FOR THE TRIP
There are some necessary forms that need to
be taken care of before you can pull anchor. See Customs page for forms and information.
The anchor should be sized properly for the length and
weight of boat. There should be a length of chain and rope connected to the
anchor. Two anchors are recommended for anchoring in the Bahamas. Inspect
anchors, chain and rope for general condition make sure any clevis pins are
safety wired so they will not come lose.
Five dock lines at least the length of the boat are
RUDDER AND CONTROL LINKS
The rudder is the most important piece of equipment on
a sailboat without if you are dead in the water. Inspect hardware for wear and
loose connections. On wheel steering systems check for excessive play between
wheel and rudder. Check rudder torque tube and support brackets for wear and corrosion. Check cables with a cloth to feel for frayed wires. Inspect pulleys
and pulley brackets. On pedestal steering ,it is a good idea to remove the top
and inspect the chain and cable ends.
Sailboats should have their rigging inspected every
four years to prevent a serious failure. These inspection are best done by an
experience rigger. In addition to the standing rigging, check all the running
Check batteries, alternator ,running lights, anchor
light, bilge pumps and VHF. If you fail to check any piece of equipment it will
be the one that wonít work when you need it. Check Spare bulbs and fuses.
Carry a spare parts kit for the head or a small bucket
that is small enough to fit inside the bowl.
Be sure to check all Coast Guard required equipment.
Other optional safety equipment: A safety Harness is a must for any one on deck
in rough water. A spare or hand held compass, first aid kit,and wood plugs for
Engine checks: oil. belts, leaks, filters and
When the weather is nice, crossing to the Bahamas will
be into the wind with a heavy boat motoring at max cruise engine RPM . If
everything isnít right about one hour out, engine overheating will occur caused by one of the following : wrong size or dirty propeller, water pump
impeller worn, dirty cooling system. A performance test run a week before the
trip will test things out.
Spare replacement parts:
- Engine belts
- Engine oil
- Fuel filters
- Oil filter
- Water pump impeller
- Light bulbs
- Spark plugs for outboard motor
Preparing the Dingy
- Inflate Dingy and check for leaks
- Check painter condition
- Check out outboard motor
- If your propeller uses shear pins, carry spares and
- Due to the strong currents around the islands, it is
wise to carry an anchor in the dingy with a line long enough to reach bottom in deep
water. If your engine quits on an out going tide, the long line could keep
you from being taken out to sea.
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Emergency bag for crossing :
Crossing the Gulf Stream is not the same as crossing an
ocean but it is still a good idea to carry a water- tight container or bag with
emergency supplies such as:
- Drinking water
- Can opener
- Can food and drinks
- Medical supplies
- Hand held radio
- Space Blankets
- Candy bars
- Light stick
- Three or four black plastic trash bags
- And anything else that you have room for
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Securing the boat for the crossing:
- When setting out on a trip to the Bahamas, there
will be more equipment above and below deck than you're use to with stacks
of loose items in the cabin and fuel and water cans on deck. Your plan is to
leave in ideal conditions but what about that one rogue wave in the inlet or
a quick thunder storm in route. Avoid the panic moment. Secure it at the dock.
- Anchors have been known to jump out of their bracket
and go over the side. A safety line will prevent this from happening. Loose chain
on deck can also bounce overboard and should be secured.
- Deck openings and side windows should be closed for
- All loose items on deck should be tied twice. A
loose fuel can is truly a panic situation.
- Prepare the cabin for that rogue wave and put the coffee pot in the sink.
- Prepare snacks and lunch before leaving the dock.
- Check the weather and you are prepared for the crossing.
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Useful and/or Necessary Items
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Medical Supplies - you
can buy a first aid kit but I've found that they usually have too many of some items and not enough of others. You can usually make your own cheaper by stocking
it from your own home medicine cabinet and buying the other items. I use a plastic storage box with a tight fitting lid to store medical supplies. The following
are items that every medical kit should have and below it is a list of medications that could definitely come in handy.
Standard First Aid Items
- Ace bandages - two 2 inch rolls & two 4 inch rolls
- Adhesive tape - 2-3 rolls
- Airways - 1
- Alcohol- isopropyl
- Antiseptic ointment - Bacitracin or other antibiotic ointment
- Bandages - gauze 1,2 and 3 inch
- Bandaids - a variety pack of all sizes
- Betadine Solution
- Butterfly closures
- Cotton tip applicators
- First Aid manual
- Ice pack (preferably one that can be used for hot or cold)
- Medicine dropper
- Sterile eye pads
- Sharp Needle
- Small splints - tongue depressors (toes & fingers are very vulnerable on a boat!)
- Sterile gauze pads - 2x2 and 4x4
- Sunburn supplies - zinc oxide, sunscreen, sunblock etc.
- Milk of Magnesia or other laxative
- Immodium or kaopectate
- Glycerin suppositories
- Tums, Rolaids etc.
- Sinus congestion medication
- Aspirin or Ecotrin or bufferin - for pain & fever
- Oil of Cloves- for tooth ache
- Caladryl lotion
- Benadryl liquid or tablets
- Otosporin ear ointment
- Liquid tears or opthalmic ointment
- Seasickness medication
- Any personal medications as it is difficult if not imposible to fill prescriptions out of the country
- Keflex or a broad spectrum antibiotic (this is a prescription item & you'll hve to consult your MD)
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Although there are stores in the Bahamas
they are, for the most part, sparsely stocked and high priced so it's a good
idea to stock up in the states.
I usually decide how many breakfasts,
dinners and suppers I will have to prepare. So if I plan on being gone for three
weeks that's 21 of each. I then make a rough menu plan and make a
shopping list from the plan. This works out well as it keeps me from buying too
much of one thing and not enough of another.
Here's a few hints that might be helpful
when you are provisioning:
- Bread molds very fast on a boat and
takes up too much space in the refrigerator so I only take enough for the
first couple of days. Bahamian bread is delicious but it isn't always easy
to find anymore. As an alternative I take English muffins and tortillas. The
muffins will keep for 2-3 weeks and the tortillas take up very little room
in the refrigerator and will keep for several weeks.
- I also brown my hamburger with onions
and peppers ahead of time and store it in zip lock bags. This can be used
for everything from sloppy joes, and spaghetti to stroganof.
- Potatoes also do not keep well in the
hot moist confines of a boat so I usually boil them ahead of time then put
them in the refrigerator. They keep for 2-3 weeks and you can use them for
many dishes from hash browns to potato salad. If I've planned for a couple
of meals with baked potatoes, then I wrap the potatoes in newspaper.
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The pictures on the page are from West Marine's catalog at: