To inspire my soul, I’ve routinely engaged in watching sailing documentaries which have certainly inspired me to keep going towards my dream.
If you’re excited to sail around the world, or need some inspiration to motivate your significant other, then this is the list you need. Best part? Most of these are FREE to watch on YouTube right now!
If you’re hell-belt on a circumnavigation on a boat like myself, then don’t go past Beta Centauri. It’s an incredible and one-of-a-kind adventure. It’s a little on the old side (circa 2014, and yes, that’s old by YouTube standards) but well-worth the watch!
A documentary created by Daniel Poulson, about circumnavigating the world. He and his little daughter Explorer 39 countries. They go through Savage cannibal territories. Dino meats and interviews the president of Fiji. Sailing across the Pacific Ocean with no engine. Trials and tribulations only a sailor could understand. To the purest silica beaches of the whitsunday islands. Their scientific research with the “toad cam” may prove invaluable. “Humorous” witty “intelligent” the sailing Adventure you can’t miss. Dino almost being thrown into jail in South Africa on trumped-up charges. Exploring Napoleon’s grave. Incredible two thousand mile passages,Blue Water sailing at its best!. “One of the only films of its kind” Beta Centauri the Voyager of Hadar. For the first time ever beta Centauri is being given away. A world circumnavigation documentary narrated by Patrick James written by Jay Fisher and Daniel Poulson. a documentary taking you around the world via sailboat Sail the world. A world circumnavigation documentary. In the history of humanity there’s been five World circumnavigation documentaries ever made. This is beta Centauri the Voyager of Hadar the number one film of its kind. Award-winning documentary about circumnavigating the world and raising hell as I go.lol⛵🌎. Enjoy Dino Poulson
If you enjoy racing and especially around the world sailboat racing, then you’ll love this documentary. I’m a huge fan of racing especially as us Australians took the America’s Cup many years ago! Maiden is a documentary well-worth watching too.
(Unlike everything else on this page, this is merely the trailer and you’ll need to pay for the documentary)
The story of Tracy Edwards, the woman who became a skipper on the first ever all=female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989.
There is nothing better than yachtsmen that have sailed the world’s oceans numerous times over. Remarkably, this man has done exactly that at a time when technology was very primitive.
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston: Sailing Legend looks into the man who became the first person to sail solo and non-stop around the world.
In his own words, Sir Robin explains the story behind his epic achievement over 50 years ago. Hear from Ben Ainslie Alex Thomson Racing, Sir Chris Bonington and Dee Caffari on how Sir Robin continues to inspire others to push themselves to their limits and be adventurous.
Find out what it was like to be in isolation with no communications to training ordinary people to become ocean racers.
From battling through monster waves, to being ‘lost at sea’ after losing his radio, and fighting off a shark, Sir Robin relieves the journey and shares never before seen photographs and diary entries. The documentary looks back on his remarkable life, career, legacy and his astonishing influence on the sport.
I’ve saved the very best until last! If you’re a fan of the Vendée Globe like myself, then you’ll love this documentary as his passion is infectious!
You’ll love the captivating story of Alex Thomson Racing’s journey to win the previous 2016/2017 Vendée Globe. Alex also attempted in 2020 but unfortunately he had to retire early due to a broken yacht.
There we have it! On those cold winter days when it rains non-stop, tuning into one of these documentaries is an excellent way to stay hungry for the dream.
Here at Cruising Freedom, we’re huge advocates of safety at sea. It’s for that reason we recommend seriously dependable safety equipment.
In this list, we’re going to look at the best sailing lifejackets for coastal and offshore cruising. Whether you sail a yacht, catamaran or even a trailer sailor, this list will help you choose the right life vest for your sailing conditions.
Talk to anyone in the sailing community and they’ll often recommend the Spinlock brand for blue water cruising. Fun fact: We have spotted Spinlock life jackets on some of the most popular YouTubers we’ve covered on Cruising Freedom.
The 6D is their latest model which recently replaced the 5D model. It doesn’t come cheap but what price can you put on real and reliable safety? It’s comfortable, flexible and will last for years to come.
The 2nd life jacket for cruisers on this list is the Mustang Survival Corp HIT which has also been highly praised in the sailing community. They’re read as opposed to black making them more visible in the unfortunate event you have a Man Over Board incident on a passage crossing.
Again, it isn’t cheap but certainly no where near the price of the 6D Spinlock above. You’ll be able to buy two HIT hydrostatic inflatable lifejackets for the price of one Spinlock. If you’re a budget cruiser, this would be my pick.
A mistake I often see when people seek out a new lifejacket for their yacht is thinking that they would only use it for sailing. Let’s not forget that lifejackets are often used in the dinghy as well, plus canoeing and even on a SUP in rough conditions.
That’s why the NRS OSO makes a good all-rounder. Sure – it’s not a true sailing jacket, and I’m not pretending that it is…but it sure does make up for it with the savings. There are numerous zippers for stowing your stuff such as sailing gloves and its design keeps you warm on those cold night crossings.
Stohlquist has created quite a name for themselves in the PFD industry at large and recently ventured into sailing life jackets. What they offer are similar to the NRS mentioned above but more-so orientated for casual wearing. After all, most cruisers aren’t using their lifejackets as much these days especially if they have a protected cockpit.
The ‘Edge’ model gets my pick. It’s seriously affordable and comes in a range of colors. Kids also like their designs as you they move around much more easily. That’s especially useful in tropic conditions such as the British Virgin Islands.
