Episode #027: Your Pocket Sailing Instructor Podcast How to be a prepared sailing crew

This week I am talking all about how to be a prepared crew. You have been invited out on a boat. Maybe you are racing, day sailing, or spending the weekend. What should you bring? How should you prepare? Which items are essential? I’ll help you sort through the ins and outs of heading out sailing with someone else to make sure you make a great first impression and are invited back!

Listen to Episode #027: How to be a prepared sailing crew

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Here are my most recent episodes:

#59: Sails – Prevention & Basic Maintenance Your Pocket Sailing Instructor Podcast

  1. #59: Sails – Prevention & Basic Maintenance
  2. #58: When things go wrong… my 5 step process to stepping back and getting $hit done!

To get yourself ready for this episode, you may want to head back and listen to a couple previous episodes:

Personal Items

Alright time to get organized to hop on someone else’s boat! Yay! But what is essential for you to bring to be a prepared sailing crew?

  • Sun Protection: this one is at the top of my list because if you become dehydrated or end up with heat stroke, you will not be much help on the boat. KEY ITEMS: hat, sunglasses & sunscreen.
  • Hydration: goes along with above. Make sure you are well hydrated and fed while out on the boat. KEY ITEMS: water, electrolytes (I use Cliff Cubes) & granola bars.
  • Personal Gear: there are a few key things you should bring with you when out on someone else’s boat. Find out if you need your own PFD, or any other safety gear. KEY ITEMS: PFD, whistle & sailing gloves.
  • Extra Geeky Stuff: if you are a gadget geek like me you may have a few extra things you decide to bring along. KEY ITEMS: handheld compass, knife, personal binoculars, wet notes & pen, paracord bracelet.

Personal Preparation

So you have the gear organized and ready, but are YOU ready? What have you done to prepare yourself? Here are some ideas:

  • Get a good night’s rest
  • Eat well before you get on the boat
  • Check the weather & check any web cams to see if the clouds match the forecast
  • Make sure someone knows where you are going and whom you are with
  • Review your gear and make sure you know where it is and how to use it
  • Discuss with your friend/skipper what your role will be on the boat
  • Try to ask any questions beforehand, otherwise bring a list if you have any burning questions

Post Sail Follow-up

Once you have had your great day out on the water, don’t forget to follow up with your skipper and say thank you! Let them know how much fun you had crewing for them and if you’re available again. Who knows where this could lead? If you dare, ask them which skills they think you could improve on and which things you did well. It’s always nice to get some feedback. But remember, opinions can vary greatly so take it with a grain of salt!

As for your own reflection, how did the sail go? How did it feel to be out on that particular boat with that crew? Did you feel like a prepared sailing crew? Do you think you’d join them again? How was your gear and were you missing anything? Is there anything else you’d add to your kit for next time?


One thing that I like to do is to have “gear” bags. I have a backpack for all my mountain biking gear, a pack set up for my hiking trips, a (large) bag set up for sailing gear, etc., this way I can keep things relatively organized and ready to go at a moments notice. However, I do tend to overlap a lot of my gadgets and that can get a bit tricky if you’ve forgotten when was the last time you used that thingamabob! I ordered a new handheld compass because I thought I had lost mine. Turns out it was in my ski touring bag! Didn’t think to look there 🙂

Overall, if you show up with some food/water, proper attire and a big smile, you should have a great time and be most welcome on any sailboat! I would say you are a prepared sailing crew! Go out there and have fun!

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