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Making Ready: Check Your Gear Before Setting Sail

Posted on 15 March 2011

Local waters in and around the Peconic Bays offer great opportunities to pull into hidden coves. Outfitter Bob Sullivan of Sag Harbor Sailing recommends a checklist before heading out for a day sail.

Check the weather and tide, which is something you can do in advance. A tide chart will show you how the waters can help you on a day sail around Shelter Island, for example. If leaving from Noyac Bay, an outgoing tide in the morning will help you out to Gardiner’s Bay, while the afternoon incoming tide will help you back around the north side of the island and home to Noyac. Be prepared for the weather, bring a hat, sunscreen and gear if the weather looks like it may turn for the worse.

Sullivan also points out that the US Coast Guard requires vessels to have unexpired flares onboard, as well as life vests for passengers under 12, a noisemaker like a whistle or horn, a fire extinguisher and distress flag. Sullivan also recommends a flashlight and First Aid kit in case of emergencies.

Sullivan also recommends filing a float plan with friends or relatives to let them know where you’re headed.

There are also several new electronic aids you can access through your smartphone, including an app through the Weather Channel which gives you real time weather radar, and Navionics offers digital versions of local charts and another for determining the tides. Sullivan said there is even an app that will allow you to measure the strength of the wind, simply by holding the microphone of your smartphone up to the wind.

Lastly, Sullivan recommends having a VHF radio onboard.

“If your cell phone falls in the water, you’ll still be able to contact Sea Tow or another rescue outfit if you get in trouble,” Sullivan said.

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