Another recreation option is the Astral V-Eight which is ideal for those who rarely put on their life jacket. You might have a protected helm area or simply choose to use direct tethers. If so – throw on the Astral V-Eight when you’re going up on deck for 5 minutes.
They’re snug-fitting yet breathe surprisingly quite well. The straps can dig a little into the shoulders but this isn’t a model you’d be expecting to wear all day and night on a multi-week crossing. Just think how many extra gallons of diesel you can fuel the tank with given the savings you’ll make with this model!
For the performance-orientated cruisers (Outremer and Gunboat…anyone?) then the two lifejackets above wouldn’t really be as useful. Instead, I’d aim for something tighter so the shoulder straps won’t get in the way.
The Onyx MoveVent is a good choice for moving around on the cockpit or when you need to put a reef in the main. It’s not inflatable but you’ll avoid the risk of accident inflation when actively moving around. The only thing missing is a reliable D-ring for a tether!
Lucky #7. Is this a coincidence? Or perhaps I’ve left the best until last. Likely it’s the later.
Stearns have one of the slimest life jackets around. Many customers have reported that they don’t even feel like it’s there! Great for night watches especially as there is a D-ring so you can stay tethered to your boat in rough seas.
Many cruisers are sailing around the world on a true shoestring budget. For sheer value for money, it’s really hard to go past this model. It’s light, comfortable and seriously affordable too!
Now, its quality isn’t the best and I wouldn’t expect it to still be performing on a Pacific crossing in 5 years time but if you just need something to get you by for these next few years, then this is the life jacket that you’re looking for!
Sailing across the Atlantic is one of the best adventures that any one of us can encounter, yet you need to do a lot of planning to make it both a safe and comfortable crossing.
Crossing The Atlantic Sail Times
It takes up to 21 days to sail across the Atlantic, and these approximate sailing times needed for individual segments:
Portugal to The Azores
4 to 8 Days
Portugal to The Canary Islands
5 to 7 Days
The Canary Islands to Cape Verde
5 to 8 Days
The Canary Islands to The Caribbean
15 to 21 Days
Bermuda to The Caribbean
5 to 8 Days
Bermuda to The Azores
14 to 17 Days
Note: There are tidal and wind variations in the opposite direction.
You can expect a mixture of calm and relatively flat water all the way up to 5-foot swells.
Now, are these distances precise? Of course not! As any truly experienced sailor would know, it comes down to many variations, such as:
1. Your Boat Type and Sail Plan
We’ve heard of some Outremers and Sailwinds doing the entire crossing in a little over 2 weeks. Some professional racing teams can certainly make this trip in under 2 weeks, but a production/charter catamaran with beamy hulls is going to take several weeks at least.
2. You Get A Solid Weather Window
Planning your voyage before you depart from any of these ports should be at the top of your priority list. I’ve heard of sailors waiting weeks for the right weather window, even in the better times of year. Like they always say “Keeping a schedule is your worst enemy…”
3. Currents and Time Of Year
The currents can play a huge role in either decreasing or increasing your boat speed and thereby impacting your crossing times. It’s not just the current either as wave direction can play a huge impact, as too the amount of wind.
Best Time Of Year
It’s best to cross during the winter months where the trade winds are plentiful. This is November through to February. However, you can still cross the Atlantic at any time of year provided you’ve picked a great weather window prior and remember that it’ll be 3 to 5 days extra in those lighter wind conditions.
As I’ve touched on already, you’ll need to plan your route and provision your boat appropriately for the journey. This includes more water than you’ll consume (even if you have a water maker on board, as these can fail) plus food, spare parts and a consistent helm watch routine.
The Atlantic hurricane season starts in June and fizzles out in mid-November. This is when you’re far less likely to see other boats make this crossing unless they’re commercial vessels. In many instances, insurance policies won’t cover hurricane damage on personal yachts and catamarans which are sailed in hurricane season.
Tacks and Gybes
You can expect to tack and gybe multiple times on an Atlantic crossing. This is something best done during daylight hours to avoid any potential issues. During night watches, I recommend adding one reef into the mainsail to avoid any potential squalls. These are near-impossible to see even on a full-moon night.
Picking A Crew
You can always find a crew at either end of an Atlantic Crossing. From using Facebook groups to online forums such as CruisersForum, or even asking around at the local tourist hotspots, it’s pretty easy to find someone who wants a cheap ride and an adventure on the open seas.
Catch is though…you’ll want to find someone with experience for such a long crossing, a chances are too that you’ll paying a few bucks for this experience. Well worth it though, as a single-handed or 2-up crossing is tough work, even for those who have done ocean crossings before.
As a final thought: When you do land at your next port, aim to call head for a marina berth but always expect to anchor in the tourist months. Some of these anchorages can get real busy! Good thing we did the Atlantic crossing in a smaller yacht with a swing keel. 🙂
Move over #vanlife, ’cause given the rise of sailing channels like Sailing La Vagabonde over the years, #boatlife is here to stay. As a result, thousands of people are on YachtHub daily looking at the cost of a boat.
As an Australian, there is no greater place to become a liveaboard than the Gold Coast. Balmy summer days and mild waters make it the perfect spot, and it’s little wonder why I lived there for 4 years right across from the Southport Yacht Club.
I recently did some research to find some marinas on the Gold Coast that allow liveaboards, either short-term or long-term. And while you can stay on an anchorage for 7 days, sometimes you might want to stay longer to ride out an approaching storm front, restock your boat or do some necessary repairs. Or work directly from your boat!
