Don’t tell me about overboard safety when you’ve never been out at sea.

Overboard Safety

Elayna has taken to this article with the red pen let me assure you. Paragraphs struck, profanities replaced, entire theories reworked…


The amount of inexpert opinion on Yacht safety that I hear from people now about boating is mind-blowing. It appears as though every person I speak to that hasn’t been on the water immediately starts describing to me the list of things that they wouldn’t do on a given boat or wouldn’t board a vessel that was lacking. It is at though one is trying to out do the next.

“I wouldn’t leave port without a pod of expertly trained rescue dolphins.”

There is this awful attitude of pessimistic fear creeping into popular consciousness. Maybe it was already there and I hadn’t noticed. Maybe its been widely documented and I’ve missed it, we  do miss a lot on the boat.

Why immediately look at what can go wrong? Thats no way to attack life.

Now it would be easy for me to insert some platitude here like “everyone dies but not all have lived” that you have no doubt seen on your Facebook wall, claim some sort of adventure man status, exhortate and provide some limp inspiration. What I would rather do is go to where I think the problem is.


I like to blame TV for everything. I no longer watch it, I’m scared of it.

I have been working away or traveling for so long that I believe I can look at these things with a fresh pair of eyes. It is honestly frightening now when I’m back on land and inadvertently find myself in a place where a tellingly common set of coincidences plays out, there is a television, the tv is on and it’s playing the news. Usually airports. There are deaths by shark and crocodile, throats being slit and the elderly being robbed and this is on the morning news probably before most kids are off to school. Hate crimes and Terrorists. The type of irrational fears that I am talking about are born when people are overexposed to unlikely but horrific events and are subsequently unable to process the specific odds ratios relating to that event. I’m not talking about phobias but more a general outlook. Anyway, now I am irrationally scared of the T.V.


We all know your more likely to die from a coconut or vending machine than by a snake. You know how many people die on average from snake bite in Australia? Two. 2 people on average die from snake bite a year in Australia. I will wager that the same people touting this excess safety would be claiming that rubber boots, some anti venom and a mongoose are absolute essentials when travelling to Australia. In the US from 2003-2007, of the 3,133 boating fatalities in those five years, 749 were MOB deaths. I don’t know how many people there are boating in the U.S. but this seems like an extremely small percentage of people that actually go overboard and perish. I would therefore suggest to remain prudent but to not allow this particular eventuality to occupy space in your mind.

The worst thing about all this is that if like 99.99999999999999% of the time nothing happens the millions people standing around with their safety caps on just fade into oblivion. However if against all odds, you are so unlucky that some ill fate does befall you. Of any kind. There they are. The pessimistic, defeatist, flaunters of bleak, revellers of tragedy phones in hand, in all likelihood snapping photos rather than helping, which are uploaded in seconds with alarmist captions headlining the news everywhere.

Thank you to everyone, particularly experienced yachties, who have written in asking us to wear safety harnesses and to tie off to the boat. This seems a reasonable suggestion from people concerned for our safety. Thanks even more the gentleman who sent us a care package of harnesses and tethers. This is excellent and welcome advice. Less welcome is “be careful of lightening!” And the guy who wrote in telling Elayna she shouldn’t drive the tender alone, this is even less reasonable and probably sexist. During the day we don’t wear harnesses, we are purchasing 2 x PLB’s and they will be affixed our 2 slim lifejackets and worn at night. I think that we film less with the jackets on because its a bit rough for filming.


There are always trade offs, compromises. Especially before a larger crossing.

If I had a million dollars I would have a large stainless steel rail installed around the yachts entirety, an in date life raft and laser flares and flood lights and a T1000 sent back in time by SKYNET to take care of any Pirates. But I don’t have a Terminator and so I make the same calculation that anyone has made that has ever crossed a road.

Do I think its safe enough to go?

Comments 98

  1. Good rant. Everybody’s an expert and I’m sure it gets old hearing what you should do from people sitting on the couch or who never sail out of sight of land.
    I’m a big fan of “there’s six or one half dozen ways to do something” and “it’s only crazy if it doesn’t work”, or something like that.
    Looking forward to more of your sailing videos.

    1. I would like to say you are both an inspiration and think you have achieved something amazing, in fact I am off to France next week to buy my self a yacht as this has always been my dream to sail the world and watching all your videos I have decided.
      Keep enjoying it and remember when people pick fault they are just jealous and don’t have the courage to do what you have both done.

