Sailing in Malta – Tips To Prevent Boat Accidents
Sailing in Malta is a highlight and people from all across the world visit for this unique experience. The Mediterranean seas is widely known for its blue waters and amazing landscapes. It’s for most of the days also a safe nautical destination but it is vital to get to know and respect the laws of nature especially those of the sea! In Malta we have a saying which is ‘Il-bahar zaqqu ratba imma rasu iebsa’ which can be translated into ‘The stomach of the sea is soft but its head is hard’. Experienced sailors know what it means to go out on calm seas which suddenly develop into massive storms. The massive sigh of relief upon their return back after a massive fight with the elements of nature and docking again in a secure port or harbor. However not all accidents are caused by storms. Most of the accidents occur on chartered boats during the summer months in Malta. Their usual cause is often skipper mistakes. Here are some golden tips we can share and which you might remember when you charter a sailing boat in Malta.
Do not hire a boat without first checking reviews and what other customers had to say about the company. The care and maintenance reputation they have is essential. Some charter companies maintain their vessels exceptionally well however some do not provide this top quality service. As a result, minor or major vessel failures can develop. When major malfunctions occur during sailing, this is the most likely cause of an accident. An experienced skipper which does not than react validly, especially in adverse weather conditions, may lead to fatal results. Hence a reliable skipper and a reliable Yacht Charters company is an essential must in your search.
Any commercial vessel which is used for boat hire in Malta should by law be equipped with the necessary safety equipment to ensure safety. Hence its important to pay special attention to checking safety equipment when picking a vessel and especially when you’re sailing out of the Maltese local waters and into the open seas. You’ll typically find life jackets, buoys, rafts, flares, fire extinguishers etc. It is also important to know how to handle them. Life jackets should be easily accessible and worn all the time during night-time sailing. You need also to know where each fire extinguisher is and the purpose for each different fire extinguisher. In the case of children, it’s important to set out rules for them. See more about kids and sailing in Malta.
Skippers on board of a marine vessel carry a great responsibility. They are responsible for the safety of their crew and guests. In a scenario where one decides not to hire an experienced skipper but uses their newly acquired sailing license, one must never overestimate his skills. An experienced skipper would typically know the local waters quite well and hence would know of any imposing dangers such as shallow waters or submarine rocks which can damage your vessel. This is one of the most popular accidents in Malta when an inexperienced skipper hits submerged shallows rock formations on navigable waterways even though they would usually be well marked. Skippers are always with a watchful eye on any fisherman nets or fish traps which might be coming up in-front of the boat. This prevents any scenario were a rope might get wrapped and entangled on the propeller.
Every boat handler and skipper is to obey the maritime rules. Unfortunately many skippers who choose to boat charter in Malta do not respect this rules. Even though one might have the right of passage, one is to always avoid any possibility of a collision in time. Summer time is a pretty busy month for boating in Malta and accidents can easily happen at any time. Speeding is one of the most abused rules whilst being under the influence of alcohol and drugs cannot be ignored either.
The months from May till October are usually the best to experience the calmest weather in Malta whilst enjoying the hot temperature and obtaining that perfect tan. Accidents in these months can happen and would mostly be skipper errors. One of which is a crucial mistake where a skipper ignores a weather report. Sometimes Malta experiences high winds with the predominant wind being the ‘Grigal’ hence the term ‘Grigalata’ which is North Eastern winds. This can quickly change the landscape of the sea within minutes and high waves suddenly bring your fantastic day to an abrupt stop. Hence, it’s necessary to always consult the weather report prior to departure. During the other months of the year, one might experience better days with nice breezes which make for the perfect sailing days. Opening up those sails and using the elements to speed along your vessel is a thrill like no other. However one must always check the conditions such as waves, their directions, height and increase/decrease during the day.