Either way, I’ve got you covered. Here are 9 highly recommended liveaboard marinas on the Gold Coast:
1. Mariner’s Cove Marina (Main Beach)
My #1 best pick is always Mariner’s Cove Marina. Its location means you’ll have access to grocery stores, boutiques and public transport links. If you fancy catching some waves in the morning, then Main Beach and Narrowneck serves up an incredible 2-foot to 5-foot swell in the winter months.
2. Southport Yacht Club
Right next door to Mariner’s Cove is the Southport Yacht Club. Often it’s less likely that you’ll find an available berth here but alas, still worth a mention given the central location. There is nothing better than having lunch here on a weekday and catching up with the locals who all have one too many stories to tell.
3. Runaway Bay Marina (Hollywell)
The Runaway Bay Marina is still quite central and a place to spot some of the nicest waterfront homes around the Gold Coast. It can get a little crowded here so it’s worth calling up in advance to check if any of the 196 marine berths are available for temporary bookings. This is one popular spot for cruising catamarans and yachts coming in from Fiji and the rest of the South Pacific.
4. Gold Coast City Marina & Shipyard
If you need some serious work done to your hull, engines or batteries, then you need to get it over to the Gold Coast City Marina and Shipyard. This place is huge! Aesthetically-speaking, it isn’t the best given it’s a full-service boat-works area just like The Boat Works mentioned below, but well worth checking out regardless.
5. Calypso Bay Marina
The latest marina to open on the Gold Coast is Calypso Bay who allows liveaboards for short-term occupancy. The area is stunning and quite a distance away from the party boats and tourists of the Gold Coast. The area is still in development but you can see some real money here with the beautiful waterfront homes and upmarket dining options.
6. Tweed Marina
Fancy heading south? Across the border and into New South Wales, you’ll find Tweed Marina. They allow liveaboard cruisers for the short-term and this is the only marina you’ll find until you get down to Brunswick Heads. That said – you won’t want to leave with just how peaceful it is here at Tweed Heads with its numerous cafes and vibrant waterways worth exploring. No jet skis here and rarely do you find powerboats too!
7. Hope Island and Hope Harbour Marinas
There are two marinas here. You’ve got Hope Island Marina and Hope Harbour Marina which both allow liveaboard cruising couples needing a save haven for a little while. You can stay here year-round except for April and May where the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show comes to town.
8. The Boat Works
The Boat Works is a highly recommended place to find quality marine mechanics and upholstery experts, as well as staying in the marina. The place is quite busy and no doubt you’ll spot a few large superyachts as well. Based on Coomera, their claim is “Australia’s greatest boatyard” and I certainly would agree. Plenty of marine trades here and world-class facilities, though not always the best place to enjoy the serenity.
9. Bayview Harbour
A top spot to enjoy the quieter side of the Gold Coast is Bayview Harbour. This happens to be one of the oldest and most established marinas on the Gold Coast and you can certainly stay here as a liveaboard. Unfortunately, apart from some local cafes, there isn’t much shopping or much else to do here, so it’s really for the short-stay liveaboards.
And I’m done! That’s 9 great marinas worth checking into if you live aboard your boat. Of course, you’re unlikely to stay long term (several years) in these locations but you can certainly stay short-term. To get around some of the rules, you can always head off to one of the Gold Coast anchorages for a few days and then return, or head off to another one of these beautiful marinas!
Doing a pacific crossing on a monohull or catamaran is one experience you’ll cherish for years, but one that requires a ton of prior planning.
Crossing the Pacific – Sail Times
With more than 8,000 nautical miles to sail, it takes 2.5 to 4 weeks to make the longest leg of a Pacific crossing from Galapagos Islands to The Marquesas. However, most cruisers take 3 to 6 months, or even up to 12 months, to do the entire ‘Coconut Milk Run’ from Panama to Australia, by stopping into many atolls, islands and countries along the way.
Fortunately, this long crossing typically has favourable currents and strong tradewinds, allowing both a fast and comfortable passage with many cruisers referring this to being relatively easy sailing. Mild swell, predictable and clean winds and with next to no squalls, it’s a trip that’s well within your means, and yes, even if it’s your first large crossing.
That is – provided you do some strong planning, good provisioning and have more than 2 crew members. We certainly wouldn’t recommend an Atlantic crossing for a couple unless you’ve got some serious sea miles under your belt, otherwise, you’ll arrive into French Polynesia completely and utterly exhausted.
In this guide, we’ll help you better plan the trip so you can have a safe and comfortable voyage, and you’ll see why the South Pacific especially is one of the best cruising grounds out there.
West-Bound vs East-Bound
In many cases, it’s far better to head east-bound (towards Australia) as opposed to sailing towards the Panama Canal. This is because you’ll be sailing upwind with both tides and wind working against the boat.
Not only will the ride be more uncomfortable, but you’ll be putting more stress and strain on your boat at the same time. Many cruisers like us are out there to have fun and aren’t fond of an unpleasant crossing.
Length of Voyage
As we hinted at the start, you shouldn’t focus on the length of the crossing but plan for an entire year (or 3!) to do a Pacific crossing. This is because of the epic islands, unique cultures, incredible anchorages and stunning mounts (hello Marquesas!) that you’ll find along the way.
Unlike the Mediterranean, there are thousands of protected anchorages along the way paired with many available buoys (often times free) to protect the sensitive coral reefs. When you’re cruising, who’s in a rush? Especially when it’s the trip of a lifetime for many aspiring sailors.