  2. Go for it! I have done a few thousand racing miles at sea and not once felt unsafe with good planning, good training and good crew. The best thing I have done is my sea survival course every few years as it makes you think. We are a professional boat – but we still out life jackets on at night and have the deck lights on for nighttime sail changes. Amazing, best hobby going!

  3. Thanks for writing this, guys. I was planning on writing something like this myself, including the rant on television, modern scare tactics, and the comments about people who have never been on a boat but seem to know everything. It’s like you’re my alter ego or something. Kinda weird.

  4. Don’t worry about peoples negative comments. They are generally envious of you and your lifestyle and want to feel better about themselves for not doing what you are. The most advice I ever got about raising children was from people who never had any. I suspect the same attitude follows with advice on how to sail from non sailors. I agree with the general paranoia about ones safety in todays world. Its absurd to worry about every possible threat. Keep the faith and good on ya. I have been to Aus. and loved the people and place. Hope to go back some day

  5. She shouldn’t drive the dinghy alone? Really? That is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve heard. She absolutely should drive the dinghy alone. Safety requires that she be competent at all aspects of boating. But I suppose posting things on the internet makes people feel like they are obligated to comment from the safety of their living rooms. Carry on with your great adventures, you two!

  6. I could not agree more!! I too have stopped watching the television since moving onboard and feel all the better for it, I see nothing positive on it and find almost every program has undertones of doom and sadness.

    I too hope to get a T1000 at some point, but until then like you I will make my own “risk assessments” in life and trust in my own brain to tell me what is safe and what is not.

    1. Hear hear mate, I agree, TV is mind controlling, fear mongering BS. Great piece Ryley, it’s a great help for us getting started out there in the wild blue cruising to hear such confidence stuff from those who’ve cut their teeth in it already.

  7. I have cancer. I have had many well meaning folks give me advice – from “miracle cures” to unkind reviews of my karma…
    I also have a 30′ sloop and sail.
    In either case I rely on experience, an open mind and quality of life.

  8. I like your thoughts well said. Found myself watching the news with my family and had to turn it off as my 4 and 5 year old are too young to be bombarded by all the bad shit in the World. It really isn’t suitable for kids. And you are right, do what’s best for you now within your means to make it happen as safe as possible, things and your perspective will change esp when you guys have kids ? and as you get older. Man that is a game changer. Hopefully when my wife an I take our kids off to explore the world in a few years, we will embrace the adventure, though we will be overboard with the safety aspect so to speak. Would be a completely different story if it was just us. Have fun love the info. PS was following finally my darling and met Col, he put us into you guys. Cheers from Meg and Dean.

  9. Very well said, Riley. I couldn’t agree more. At some point in time it’s nice and prudent if a little “common sense” were put into play. Wishing you and Elayna all the best!

  10. Ry, your stance in the picture is too far apart, a sea lion could surface, jump and bite you in the balls, oh the horror…..rofl 😉

    Travel as you see fit always.

  11. We’ve sailed offshore with our kids since they were born, often on multi-day passages between remote islands. We had fishnet tied to the stanchions all around and they were free to play on deck whenever they wanted to. They wore harnesses only in heavier seas and after sunset. Not once in 15 years of sailing with them did we ever have a fall or any kind of mishap. We raised them with values of open-mindedness, independence, responsibility, and clear-minded evaluation of actual risk. Instilled fears and the bogey man were not in the equation. Today they are calm, adventurous and totally confident. Oh, and no, we don’t own a TV either.

  12. I agree, good rant. I’m fascinated by society’s relationship with risk and not sure we’re heading a good direction. I work a statistically dangerous job (farmer) and I’m probably perceived as a bit of a risk taker, but I try to think about, and make sensible judgements about what is and isn’t reasonably safe, all the time. I actually reckon I’m more towards the safety squirrel end of the equation than your average Joe. Who is scared of stuff but doesn’t put much thought into it. Dunno what all this means but I know I want to raise my kids to be prepared to assess the level of risk in a situation for themselves. Not just react to the news etc.

  13. Not to mention food ,it seems everything is bad for us .The irony is that the tech that allows us to follow you on utube also alerts us to every disaster ,every health scare etc . In the UK even normal winter weather is reported in a dramatic way ,what used to be called blustery conditions are know given names ,currently storm Dennis . If we listen to all this rubbish no one would ever step outside the door.

