Decisions: Education, Enforcement, and Engineering

Decisions determine whether a sailor has a safe or unsafe experience on Lake Michigan. NASBLA (National Association of Safe Boating Law Administrators) has affirmed three areas to strengthen its mission of ensuring safe, secure and enjoyable experiences on the water.

The three “E’s” of injury prevention are education, enforcement and engineering.

  1. Education comes from research and produces exercises that provide sailors with the awareness and knowledge they need to make informed, risk-based decisions. Show crews what to do and then do it. Practice, practice, practice.
  2. Enforcement establishes laws that encourage safe behavior (including properly sized USCG approved lifejackets, SOLAS/Safety Of Life At Sea equipment specifications). Study Indiana Boating Basics online. Take the practice exam. Take the test. Each season!
  3. Engineering mitigates risks on the water (hull integrity, rope chain and cordage,SWL safe working loads, paint and coatings, trailers, engines, sails, navigation and communication technology).ISA equipment is top of the line. Safety equipment is the best , heavy duty and in duplicate.

Safety and preparation are first.

Attention to the seemingly little details that can change everything is essential.

Check the checklists again and again. Inspect every cotter pin, shackle, sheet, dockline, winch handle, flashlight, sail, anchor, ladder, throw ring, whistle, etc.

Source: NASBLA Small Craft Advisory, Vol 22 no.3.