A truly first-world problem is choosing which route you’d want to take on your first Pacific crossing, and there is no one-route-fits-all approach here. It really comes down to your boat type, crew numbers, vessel weight, time of year and current experience.
We would highly recommend stopping into the Galapagos Islands and stay for 2 to 3 weeks. Quarantine here is quite strict so you’ll have to consume or dispose of any food before entering port while ensuring you arrive on a spotless hull.
A drawback towards any Pacific crossing is experiencing the doldrums. This challenge is mostly felt after leaving the Galapagos Islands en route to French Polynesia, but then again…where else would you rather be?
For the following islands, their order is based on heading eastwards on a Pacific Crossing.
If time permits, we would recommend 1 to 2 months in French Polynesia if you really want to experience the culture shock and the incredible hospitality. This country is the epitome of world cruising and ‘living the dream’ with the many atolls and empty beaches where few tourists ever visit.
For those of you rushing the trip, then you can’t leave without stopping into Taumotus and The Marquesas for their incredible mountains and lush rainforests. As an added bonus, the frequent rainfalls means that you’ll be able to get that salt off your deck too!
If you’re anything like us, Tahiti has been at the top of your bucket list for years. It sits almost smack-bang in the middle of Australia and the United States meaning it’s both difficult and expensive for every day tourists to explore. The benefit(s) of owning a sailing vessel after all, right?
Tahiti is a part of the Society Islands and is the most popular island for cruisers. It’s certainly worth a stopover to rest, recover and restock your boat with fresh provisions.
One of the most beautiful things about Tonga is the short hops between its 3 main anchorages. This makes for a welcome reprieve after the Pacific crossing, paired with incredible hospitality.
Unfortunately, this is also where you’ll start seeing commercial tourism at play given the daily flights between Tonga and Australia. So if you’re missing modern civilization, just remember “Things get normal again from Tonga onwards”
Things really start to get normal from Fiji onwards with resorts, hotels and restaurants never too far away from Suva. Fortunately, Fiji is a huge cruising ground and you could spend several months here without seeing the whole lot.
While snorkeling, fishing and diving can be found in many Pacific islands, Fiji is also where you’ll find some epic places to go surfing, kite boarding and even pick up some half-decent WIFI to catch up on social media back home. Like we said….you’re almost back to normality here.
Vanuatu isn’t as busy as Fiji (fortunately!) and makes for a great stopover before you do your final stretch of sailing across the pacific. We fell in love with the amazing scenery both above and below the waterline.
The local people are warm and friendly while the local festivals can’t to be missed. Some say it’s the happiest country in the world, and we certainly couldn’t disagree! It’s at this point that you’ll start to feel some angst as the end of your trip is looming.
Finishing a Pacific Crossing in Australia or New Zealand?
For many who are finishing off their Pacific crossing, it’s hard to know whether to make a bee-line for Australia and enter in Brisbane, Coffs Harbour or Sydney, or make a diversion to Auckland. This depends on what time of year you’re making the Pacific crossing.
In late autumn through to mid Summer, it’s a perfect time to check into Auckland and explore the incredible cruising grounds of New Zealand’s North Island. However, the region is very cold in the winter months paired with less predictable weather systems making a leap to Australia more challenging for a novice sailor.
So in short, aim for Auckland if you can make it, otherwise sail direct to Australia’s east coast. Sydney to Brisbane can be cruised year-round with no cyclone seasons making a perfect base in which to explore, and later head for Auckland as summer approaches once again.
Not only does a boat’s name reflect on the owner, but the ceremony of naming (and renaming…but we’ll come back to that) your boat is part of a centuries-long tradition.
If I say, Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria, don’t the names conjure up vivid images of other times, countries, sailors, exploration–in short, a world of naval associations?
But choosing a name doesn’t have to be all so serious. Naming or renaming a boat is also an excellent opportunity to express yourself and your values. Though some people fondly name their cars, there’s nothing like the freedom to name your boat. Make the most of your choice!
Renaming a Boat
We want to cover the issue of renaming old boats before getting on with our boat name ideas.
If you’ve inherited a boat or simply want to rename an existing boat, there are a few extra steps to go through. It’s common for boat owners to go through a ceremony before renaming a ship. It’s supposed to ward off Poseidon, the sea-gods, and his wrath. Although it’s totally up to you, we recommend using some of the following rules before renaming a boat.
Remove all signs and evidence of the boat’s previous name.
Enjoy the rest of the champagne with friends and family!
Now that we’ve covered renaming an old boat and gotten some preliminary info out of the way, let’s get started on our list of boat name ideas!
257 Creative Name Ideas For New Boats
We split up the list into a few sections to make it a little easier to navigate or zero in on the kind of name you are already interested in.
Boat Names Using Given Names
We’re starting the list with one of the most common ways people name boats–naming them after a loved one, celebrity, pet, or in memory of a person who has passed away.
Next Of Ken
Big Bad John
Peg ‘O My
Famous Womens’ Names For Boats
We briefly touched on the odd but still popular convention of naming boats after female figures. Looking back among history’s extended register of boats, feminine names are all over the place: Santa Maria is just one of many. The list of popular famous women’s names include:
The African Queen
My Old Lady
Boat Names Based Off Of Jobs And Hobbies
They say that everyone’s got a job in this world–why not show off your occupation or favorite pastime on the side of your boat? Publicizing what you do on your boat is a sure conversation starter too!