  14. Great comments Riley & Elayna. You guys are actually out there doing it.
    Not riding in the tender by yourself…give me a break! Obviously never been to sea. What happens to all the solo yachties? Having a harness on that has double hook-up lines in rough weather – day or night is sensible, as is running emergency safety lines in forecast BAD weather for any time you have to leave the cockpit to go on deck. PLB are great as are numerous types of MOB units like the Raymarine life tags, but the aim is NOT to fall overboard in the first place. Look forward to sailing with you again soon guys and keep the posts coming.

  15. It does seem that was are cocooned in a fear blanket by media. The meir idea of sailing around the world for 99.9% of people is ludicrous and dangerous and it is easier to preach a message of fear than to simply relish the adventure.

    I am more likely to get killed on the highway driving to work than falling overboard during a calm sail. Common sense is your North Star but the deviation is slightly different for everyone.

  16. How much to do for Safety is a personal thing. We wear PFDs when the boat is moving. Personal preference and the way I was taught. I don’t wear a helmet while bicycling. Don’t like to and did not learn that way. You two keep doing what youre doing.

  17. Amazing post….I absolutely loved it. If we all lived in fear of what might happen no one would walk up or down a flight of stairs.

    Keep up the adventure, and have some untethered fun for me. 😉 cheers

  18. I have plenty of racing, coastal and offshore, one rule we always have is to wear harnesses at night or on watch alone

  19. Ignore the naysayers. What makes a good sailor? A PREPARED Sailor. If you prepare and train yourself for every contingency you can think of, hopefully, you will be ready for anything Mother nature throws at you. Mother Nature, i.e specifically, the OCEAN, as you already seem to know, is one of the most unforgiving things you will ever encounter. In Hawaii we learned one very important thing early on…. never, ever, turn your back on the Ocean. She will reach out and snatch your life in the blink of an eye. Good job on following your dreams on the water!!! Stay prepared and you will stay alive!!!

  20. Spot on Pal!

    Im currently preparing my boat “the Foxy Lady” for a circumnavigation in the Netherlands, set to start in may next year for a summer in the med and then join the ARC. What i’ve learned doing small crossing to the UK is we wear a harness when we are in rough weather and the only one awake on nights. More so the others sleep comfortably not fearing to wake up to a missing crewmember. Which is pretty much my biggest worry.
    Matter of keeping your wits about you and not getting complacent i guess.
    For the rest its a raft, epirb, AIS and pyrotechnics I’ll be carrying.

    I have a question though, you bought PLB’s? You probably worked with these a lot offshore as I do but do you have a direction finder and all that aswell then?



    1. You can get PLB’s with and without GPS. One with GPS is more expensive but much, much better because the satellites don’t have to fix on your point using Doppler shift mathematics. They get sent the position.

  21. Hmmm. I seem to remember this topic being beaten to death previously. Clearly you have not sacrificed your principles, however, the fact that in the US from 2003-2007, 2384 people died in boating events, that did not involve falling off a boat and staying off, certainly makes one wonder what going on out there. MOB aside, boating seems way too dangerous and should probably be avoided entirely.

  22. Now that I have read the sanitized version of your rant I wouldn’t mind giving the uncensored version a read.

    Risk is relative to the circumstances and the individuals involved. For the most part we all have different tolerances of the level of risk we are willing to accept and we take reasonable steps to mitigate that risk. Speaking to MOB you and Elayna are excellent swimmers, clearly very comfortable in the water. Speaking for myself, being older than rocks and dirt and a very poor swimmer, I am sure I wear my life jacket and tether myself in far more often than you two do. That doesn’t make me right and you wrong, we are simply assessing and mitigating risk in our own way.

    Now if you are surprised the net nannies of the world, parked in front of a computer, in their Mother’s basement, have inundated you with uninformed and unsolicited safety advice, well you just don’t get the internet.

    Enjoy your cruise, safe passage and thanks for sharing your adventures.

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      1. Listen , you two are loving parents,I don’t care where you live! I’ve been married to a divorce and child custody lawyer in Chicago for 36 years! I can tell you horror stories about parents that live on land !! It doesn’t matter where you live as long as there is love and caring! I wish I were on a boat right now! But you have given me a lot to watch since this horrible time! Don’t listen to these people, there are a lot of stupid people out there unfortunately, obviously that’s why we can’t get rid if this virus! They are probably the ones criticizing you! They should take a look at their own lives! Thank you for some great shows and hang in there!?

