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Safe Sailing: How to Choose A Safe Sailboat

Safe Sailing How to Choose A Safe Sailboat

There are certain non-negotiables every boat owner should have. These include a comprehensive Boat Insurance policy, an in-depth knowledge of nautical terms and boating procedures, and a safe boat. If your vessel of choice is a sailboat, skill and safety are especially important because sailboats require a higher degree of dexterity to operate and are more fastidious than motor boats.

Safety Features to Look for When You’re Sailboat Shopping

Sailboats are highly technical and assessing their safety level may seem like a daunting challenge if you’re not familiar with boat design. A great starting point for assessing safety are the following conclusions from the Cruising Club of America report on boat safety:

  • Larger boats are generally safer than smaller boats.
  • A sailboat without its mast is less safe than one carrying its full rig.
  • Every boat has an “inherent stability range” that can be calculated based on the boat’s lines and specifications. Anything under 120 degrees is unsafe, because in the event of a capsize, those boats may remain inverted for up to 2 minutes – trapping occupants. When shopping for sailboats, ask the sales person what the boat’s stability range is. Or, contact USSailing, which has these measurements for many mass-produced boats.

Need to Know Number: Capsize Screening Formula

One of the biggest dangers of sailboat cruising is that the boat could capsize. According to Boats.Com, before you buy a boat, you should plug its numbers into the following formula:

Capsize Screening Rating = Boat’s Maximum Beam (feet)/Cube Root (Gross Displacement/64)

In other words, divide the boat’s gross displacement (in pounds) by 64, then determine the cube root of that quotient. Next, divide the cube root into the boat’s maximum beam (in feet). The answer you get is known as the boat’s Capsize Screening Number. If that number is two or less, the boat passes this important safety test. In general, anything over 2 is a failing score and indicates the boat’s stability is questionable. In rough sailing conditions, a boat with a failing capsize screening rating is at heightened risk of capsizing. If you’re serious about safety, you should probably move on and look for another boat.

About Mariners Insurance

Mariners Insurance was founded in 1959 to protect boat owners and marine business clients. We are marine insurance experts, and insure boats worldwide – in every ocean on the planet. Marine insurance is critical if you own a boat or nautical business. Trust the professionals – trust Mariners Insurance. Call us, 888-402-5018, any time you have questions or concerns about insurance for your vessel or marine business.