Stocks & Bonds
The Bill Keeper
Control Alt Delete
Boat Color Names
Lots of people name their boat after its paint job or the color of the sea or sunset. Using color names is a classic and sophisticated choice–or you can poke fun by naming the boat after some other, random color. The options are endless!
Pot ‘O Gold
Lady in Red
Birthplaces And Hometowns
Naturally, you can name your boat after your hometown or the place you call home. If you wish you lived somewhere else or dream to live there someday, use those names!
Yellow Rose Of Texas
Long White Cloud
Born Down Under
Scotland The Brave
Top End Charlie
Boat Name Ideas From Foreign Languages
Want to add a little international flavor to your boat? Name her after a Russian novel, a Spanish phrase, or a South African swear word. Take your pick! Foreign language names are exotic, romantic, and full of past histories you can share with friends and fellow captains.
Menage à Trois
Veni Vidi Vici
Dolce Far Niente
Quid Pro Quo
Famous Historical Boats You Could Use As A Boat Name
Are you a bit of a history buff? Count your boat among the list of the most famous ships of all time by choosing a historical boat name.
The Queen Mary
SS Edmund Fitzgerald
The Dawn Treader
Funny/Punny Names For Boats
Now we come to the part of the list that many boat owners might flock to. Giving your boat a unique and funny name–especially with a pun–is a good strategy if you don’t mind the added attention. What can we say? People like a good laugh.
Seas The Moment
A Salt Weapon
Sea Addicts Anonymous
Sea King Adventure
Off the Hook
Sea For Yourself
La Seavious Acts
Get Your Fish On
Wish You Were Her
Fishers Of Men
Nothing But Net
Boat To Be Wild
Tackle Me Elmo
Classy Names For Luxury Boats
To lend a timeless quality to your boat, turn to the classier names. Distinctive, sophisticated, and elegant, these names will make your boat look like it belongs in a James Bond movie.
Interesting Pop Culture Names
Finally, if you can’t get enough of millennial trends and tastemakers, internet memes, or TV, show off your love for pop culture by naming your boat after your favorite catchphrase, tweet, or ‘80s film.
Yer A Wizard
Killin’ Me, Smalls
Make Like A Tree
Spare No Expense
Never Say Die
Center For Ants
Glass Case of Emotion
Drawn That Way
Wax On, Wax Off
A Delicious Bass
Big Pile Of Ship
Despite all the freedoms you have when choosing a name, we have some final tips to leave you with before the naming ceremony. They’re not hard-fast rules–more like recommendations.
Don’t rush in and name your boat after the first idea that comes to mind. Let it stew a while, ask friends what they think, check out the names on boats that dock near yours.
Female names were and still are conventional for boats. However, if you buck that trend, there won’t be any uproar. It’s just a curious tradition that keeps living on.
Shorter names tend to be more memorable than overly long phrase-names
Many people pick boat names that match their type of vessel. You’ll see a lot more yachts called Wind Seeker than houseboats named Zephyr.
Pontoon boats are a lake-lover’s dream. Invented in 1951 by Ambrose Weeres, a farmer from the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” aka Minnesota, he came up with the concept for a motor-propelled, large, flat deck held up by bouyant barrels on each side which allowed users greater space to stretch out and enjoy themselves on the water.
It was quite the change from your typical flat-bottom fishing boat or canoe that really only allowed one or two people to sit. And while Weeres original idea was a bit crude in design, the concept proved to be a popular one.
Since then, the pontoon has been improved on many times over making it the popular luxury craft it is today.
Why Do People Love Pontoon Boats?
One could list at least a dozen reasons why pontoon boats are so desirable. Below are but a handful:
Increased Deck Space
Pontoon boats let you move about freely allowing for greater socialization. They also provide a lot more room for accessories like lounge chairs, BBQ grills, fishing gear, coolers, or even a standing bar.
Shallow Water Navigation
Rather than cut through the water, pontoons are designed to sit on top of water and smoothly glide through it. This allows them to navigate easily in shallow waters. There is far less risk of running aground with a pontoon boat, and that also means less risk of damaging the bottom of your boat.
Early pontoon boats may have been slow and sluggish, but modern designs offer a great deal more creature comforts, including speed. Today’s pontoon boats can tow water-skiers or tubers behind them. They can even be outfitted with water slides.
Most pontoon boats are constructed using high quality marine-grade aluminum which requires little maintenance. There’s only one caveat. While perfect for freshwater adventures, aluminum does not stand up to saltwater and will quickly corrode. If you have a pontoon boat ocean outings with it will require some extra work.
Can I Take a Pontoon Boat Out in the Ocean?
The short answer is yes, but before you rush to action, you need to be aware of the risks and considerations with any pontoon boat ocean activity and act accordingly.
Check the Weather
Never, ever take your boat out if there is inclement weather in the forecast. This is really common sense behavior for any type of boat, but especially for pontoon boats! They are simply not designed for rough waters. Also keep in mind that foul weather can come up in very short order, so don’t venture out too far from shore. You’ll want to get back quickly if a storm starts brewing.
Protect Your Pontoon Against Galvanic Corrosion
As noted earlier, while aluminum is a convenient lightweight material, when introduced to saltwater, it is also highly susceptible to galvanic corrosion. So if you’re going to put your pontoon in saltwater, you’ll want to protect your investment by applying an anti-fouling and anti-corrosion paint to the bottom.
The American Boat and Yacht Council recommends treating aluminum boats with an anti-fouling paint that provides a high electrical resistance barrier between the aluminum and water.” This type of paint also protects your boat from marine-based organisms such as algae, slime and barnacles that can negatively impact the speed and fuel consumption of your boat.