  23. Riley, I had the pleasure of flying with an Australian for 2 years as my navigator in a Naval helicopter. He had a simple saying he used quite a bit apart from, ” no worries mate”. ……” don’t let the bastards grind you down”… Looking forward to the next phase of your adventure. P

  24. ps…..I pulled a couple of guys out of the water who were not wearing safety harnesses at night though….take care tou two. P

  25. Thank you for sharing your adventures. You are encouraging me to keep the dream alive. Please keep me on your mailing list.
    I will help keep you going.

  26. Also consider that there is a social aspect to this reaction from some people. You guys are putting yourself out there, and some people feel it’s their duty or right to have feedback, or that their feedback is even wanted or valuable…most of the time it’s not.

    If your going to grow this and become more popular, your going to have to develope a thicker skin, and let these people negativity fall on deaf ears.

    I love what your doing and I’m always happy to see updates, also Vive la Galatea!

  27. Hey guys,

    Good rant. 🙂 I am preparing to the VicMaui (Victoria to Hawaii) with a bunch of friends on a Jeanneau 36 next year, so I watch your videos here in the office in the UK. I have resigned, so the smile is less inside, and more outside the days.

    Anyway. Yes, harnesses! Bless the yachtie who sent you guys a bunch. Having just done my ISAF safety at sea course, let me give you a breakdown of the salient points that have stuck with me.

    1. Always step up into the liferaft. If you step down you’re going too soon.
    2. La Vaga is the best place to be. Empty the fuel tanks or one water tank and hit your EPIRB; La Vaga will float is somewhat submerged and it is the BEST place to be.
    3. String something up to get out of the water, if she is flooded. Even the warmest water on the planet is 32 degrees. The human body needs 36 or 37. So no matter where you fall in, even on the equator; you will eventually die of hypothermia.
    4. A liferaft is a kids paddling pool. Nothing more.
    5. Liferaft – Throw it in with the painter tied to La Vaga at the LAST moment. The other end of the painter is GLUED to the liferaft. If it pulls along behind your yacht for too long it will literally pull apart. It really is a kids paddling pool. We got in one in the pool here to see how they work. They are the most miserable place on earth.
    6. In your ditch bag have a VHF hand held radio. Why? So you can talk to the helicopter, rescue ship on channel 16.
    6. Drink lots and lots of water before you go in.
    7. Noone drinks for the first 24 hours.
    8. Any water bottles you take to the liferaft should be 90% full. If you lose them in the high seas they will not float if they are 100% full.

    That is the best parts I can remember and I’m certain you will not need any of it. But some of those tips really stuck with me. The thing that really stuck with me was how truly horrific being in a liferaft was. Even in a pool.

    “If you step down into a liferaft, you’re going too soon.”

    Keep up the adventure guys.


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      I too have done these safety courses for my work offshore. They are annoying aren’t they. I have read about the “stepping up” theory for life rafts and could not agree more. I have informed Elayna of most of these points at some stage or another but I might just go over them again with her. Thanks for surmising it for me, I’ll show her soon but now for a story:

      At one of these courses the instructor said “because you don’t want to end up like one of these idiots” and he pointed to a newspaper article where a Navy guy in W.A. had capsized his tiny dingy whilst he and 5 friends were trying to make it from Perth to Rottnest Island. I put up my hand and pointed at the article and said “the guy on the left is my best mate and the other is my housemate!” Dustin has been with us in Crete, is featured in the Cricket episode and will be meeting us in the Galapagos. Hahahaha. Dutto.

  28. Ok I totally understand youtube worriers with lame no life experiance advice. BUT AND THERE IS A BUT. Ive been sail for 40yrs since I was 5 and never needed assistance. I was IRB captain of two life saving clubs and felt I had a good grasp of safety. Till one day sailing from Wollongong to Sydney I hit a whale and it disabled my vessle. Now I had flares radios becons life jackets and was drfiting for over 12 hours. Safety is number one then come all else. Im not a rich man not by anyones even street dwellers standard, as I have done that to.
    I love these to and hang for every video. I hope the are always safe and always capable. But as I learned it only takes the once for you to have a re think. Heres a short video of the drama caused by a whale;

  29. Well said Riley, I agree with you totally. I have lived aboard for almost 19 years on my sailboat “Morning Star” and have had lots of conversations with lots of people of which most haven’t got a clue to what it’s like out there. You can spot them a mile away….. It’s like I tell a lot of them “It’s a wonderful way of life, not meant for everyone. THANK GOD.” By the way of the 19 years, 17 have been on the hook or a mooring….docks are too much like trailer parks…..Keep up the great videos and I’ll keep on watching. Dave and Trish. p.s. we’re in Key West and no television stations but we gave up main stream tv long ago….except we miss our Masterpiece Theater on PBS. so long for now….

