Every time we go sailing, whether the guests have been on the boat a hundred times, I do a short safety briefing. I cover what to do in the event of a man overboard (I’ve been overboard twice in the past 45 years), the location of lifejackets, fire extinguishers (I had an engine fire once), first aid kits and exit routes. For offshore passages there is a lot more in preparation. Kids most wear a lifejacket at all times not in the saloon whether we are in port or underway – no exceptions. The reason I do the safety briefing is not to make anyone a safety expert but to sensitize everyone as to the importance of safety. If someone dies, it will likely ruin the sail for the entire day.
We carry all the safety equipment required by USCG, the Transpac and ARC committees and some stuff unique to us. Inflatable life jackets for the crew with harnesses and automatic lights, a liferaft, an EPIRB, a Garmin InReach, a Satphone and a portable VHF – all for communication. Jack lines run along the deck to attach to going forward. We have two small and one large first aid kit and a defibulator. Sailing offshore and the crew is required to wear a harness at night, when alone on deck, when going forward, during any emergency or when the weather requires as determined by me. Although I have recently complete a CPR/First Aid course, I am certainly not an expert. We could do more. For example, I elected to go with a single personal AIS as I found they are a bit bulky and although some fit inside the PFD they may discourage someone from wearing them. A single person on watch will carry it in their pocket.
To date, our typical emergency have been a cut or a sprain. A couple of the regular crew are real bleeders so lots of band aids get used. We are often far from medical help so I worry about this the most.