Consider Your Boat’s Construction
Pontoons are great fun, but their flat, lower-to-the-water design isn’t constructed for traveling on the high seas. That being said, pontoons of medium width and length with three tubes (tritoons) are less likely to capsize than those with a shorter, dual-tube design.
If you do encounter rough waters, that normally appealing flat deck construction is going to be a handicap. Water can easily flow over the front bow and onto the deck. The best thing to do in this situation is head to shore by riding into the waves steering your boat at about a 45 degree angle. Also, maintain an even speed as you go over those waves as you want to try to keep your bow a bit higher over the water.
Maneuvering a pontoon boat through heavy wakes is not a good time to find out if you can manage it, so be sure you know how to do this ahead of time. A good way to “test the waters” is to try out your pontoon boat in a bay or on an intracoastal waterway. The waters are calmer, and you’ll get a good feel how well your boat and you can handle ocean waters.
If visibility becomes a serious issue, slow your speed and turn on all your lights. Make sure you and your passengers put on their PFDs and sound your horn regularly. If you can’t see well, other boaters are likely to be experiencing the same problem.
Remove Unsafe Accessories
Cookouts are usually fun events that bring together family and friends of all ages for a good time. Just imagine how much more fun one can be when the cookout takes place on a pontoon boat! It bears noting, however, if you’ve outfitted your pontoon as a BBQ boat waves can create a serious danger on open ocean water. When taking your pontoon boat on the ocean, remove the BBQ and save it for a calm day on the lake or for dry land. For that matter, one should also remove any piece of equipment that might make your pontoon boat top heavy. The idea is to avoid throwing off your boat’s center of gravity.
Distribute Weight Evenly
Be it your passengers, your unsecured cargo, or your installed equipment, if the weight on your deck is distributed unevenly, there will be increased risk of your pontoon boat capsizing in rough water. As noted earlier, if yours is a BBQ boat waves can destroy or move the BBQ around unsafely and cause injury to your passengers. The same can be said of V-bows and tow bars, fishing gear, lounge chairs, bars and any other item with weight. For maximum stabilization, keep your equipment to a minimum and make sure the body weight of your passengers is evenly distributed.
Make Sure You Have the Right Safety Equipment Aboard
Always follow the safety guidelines provided in your owner’s manual, and keep on board any required safety equipment. It is especially imperative that every passenger has a properly-fitting PFD any time they are on board a vessel–on the ocean or otherwise. Additionally, don’t exceed the maximum number of passengers allowed.
So Should You Go For It?
All things being equal, pontoon boats are really made for calmer waters, and any saltwater adventures should probably be limited to calm, sunny days on a protected bay. That being said, it’s your boat. If you’re going to go for it, make sure both you and your vessel are well prepared for whatever the waves may bring you.
A Motoryacht is also known as a power vessel. It is used primarily for pleasure cruising and has amenities that guests can use overnight.
Cruising on a yacht is quite a luxury. Although movies romanticize pirates, and it all seems like fiction pirates do exist. In real life, a pirate attack can be quite traumatic.
When pirates attack a yacht, they rob guests of their money and passports, and often they have guns. Piracy rates have increased dramatically, so before you set off on a cruise, you need to ensure that the area you are visiting is safe. Ensure that you also have security.
Since piracy is on the rise nowadays, new amenities and technology are being added to yachts to ensure guests’ safety and comfort on board. The shipping industry continues its fight against piracy.
Yacht owners are spending millions to set up military-style technology on their yachts, and they train their crew on how to avoid conflicts. The security on vessels ensures that the guests, assets, and staff are well protected.
Most yachts are now equipped with some of the best non-lethal weapons, hidden armed panic rooms, and secret escape pods for the utmost safety. Listed below are ways to protect your yacht or catamaran against pirate attacks.
1. Citadel Armored Escape Room and Escape Pods
The concept of hidden citadel rooms is gaining popularity and being incorporated in both new and existing superyachts these days. They are fully equipped with their water, ventilation systems, communications, and food supplies.
In case of a pirate attack, people on board can get into the hidden citadel room and stay put until help arrives. The advantage is that the room has the amenities mentioned above while ensuring that everyone is safe.
As a yacht owner, you can have a sense of peace knowing that everyone aboard your yacht will be safe and protected in case of an unforeseen pirate attack. Ensure that this room is only used during an emergency.
A citadel escape room can only be installed in a yacht that is 60m in size and above since it requires a lot of space. You should note that you are more likely to be a target if you have a large vessel compared to a regular-sized yacht.
Some developers are in the process of attempting to create emergency escape life pods. The pods feature high impact resistance with a global positioning system, temperature control, air purification, fire barrier control, and watertight.
2. Anti Drone Protection
It is essential to have anti-drone protection because it identifies and detects drones up to 20km plus within your range. It also provides the drone’s speed, where it is heading, and the GPS position of both the pilot and the drone.
If the drone spotted is established as a threat to your yacht, the anti-drone protection system will enable a 500m plus electronic zone to be created around the yacht. This zone is an exclusion zone, which means if the drone approaches the exclusion zone, its video or control signal will be blocked by it.
Once it is blocked, it will be forced to go back to its operator, or it will have to land. There are various anti-drone protection systems in the market that you can choose from depending on your needs. Some offer features such as capturing and recovering rogue drones while they are intact and with their payload safe.