  30. Love it. Absolutely spot on mate. No one questions some of this shite advise dished out by the “experts”.
    Been sailing for 15 years and never worn a lifejacket in the Med in summer. Night sailing across English channel in winter is kind of different but if you are a strong swimmer and grew up surfing/swimming in Oz you hardly need a lifejacket when cruising.

    Coconuts do hurt from 1st hand experience 🙂

  31. Hah. And yes we do need to slow the pessimistic fear creeping into our 1st world ex-British cultures – although a pod of trained rescue dolphins would be a sight to behold!

  32. You and elayna just keep on course,do not let hatch closers dictate your course.Keep sailing,loving all your videos

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  33. Live like Jay.. is what my daughter would say. Most cannot envision letting go, its just too big. They feel a so alive standing at the open door, then they jump back in for fear of which side the door they will be when it closes.
    Back in ’89 I went to Australian repelling school on Jeju Island in the south china sea. We trained, then the last event we were broken into competing teams of 8. Heights on some of those cliffs gave me the heebee jeebees. Anyway the last trial of our race was a 300 meter decent half was free fall. I opened the door and demanded to be first to go. Not for glory, but for the 14 boots that could kick me in the ass for not going. I went over the edge. That door shut behind me. You know, I lived. Love the spirit you to have….I love sailing. When your sailing..your already there.

  34. The best cruising advice on the net;
    ~ Keep the water out
    ~ Keep the crew on the boat
    ~ Keep the keel side down
    ~ Keep the mast up
    ~ Keep the rudder on
    The rest is small stuff.

    Quoted from

    Ps. Use the tethers at night when you get them – it’s not about your perception of risk, it’s about being fair to the crew sleeping below!

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  35. Don’t mistake common sense for good sense. They are different and probably mutually exclusive. listen to your gut- there lies good sense . Keep it real

  36. Great piece Riley and reading the comments is always entertaining. Nice to see for a change that you have a lot of level headed, real people on here, who probably grew up playing outside in the mud and rain and didn’t care either. Awesome.

  37. Before going on an overwater flight on a Blackhawk helicopter where I used to work, we had to be outfitted with all kind of safety gear by the chopper’s crew chief. I was given a helmet, an inflatable life vest, and even an emergency underwater mini scuba breathing tank that you could breathe with for ten minutes or so. Then, I had the safety briefing and was told that in the event of a water crash, my job was to remove the inflatable life raft next to my seat that was strapped to the bulkhead, by unbuckling its straps, then pushing it out the door, pulling the inflation handle, waiting for it to inflate, and then helping everyone else get on board, before climbing in myself, and then unsnapping the tether connecting it to the helicopter and pushing us away.
    I thought that sounded like a lot of stuff to do and I told the crew chief so and asked how long I would have to accomplish these tasks. When we first hit the water, he said, the helicopter will flip upside down because all of the heavy stuff is on the top. In about three seconds it will be completely submerged. In five more seconds, we will be at sixty feet. And, then it just keeps going down to the bottom which is about 3000 feet where we will be flying.
    I thought about it and asked if anybody ever lived in one of these crashes and he said not very often. I then asked him, who thought up all this stuff we are wearing and all that life raft launching stuff.
    Somebody that has never been in a helicopter that crashed in the ocean, he said.

    1. I just LMAO at Ralph Holiman’s post!
      I absolutely love your videos and also could call them boat porn! Thanks so much and keep it up in all departments. So much more i could comment on. I get so much also from peoples post on your site!

  38. Hi, Riley, I may have been part cause of the rant about harness wearing. My concern was for your safety. But good rant nevertheless. Looking forward to more episodes. Cheers.

  39. Hi
    After sailing for many years our rule of thumb on personal safety is.
    Lifejacket and Harness on and tethered at night. If we have to put on foul weather gear during the day so does the lifejacket and Harness.
    The whole crew is practiced and trained on man overboard drill. It gets tricky when there is only 2 of you especially getting the casualty back on board.
    In essence take smart risks and stay attached to the boat.
    Happy sailing. I love the videos.
    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you both.


