Sailing Around the World? Here’s How to Prepare
Before taking your motor yacht or sailboat out on the open ocean for weeks, months, or years at a time, there are a lot of important things to consider. Here is a list of things you need to do to prepare for life on the open sea.
Read More: Important Items to Bring on Your Boat
- Communications Plan
- Inform your family and friends back home of your approximate travel itinerary. This is mainly so they don’t worry about your whereabouts.
- As cellphone fees can be extraordinary out at sea, plan ahead by expanding your data plan. And keep in mind that relying on a cellphone alone will not be adequate for long range cruising.
- Ensure you have a working VHF radio onboard and that everyone knows how to use it. A VHF is essential for weather updates, making or responding to mayday calls, and communicating with your fellow cruisers. Make sure your EPIRB (emergency position-indicating radio beacon) is also in working order.
- Ensure you have acquired all the necessary paperwork required to operate your boat. This includes your Registration papers (registration required if leaving Canada) , boat insurance, VHF operator’s certificate, and personal photo identification (passports) for everyone onboard.
- Research any applicable visa requirements for the destination countries you’ll be visiting for long periods of time.
- Plan to obtain all of the paperwork you need well before your intended cast off date to avoid disappointment if paperwork isn’t filed in time.
- Make sure your financials are in order. Pick up foreign currency if you can ahead of time, and let your credit card companies know you’ll be travelling.
- Consider any additional paperwork, such as for your pets.
- Pack the Right Provisions
- Stock your yacht with specialty foods you won’t be able to get in other parts of the world that you might be craving. Some examples include your favourite condiments, coffee and teas, cereals, candies, chocolates, canned soups, and sodas.
- Pack produce that has a long shelf life, like apples and oranges, carrots, celery, and onions, while avoiding produce that perishes quickly, like bananas.
- You can typically source staple foods like rice and beans from your destination countries.
- Remember that going to restaurants while moored or anchored is one of the major expenses of sailing around the world that can be drastically reduced by preparing as much as you can onboard your yacht.
- Toiletries and Medications
- Planning to have enough of the right toiletries and medication on board might take more foresight than you’d think. It takes time to book appointments with your doctor and get prescriptions filled, depending on your physician. Don’t leave this to the last minute!
- Don’t overstock items like over the counter medications, as these have expiration dates. You might also be able to find common OTC medications at your destination countries for much cheaper.
- Check the contents of your First Aid Kit and find out who on board your boat is familiar with everything in it. Does more than one person on board have First Aid training?
- Mechanical, Electrical,& Plumbing
- A boat mechanic can be hard to come by when you’re at sea, so do all you can to learn about the mechanics of your boat. You want to be able to troubleshoot and repair your yacht’s engines and mechanical systems yourself as much as possible. Take classes, watch YouTube videos, and find other boaters who can give you a rundown on your boat. Tinker on land as much as possible prior to your trip.
- Don’t leave home without the tools and spare parts to get jobs done quickly on the go.
- Study your boat’s sink, shower, and toilets to understand how they operate and what to do if there are leaks or clogs.
- Your yacht’s electrical system powers everything from your lights and appliances to your navigational instruments. Study boating manuals and know what batteries on your model need to be prioritized, and how long they last. Again, try for hands-on tinkering where possible.
- Entertainment Options
- Think about how you’ll spend your downtime on the boat in between ports and pack up whatever you’ll need for rainy days, including books, board games, cards, laptops, movies, music, and more.
- Find out ahead of time what your fellow passengers are most looking forward to during the trip. If your goals aren’t all that aligned, it might be worth reconsidering the duration of the trip, or postponing the trip until all parties are “on board”, so to speak.
- If you’ll be working or otherwise checking in with the office from time to time, make sure you have all the supplies you need to earn a living while at sea if need be.
- Ensure everything you need for safety’s sake is accounted for. This includes life rafts, life jackets, that First Aid Kit as mentioned above, fire extinguishers, a working radio (also mentioned above), and the right anchor for the seabeds you’ll be navigating.
- Safety also means ensuring handrails are screwed tightly in place, there are no tripping hazards anywhere, and there are no burned out exterior or interior lights.
- Debrief everyone who will be travelling with you on the location of all safety equipment on board.
- Consult Your Fellow Cruisers
- Before setting out on the journey of a lifetime, ask other boaters for their tips and suggestions. They can be especially helpful when it comes to favourite destinations, routes, durations of stays, dangerous areas, expensive cities, and so on.
- Experienced boaters have up-to-date information as well as the wisdom of trial and error. Learn from them! If you’re new to the yachting community, start by talking to your yacht broker, chat up other boaters entering the marina and at trade shows, and check out online forums.
Be Sure the Boating Lifestyle is Right For You
There are so many things to love about life on a yacht, but it’s understandably not for everyone. Cruising can be considered physically and mentally challenging at times, especially if you’re not used to being away from home for long periods.
Before journeying out for weeks or months at a time, be absolutely certain that yachting for long durations is the right choice for you. Ask yourself, do you have a passion for the outdoors and will you be happy constantly being at the mercy of Mother Nature?
Experiment with any long range cruising “thresholds” you might have by staying close to shore for extended periods at a time before heading out for longer ocean crossings to see how you manage.
When yachting, you might have to contend with things like:
- sea sickness (yourself or your passengers)
- cooking and sleeping while the boat is rocking
- not being able to follow a strict schedule
- not being able to make quick trips to the mall or grocery store
- missing family and friends back home
- anxiety around stormy, rough oceans
- never feeling like your clothing is completely dry
- giving up your regular spa treatments and gym membership
Fortunately, today’s modern yachts provide so many luxuries and comforts that long range cruising can be made ultra-comfortable. From laundry machines to dishwashers and smartphone chargers, to enclosed decks and enough storage for all of life’s necessities on board, modern luxury motor yachts present today’s boaters with everything they need to experience life at home while out at sea.
Many of the yachts for sale at Van Isle Marina are suitable for long range cruising, whether that’s up and down the coastline, or across continents. We hope the above suggestions help you plan for smooth sailing and the trip of a lifetime. Contact us for more information on any of the above or to learn more about our boats for sale.