Staying safe when sailing in Greece is important and absolutely necessary if you wish to visit all the amazing places in the Greek islands.
Your goal is to charter a yacht in Greece, start sailing and having fun. But you know already that the only thing which can really ensure a pleasant and joyful sailing journey in Greece is staying safe. The essential safety gear to have on board includes many things, but the most important and the absolute must have is the life jacket.
Even if you can swim the Aegean Sea in your sleep, always make sure that each person aboard has a life jacket before going sailing in the Greek islands, especially if you have children on board. Safety is the number one purpose of life jackets, but on a wet or windy day, the life jacket can be welcome additional layer of clothing!
Requirements for life jackets in Sailing Boats in Greece
Recognizing that staying safe is of significant importance, the Greek laws refer to the requirements for the number of life jackets you need on board.
- For boats shorter than 16 feet (5 meters), Greek regulations require one wearable life jacket for each person on board.
- For boats longer than 16 feet, you must have one life jacket for each person plus one throwable flotation device, which must be immediately accessible. Each life jacket must be approved by the authorities, in good and serviceable condition, of appropriate size for the intended user, and readily accessible.
- Most boat owners and sailing schools keep the required number of life jackets on board all the time, but you should double-check and ask before you leave the dock. If you think that there are less life jackets than normal, you should check with the marina officials and make sure that you are abiding by the laws.
Choosing the right jacket for sailing in Greece
Choosing the right jacket for sailing in Greece is very important; if you want to ensure your safety, you need to wear the right life jacket for you. Life jackets are sized by the weight or chest size of the person intending to wear them; user chest size or weight information should be clearly marked on the inside label. The Greek Laws classify life jackets based upon their use and performance.
- Type I is a bulkier jacket that floats the wearer face up even when he or she is unconscious.
- Type II is shown in the safety icon in this book — this type is quite common because it’s the cheapest life jacket. It’s safe, just not as comfortable as the next type.
- Type III is a comfortable vest that you can easily wear all day. If you’re going to buy a life jacket for your own personal use, this will likely be the one — we both own one of these and wear it more than any other type. They’re best suited for use on dinghies and for day sails on bigger keelboats in protected waters.
- Type IV is the throwable life ring or float that you should keep on deck (on boats longer than 16 feet) to throw to a person in the water.
- Type V is an inflatable life jacket with a compressed air canister. Many offshore keelboat racers wear this type of life jacket because it’s the least bulky of all.
Using life jackets correctly
When wearing your life jacket, you want to ensure that it fits properly. You put on most life jackets like a vest. A snug fit is the most comfortable and safe so always zip them up and tighten any adjustment straps. The following list provides some important safety tips to help you:
- Always wear a life jacket on a dinghy, because the dinghy can capsize.
- Wear a life jacket on a keelboat any time you feel the conditions warrant it.
- As with all safety equipment, make sure that everyone knows where the life jackets are stored before you set sail.
- Children, non swimmers, and anyone requiring extra assistance should always wear a life jacket on any boat.
- If your life jacket is waterlogged or damaged, replace it.
- Make sure that the life jacket fits, especially for children. Don’t put an adult’s jacket on a small child — it may slip off in the water. Children life jackets are always sized by their weight.
Life jackets don’t guarantee your children’s safety around the water — you still must watch them vigilantly and know where they are at all times. Making sure that the life jacket fits properly and that the child feels comfortable wearing it are very important while sailing in Greece.