  40. I understand and agree with your rant, but a life raft sure makes sense if you are far from shore. A raft is a crappy place to be, but certainly better than being stuck in the drink. I enjoy your videos!

  41. Just a few words about safety:

    First of all: English is not my native language why some of my writing can seem a little clumsy. I have sailing experience through many years and I’m a gliding pilot as well. Risk assessment is a part of my daily life.

    Safety is not absolute. It depends of a lot of factors, especially the assessment of your own capabilities. Every time you do something you are making a risk assessment: Crossing the street, climbing a ladder, flying with Congo Airlines, driving 200 km/h, crossing the Atlantic, sailing in pirate waters and so on. When doing things repeatedly you are forming a routine of doing these things, and your risk assessment change accordingly.

    But – a lot of identical risks are assessed very different by different people

    When you step into an airliner you know its one of the safest ways to travel. And if its goes wrong there’s nothing you can do. Crossing the Atlantic in a 43 foot Beneteau is perhaps not the safest way to do so, but there’s a lot you can do to prevent it from going wrong. And its your intelligence, experience and routine that determines which kind of safety measures you willl take.

    What Riley has decided to do safety wise is far from what some people with other safety standards think is safe. And so it is. We are all very different, indeed. I think the safety “advice” given to you is in the best sense to see you guys well and safe. And I’m sure you will catch the usefull bits in the advices.

    Please stay alive and well, as I very much enjoy your videos and that’s why I have maked a pledge for some more!

    I think your’e lovely couple and wish you a very happy new year with lots of safe sailing 🙂

  42. You guys are doing good. I have sailed over 60,000 ocean miles, solo. I have only two rules on my boat. Rule #1 Don’t fall overboard. Rule #2 No animals allowed aboard that you can’t eat.

  43. Two comments based on experience as both a cruising sailor and a member of the US Coast Guard:

    1. The number one factor determining anyone’s ability to survive going overboard is the water temperature. It should also be the number one factor for determining what safety gear is needed. Swimming ability irrelevant. Here are some good references:

    2. Always carry a hand held signal mirror. More than once I participated in rescues where the use of a signal mirror made the difference between life and death. Even when the survivor was well equipped with things like PLBs, EPIRBs or flares, the signal mirror is how the survivor was actually found in the water. One survivor told me a ship had passed within a 1/4 mile without spotting his handheld flare but saw the signal mirror almost immediately.

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  44. you only live once & you guys are living it. the safety freaks have no life & nor will they. you do it how you want.
    I had this way up written on the keel of one of my old boats that didn’t go down well with the race safety idiots

  45. Riley,

    Government is very good at trying to be a Nanny, but don’t have a clue about anything practical or logical.

    Your outlook is very similar to mine. I see you read e-books….You every read any Dylan Thomas?

  46. My wife can now have the TV control – as long as it’s okay for her to use it by herself?
    Go La Vagabonde ?

  47. When I purchased my first sailboat, during the sea trial the gentleman selling it went overboard. This happened in San Francisco Bay with 23kt winds, which is typical on a summer afternoon. He was the only one not wearing a pfd. The other 2 people aboard had only sailed a couple times. I was able to pilot the boat back to him under sail, drag the life sling to him and then immediately heave to and pull him to the swim ladder. Scariest day ever. I make everyone wear a pdf at all times. Clipping in to jack line may not be necessary except at night, but not wearing a pdf is foolish in my opinion. How long can you tread water in choppy seas.

  48. I love watching your guys videos, they are so inspiring and informative and while I totally agree with what you have said and your approach towards living life and managing risk, I do feel that the intentions are there for a good reason. I was involved in a capsizing event in the Philippines a few years ago which left me lost at sea for 3 rough days, we lost 1 person to the sea and the only reason I’m here right now is because a bulk carrier changed course last minute to avoid Christmas traffic (which put it within 100m of our drift). Nobody knew we where missing at sea the whole time. I’m not a sailor, but always approached life with the same attitude of adventure and positivity, doing as the locals do and focusing on experiences without constrain. Yes, the chance of this happening is slim, I had taken this passage a million times, even as a child… but it happened. It has to happen to someone right?

    Yes, prevention is the best solution. The guys with their safety caps on have a good message (even if sometimes a bit too eager), and trust me, you will not regret it if the situation arises that you do need those extra safety measures. The tiniest safety measure may be a slight nuisance in cost/practicality in day to day life etc… but they could end up meaning the difference of life and death. I am glad to hear you guys will be getting PLB’s, with the amount of followers and future hopefuls like myself it is great that you will be setting a good example for us.