It is essential to have an anti-drone protection system since you can prevent pirates from spying on your yacht, which helps prevent your crew and guests aboard from getting attacked. The use of drones for spying purposes has been on the rise since anyone can buy and learn to operate a drone.
While shinning a bright light at a drone to prevent it from getting any footage is also a solution that could work, you may not always be aware of drones capturing footage from your yacht. Understand the system so you can tell when you are being attacked and how to retaliate.
Pirates can use drones to deploy explosives or poisonous gases, so you need to ensure that you can defend yourself against such an attack. With a unique system, you will be able to identify a threat in good time. Therefore, ensure you get a protection system that will best protect your crew and guests from any danger.
3. Underwater Sonar Detection Systems
Underwater sonar detection systems can detect, identify, and track divers or any underwater vehicles that could be approaching your yacht. It does not matter which direction they are coming from.
Once they are detected, the security personnel will be alerted of the imposing threat. Underwater detection systems can identify any impending targets or threats for up to 1200 meters range.
An example of an underwater sonar detection system is the sonardyne sentinel. It is lightweight and small. It can quickly deploy off a boat, install in a fix, or port along a coastline. This gives your yacht an underwater security shield instantly. There are various underwater sonar detection systems, but some can only be used by the Navy.
Underwater sonar detection systems also give out the position, distance, and type of underwater threat that they detect in real-time. It is essential to know the intruder’s position because it is easier to deploy the right security measures.
You could either emit acoustic signals or send a boat to the position the diver is located. An element can be incorporated into the system to send a message to the diver, letting them know they have been detected.
You could either send this message in real-time or pre-record it. However, note that underwater detection can be complex and complicated as it is affected by an environment. For instance, sonar surveillance tends to be more complicated in warm waters.
If you find the right underwater sonar detection system, it will offer you a comprehensive detection system even in warm waters. Ensure you consult with an expert so they can help you pick the best underwater sonar detection system.
4. Long Range Acoustic Device
Long range acoustic device (LRAD), also known as sound cannons, is a non-lethal anti-piracy device. It drives away any intruders by using pain-inducing sound beams. An LRAD is a sonic weapon that produces a high-pitched noise that is higher than the average tolerance level of a human being.
Initially, LRADs were only used in cruise and cargo ships. However, they are now being incorporated into yachts to ensure that any intruders are kept at bay.
There are various models to choose from, and they can be heard for up to a distance of 5km. An LRAD also allows your vessel to warn, notify and hail to any approaching ships at closer ranges with either a pre-recorded or clear voice message in any language you choose.
It ensures that the voice command messages are understood and heard unmistakably by approaching vessels that may not have responded to the radio call. This helps in creating a large standoff zone around your yacht. LRADs can inflict severe permanent harm such as tinnitus, hearing loss, barotrauma, and vestibular dysfunction.
5. Dazzle Gun
A dazzle gun is a laser weapon. It uses green light to temporarily blind and disorients pirates. Its concentrated green light blast can be used both during the day and at night. GLARE HELIOS is a non-lethal visual disruption laser or dazzler that the FDA has approval.
It can be used by both maritime and yachts. It can be used in various configurations such as rail-mounted, integrated into non-lethal systems like remote station operation, and being hand-held.
When an individual approaches the restricted area, the laser will hail to give off a warning to them before shots start getting fired.
A dazzle gun also has a red dot laser that can be used at night and in broad daylight. To ensure that the beam is eye-safe at any distance, it uses the following technologies:
Near field detection, which shuts off the laser emission if a person is too close to the laser output.
An infrared laser rangefinder determines the distance to a person, and the closer they are, the lower the laser output.
A motion detector that shuts the laser off if there is sudden movement and will turn it on when stability has been regained, and the accurate distance between the person has been re-established.
6. Cloaking System
If you are a first-time yacht owner, you may need to consider getting a cloaking system to protect your assets, crew, and guests from a pirate attack. A cloaking system is essentially designed to offer protection during a limited time, from when the alarm is activated to the time the response team arrives on the scene.
When the alarm goes off, the cloak emits a mist that will confuse the intruders or pirates, forcing them to retreat until help comes in.
The smoke is organic and is created using a special glycol solution, which reduces visibility to less than one foot. A cloaking system can also allow the guests onboard to safely get into an escape room if a yacht has one while the pirates are confused by the emitted smoke.
This way, if the help does not arrive soon, the pirates will not harm anyone on board, since they will be safely hidden in a citadel.
7. Robots for Surveillance
Technology has brought about the creation of a throw-able micro-robot known as a throwbot. A throwbot has a microphone fitted to it to ensure it records audio, and it also has a color camera that captures imagery at 30fps. Therefore, it allows the yacht operators to get instant audio and video footage both outdoor and indoor.
A throwbot is appropriate to use in anti-pirate operations since it is quite helpful. It can be deployed to board a ship then send footage back since it is remote controlled. It has infrared illuminators that help it see in darkness, so low light will not be a problem.
It can also locate objects, whether they are injured or armed, and reveal a room’s layout. It can also allow the operator to see around corners.
The video and audio of a throwbot can be transmitted up to 45m distance through the door, windows, and walls to reach the operator control unit. It is dust and water-resistant and can crawl over various terrains.
Depending on your need and requirements, you can integrate a throwbot with a range of equipment. Several builders have also developed robotic skiffs, which are used to send out distress calls. This is often a strategy used by pirates to bait their target.
If you are a new yacht owner, it will help if you attended safety seminars and consulted with experts in yacht security. You do not have to employ all the listed security measures. Only use those that make sense to your yacht’s size and the routes you plan on cruising.
