Sailboat Cruising In Croatia – 3 Tips To Prevent Boat Accidents
Sailboat cruising in Croatia is one of the most popular in the world! The Adriatic Sea is widely known as a picturesque and safe nautical destination. However, it is vital to get to know and respect the laws of nature of this heavenly part of Earth. Unfortunately, nowadays, boat accidents are happening more often as a consequence of an increased number of visitors. Most boat accidents occur during the summer months, and their cause is often skippers mistakes.
Following these few golden tips we share in this blog, you will remember your sailboat cruising in Croatia as a favourite nautical memory.
1.Rent a boat with a reliable and experienced boat charter company in Croatia
A large number of charter agencies are active in Croatia and some of them, such as Orvas Yachting, maintain their vessels exceptionally well. Unfortunately, some agencies don’t provide this service at the top quality level.
As a consequence, minor and major vessel failures can occur. Accidents mostly happen when a major malfunction occurs during sailing. If the skipper does not react validly and adverse weather conditions prevail on sea – the consequences can be fatal.
If you want to minimize the risk – the first step for safe boat renting in Croatia is to choose a reliable charter agency and a boat that is one to three years old. Besides that, pay special attention to the following tips:
a) Pay special attention to checking safety equipment when picking up a vessel. Apart from having onboard life jackets, lifebuoy, life rafts, flares, fire extinguishers…it is also necessary for the skipper to know how to handle them.
b) Lifejackets should be in an easily accessible and known location. The crew should be informed about how to put them on properly. During adverse weather conditions as well as night-time navigation, all persons on board should wear lifejackets.
c) The skipper has to know where the fire extinguishers are and how to handle them properly. In case of fire, it is advisable to disconnect the power cord – 220 V (if in the marina), then turn off the voltage of all batteries, close the gas bottle, stop the supply of oxygen if the fire occurred in the vessel (e.g. flame blanket, close the windows), etc. The person extinguishing the fire would be wise to pour over themself water or sea.
d) In case there are small children or non-swimmers on board, place a safety net on the outer fence of your vessel. Almost every charter agency offers this option. Also, non-swimmers should always wear lifejackets while sailing.
2. Opt for an experienced skipper and avoid potential boat accidents
Responsibility of a skipper on board is great. In addition to operating a vessel that most often has great material value, the skipper is also responsible for the safety of all crew members. In case you decide not to hire a professional skipper, your friend with a skipper licence mustn’t overestimate his skills! Having that in mind can avoid many boat accidents.
Below are some tips that the captain of each vessel should respect:
a) Immediately upon departure, the skipper should brief one or more crew members on basic command controls. This refers to steering the helm, starting or stopping the engine, turning on or off the automatic pilot. These are simple commands everyone can master in a few minutes and are important to know – the skipper can have an accident, and this knowledge can save you from an unpleasant experience.
b) After setting sail, the crew should, with skipper’s guidance perform a ‘man overboard’ This exercise can easily turn into a fun ‘game’. At the same time, it will raise the sense of safety and community on board.
c) The skipper should carefully study the nautical chart before departure. Namely, stranding is one of the most frequent maritime accidents in Croatia. The reason is almost always ignorance or irresponsibility of the skipper. The fact is that most of the Adriatic is easy to navigate. In the Adriatic Sea, submarine rocks found on navigable waterways are generally well marked, with tidal ranges typically less than one meter.
d) Autopilot should never be your ‘real pilot’ either. The moment the skipper switches on the autopilot, he should watch closely in front of the vessel. This rule always applies, especially during night navigation and when weather conditions are poor.
In this way, a potential collision is easy to avoid if a fast-moving vessel crosses the course.
Also, fishermen often place nets along the coast marked with a plastic bottle, bucket, etc.A skipper who carefully watches what’s in front of the vessel will easily prevent the worst-case scenario for any captain, a rope wrapped around a propeller.
e) Every skipper should obey the maritime rules. However, while you may have the right of passage, avoid any possibility of a collision in time. Unfortunately, many skippers who choose to boat charter in Croatia do not know or respect the maritime rules – especially when sailing!
Also, the speed should always be adjusted to the sea conditions, because many accidents on the Adriatic happen precisely because of speeding.
f) The vessel should always have more fuel than ‘required’. Specifically, adverse weather may require choosing a ‘longer’ route, so this should always be kept in mind.
g) The skipper should never be under the influence of alcohol or any narcotics! Fortunately, more and more effort is put into the safety of boaters, opting for sailing in Croatia. One of the new measures is alcohol tests for boaters! Usually, they stop boaters while sailing, i.e. carry out the tests during the day.
3. Sailing in Croatia requires respect for the weather conditions expected at sea
From June to October, the weather is almost ideal for cruising the Adriatic. And, in the same period of the main sailing season, most boat accidents at sea occurs. Accidents mostly happen due to skipper error, with one of the crucial mistakes being when a skipper diminishes the importance of a weather alert.
Here are some basic tips:
a) Weather in the Adriatic in summer is generally ideal for cruising. Nevertheless, it is important to pay attention to bura (sudden wind from the northeast which briefly but forcefully blows), jugo (predictable wind from the southeast that raises large waves) and nevera (storms that suddenly occur and usually last 30-60 minutes).
b) Always consult the weather report before departure and, if necessary, delay the departure until the weather is calm. Also, wherever you go on your sailing holiday, ask the locals for advice as it is usually worth gold!
c) Night anchoring during adverse weather conditions is often not a good decision. No matter if your anchoring is proper, keep in mind that there are certainly many at anchorage who just dropped the anchor into the sea. At the first stronger gust of wind, their anchor will “plough”, and the wind will blow them towards other vessels. One such boat can make a real mess at anchorage.
Local yachtsmen often use the term ‘midnight express’, meaning a short storm that usually comes around midnight and almost always comes after an extreme calm, preceded by lightning from the IV quadrant.
Sailboat cruising in Croatia associates many boaters on a dream sailing holiday. Boat accidents at sea in Croatia occur almost exclusively to inexperienced and negligent skippers. A professional skipper will respond flawlessly in case of any malfunction on the vessel or adverse weather conditions. Those situations are then remembered by the crew mostly as a fun adventure.
Therefore, with an experienced skipper, nothing prevents you from indulging in complete zen on the boat while enjoying your sailboat cruising in Croatia.