Sailboating Safety and Health | A Beginning Guide

Disclaimer: The following excerpt from is being provided to raise awareness on sailing and boating safety for informational purposes only. It does not constitute an endorsement or an approval by Pierpont Bay Yacht Club of any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation, organization or individual.

Is Sailing Safe?

Sailing seems quite intimidating to a total landlubber, but in fact, there are surprisingly few sailing accidents and issues when approached with common sense.
Statistics show that for every 100,000 people, five will die in a boating accident, vs. 11 who will die in an automobile accident.
Additionally, most boating accidents involve:
  • Boats with motors
  • Failure to have/wear lifejackets
  • Consumption of alcohol
Let’s take a closer look at some of the safety concerns of beginning sailors:


Sailboats are very difficult to “capsize”, which is the dreaded tipping over. Sailboats are designed and built to resist capsizing. In fact, a sailboat’s mast must be 30 degrees under water for it to give up trying to right itself. That would need to be a heck of a storm.

AAAAARRRGGG! What about Pirates, Matey?

Pirating is a genuine fear amongst boaters- and for good reason. In 2010 there were a whopping 688 piracy events. Maritime piracy laws have changed and gotten much tougher, and the incidence of piracy dropped by almost half that number by 2015.

Person (or Pet) Overboard!

What happens if someone falls off the boat? Well, it seems that this is way less common than you may fear. However, being hit by the boom or slipping off the deck in rough waters can happen.
Life vests are quite advanced now, with many styles that inflate automatically when they hit the water. These lightweight, technologically advanced vests make overboard events much less dramatic. The main points concerning life vests is having them onboard, and then actually wearing them.
Don’t forget life vests for the 4-legged fam, too. Dogs and cats are not natural swimmers, especially when frightened or injured.