You must do proper research before setting out on a cruise to ensure that your chosen route is safe. Ensure that you also work with professional and experienced crew members whenever you are going on a long cruise.
You could get bodyguards if you deem it necessary to increase the security on your yacht. Ensure that everyone is walked through the security measures and precautions to take when you set out on a cruise. Walking everyone through steps to follow in case of an attack ensures that they are well prepared and know what protocol to follow.
It is essential to protect your yacht because you will be protecting everyone aboard, and you will also be protecting your asset. There are various other security measures you can employ to ensure your yacht is protected against pirate attacks.
As mentioned earlier, get in touch with a security expert so they can guide you on what the best security measures are and which ones will best suit your yacht. Make sure that the security measures you employ are legal.
Sailboats have held and air of mystique and romance ever since the early explores sailed the globe.
However, the early trade ships were somewhat restricted in their ability to sail into, or against, the wind. As a result, the ships that discovered the new world were slaves to the directions the trade winds were blowing.
Today, thanks to advances in hull design, sail orientation and mast placement, there are numerous sailboat designs that use multiple sail configurations that can travel around the world in any direction at any time of year.
Over the years the types of sailboats have been reduced to a few well-performing designs. These designs are divided into the two main classifications of one-masted boats and those with two or more masts with each mast being capable of supporting one or more sails.
The sloop is the most common type of sailboat and has just one mast, placed roughly at midship, with up to three headsails attached to the mast by guy lines. Boats with 2 masts or more are the ketch, yawl, brigantine, brig and the schooner, with the schooners having two, three, or in rare cases, four masts.
Many sailors like the ketch-rigged design for its off-shore performance, comfort and overall balance. This design has a main and mizzen sail, with the mainsail set in approximately the same position as on a sloop, The mizzen is a smaller mast sail set towards the rear of the boat.
The concept behind the two-sail setup on the ketch-rigged sailboat is that it provides two smaller sails that provide more overall sail area than the single sail design.
In theory the smaller sails are easier to work with in heavy off-shore winds, making the boat much easier to sail in storms. Because of the smaller and easier-to-handle sails, the design is a good choice for long distance short-handed sailing.
The mizzen sail also acts as sort of a “rudder” in helping to keep the boat sailing in the proper direction because of the downward force the mizzen applies to the rear of the boat.
Comfort is another strong selling point of this design. Whereas most sailboats are designed with the cockpit at the stern of the boat, this sailboat has a center cockpit design to allow for the placement of the mizzen sail aft.
Having the cockpit in the middle of the boat allows for more headroom below deck at the rear of the boat and a larger aft cabin. Additionally, unlike an aft cockpit that usually has the rear open to the ocean, a center cockpit is fully enclosed. This offers protection from the elements while at sea and makes for a much nicer sitting area.
The ketch-rigged sailboat is a time-proven rig that has made untold circumnavigations of the globe. For sailors who like the two-mast design, this sailboat is a hard choice to beat.
The yawl is also equipped with a main and a mizzen mast. However, a yawl typically has a smaller mizzen with the mast set aft of the rudder post.
There are as many arguments about whether the yawl is a practical off-shore design as there are species of fish in the ocean. While there are some that site the sail plan of the yawl as more aesthetic than functional, there are many long-time professional sailors who swear by the yawl design.
In theory, at least, the rear mast works as a rudder similarly to the ketch-rigged sailboat. The arguments typically start over the size and placement of the mizzen mast.
Some claim that placing the mizzen further back aids in helping to steer the boat. The other side of the argument is the reduced sail size makes it less efficient.
There is also the point that some sailors feel the mizzen being placed further back aids in heaving, or changing direction, and helps with steadying the boat at anchor.
Still, most sailors familiar with both the ketch and yawl say that the mizzen on the yawl is not a match for that of the ketch-rigged sailboat.
Brigantine and the Brig
Of similar, but not identical design, the brigantine and brig fall into the category of “clipper” or merchant ships.
Both are two-masted boats with the brigantine having square sails on the foremost mast and gaff sails on the mainmast. Here note that the smaller foremast is set forward of mast for the main sail.
Gaff sails are a four-cornered sail design attached to horizontal pole that hangs from the mast. Because of the smaller design, gaffs sails are more easily handled. In contrast, the brig uses square sails on both masts.
Both ships handle both coastal waters and ocean crossings as the square sails are well suited for sailing the trade wind routes.
A schooner is another boat with 2 masts, but can also have more. Like the brig and brigantine, a two-masted schooner has a foremast and an aft mast, the latter essentially being the mainmast.
The main characteristic of the schooner is the masts are almost the same size, with the foremost mast sometimes being slightly shorter. The schooner is equipped with gaff sails on all masts, making it better equipped to handle strong seas.
This makes the schooner very versatile and well suited to crossing the ocean on the trade-wind routes as well as sailing coastal waters with varying wind directions.
Because of the versatile design, many pleasure sailboats during the 19th century were schooner-rigged.
While a square topsail is the most common schooner sail plan, some have sprit rigged topsails that run diagonally across the mast. However, sprit rigging is inefficient in adverse weather as the sails are not easily lowered.
Conversely, sprit rigging excels in coastal waters where the sails can more readily catch the light winds that tend to blow higher up.
While a schooner is easy to sail, can handle various wind and water conditions and is probably the most magnificent sight on the sea under full sail, the draw back of the schooner is it is definitely not the fastest sailboat design.
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