFD and depending upon how crappy, potentially tethers.

I have friends and relatives that will not sail with us because of our rules. They are the rules, however, just as is not moving the car until everyone is buckled up, and they are immutable. Better safe than sorry, eh?
 
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Captain Obvious
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I forgot to add my pdf policy. Kids and non swimmers must wear at all times. We have a 10 second safety briefing before setting out something like; here is where the pdf's are, under mild conditions you don't have to wear them.... if at some point during the sail it gets rough and we order you to put one on for safety you will do it promptly, no one goes forward without permission, you can be told to change seats... if we close the hatch boards and or order you into the cabin.....well that is basically if things get bad... you can be yelled at. Take nothing personal.

Almost never happens. I've had to order life jackets on once. I've had to tell people to get in the cabin once. Hatch boards in and lockers locked once. different times, stangely enough.

I see a beer as more of a legal issue than a safety issue. It depends on the person too. For example if its grandpa, if he is a respected salt and can handle himself I say nothing. If he gets a ticket its his ticket.
 

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I've never been in a situation where I've had to think about it. My friends are generally smart enough to handle themselves, and if they weren't I don't think I'd want to go sailing with them.

I've sailed without a PFD, but I usually wear one. I've had a beer while sailing (which is legal here, as long as I don't over the legal DUI limit), but most of the time I don't.
 

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No alcohol while underway but I relax that a little for racing, no alcohol gun-to-gun.

PFDs are worn sunset-sunrise or whenever a sail is reefed. PFDs are required for non-swimmers or kids. If I'm alone, I wear a PFD.

We give a 5-10 minute presail for those new to the boat. I have a laminated sheet that I pass out for those new to the boat which I summarize during the pre sail. The sheet summarizes tips, safety, PFD, fire extinguisher locations, etc. Most of those new to the water have told me that they feel safer having received the laminated sheet and briefing and knowing what to expect. Oddly, a number of people are unaware that sailboats heel and are freaked out when it happens... so I brief it.
 

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Pretty Simple Rules on Our Boat

  1. All folks wear PFD once off hook or away from dock. Kids, Adults, Captain, Admiral, doesn't matter.
  2. No one leaves cockpit unless instructed by captain or admiral while underway.
  3. No booze period while at sea. On the hook or at dock, go nuts.
These are stated well before they arrive at the dock, so that their are no surprises.

Re: PFD wearing - If you go overboard, it's the only thing that will keep you afloat. Even good swimmers get tired and drown. If you get hurt while falling out of boat, chances are you are no condition to tread water or swim, hence the need for floatation. PFD's now are so comfy, you're stupid not to wear one.

Re: Booze - Things can go wrong real quick in a sailboat, more so than a powerboat. I need everyone to be clear thinking, alert, and paying attention while underway. If I am responsible for their lives, they play by my rules or no go. Fake beer is fine for drinking while underway.
 
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At my Helms 27
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land lubbers on sailboats is always problematic. I usually give simple, firm and sensitively phrased instructions prior to leaving a slip. There's always a fine line between getting the best information across without scaring the hell out of everybody. I have found itmost helpful 2 tell passengers that the boat is going to heel and that it doesn't mean we're going to tip over or sink. As far as personal flotation devices are concerned others have already addressed that issue intelligently. alcohol at anchor is OK. telling passengers what to wear before they get to the slip avoids many problems. I had too many arrive in flip flops with a cigarette in one hand and a cocktail of the other.
 
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