    I struggle to get back onto or near the water after what happened. I have never sailed before and suffer from PTSD from the ordeal. I stumbled upon your videos on youtube and they have been very inspiring for me to try and overcome everything head on… so I will be doing a sailing course when Melbourne gets warmer and hopefully conquer these issues! To those that believe all these safety rules are over the top, you obviously have never been lost at sea. You can live life while being smart as well.

    Stay safe guys!


  49. ive always wondered if by chance you did get knocked off the boat without wearing any safety gear, would Elayna be able to turn the boat around and go get you?

  50. Riley, I remember your take away from the party in La Grand Motte. You said not to be afraid… pirates or sharks. I think this rant is funny! Sorry. I whole heartedly agree with your advice. Everyone dies, but not everyone lives! Take care guys!

  51. Safety at Sea. Friday Night LIVE

    I love your interaction and I see your connection to each other. When your your you have a feeling that you are Invincible there is a risk you become unaware of. I lived on a boat and sailed for four years and scuba for the past forty. I race on a sailing team for three years it was quite and experience.
    I have also hang glided for a number of years . I came down with Lyme disease and it has taken a tole the past 6 years of my life. I really love your You Tube videos and as much as you like the freedom of not wearing the safety gear and the inconvenience of putting it on and taking it off you made and impacted on a lot of your viewers lives. We don’t want anything to happen to you both. I live in Jupiter , Florida and heard you might visit hopefully this area I think you would enjoy the hospitality and the people. Be safe and try to think safety first. I know it seam to take away from the experience but It would be a very sad day to see anything happen to either of you.
    Be Safe and god speed . Would love to meet you both.
    Sailing La Vagabonde


    I do some webdesign but more computer repair.
    On your is nicer to see you comments newest date first.
    just a sugesting

  52. “Better drowned than duffers, if not duffers won’t drown.” ― Arthur Ransome, Swallows and Amazons
    This quote has stayed in my head since I read it about 55 years ago. It was a father’s telegram giving permission for his children to go sailing on a lake in England.

    My 7-year-old son and I crewed a 10m boat with two others up and across the Atlantic (Brazil to Ireland) in 1986. We wore harnesses on watch at night, in the dark. (I had nightmares of treading water, feeling dumb and watching the boat disappearing into the distance!) Never during the day, though admittedly we met no extreme weather.

    Life is full of risks. Smart people know how to evaluate them, take the appropriate measures and, hopefully, survive. There is never a guarantee. But being paranoic about danger makes for a boring life!

    Keep it up, you two! It is fun to watch your videos.

  53. Great comments and outlook on ‘ sensible safety’, not over the top ‘safety’ that would never allow most to leave port.
    Life without risk is lifelessness.
    Keep up the great videos.
    You are both legends.

    See you ‘out there’ one day .
    Regards Gordon

    p.s. watch out for the mozzies when you go arctic!
    I’ve heard they can be pretty bad.

  54. Getting in an auto accident is also “unlikely”, but you still put your seat belt on probably.

    The level of safety equipment is related to the level of risk.

    During daylight hours when it’s not stormy, not much is needed. At night or during stormy weather, at least an inflatable life jacket (ideally with an AIS-MOB, because you’re not likely to be found otherwise). At night AND stormy weather, probably best to be clipped in.

    Also: you’re currently in the Med and the risk is probably quite low, and not as big of a deal, especially since the average/mean sea temperature is about 20C. If you’re going to the Arctic Sea the water temperature is 10C–in July. Even with exposure suits how long do you think you’d last?

    Clipping in can certainly get in the way, but getting in the habit of at least having an inflatable vests, which don’t get in the way a lot, will be good practice for the North Atlantic.

  55. When rigging scaffold, the person on top doesn’t wear a hardhat, because there is nothing above him and a harness is useless because there is nothing to secure it to. That said, the others below will use protection.

    Even in beautiful weather, if both of you go overboard and there is nobody on-board to turn the boat around, you will not be able to swim fast enough to compensate for any wind that is moving the boat. I’ve been in that situation on a lake, you cannot catch a boat, without another boat when there is any wind at all.

    We had a dog go overboard after a fish on a sail. We circled around and missed him the first time and picked him up the second time, the poor dog probably spent 40 minutes in the water.

    The compromise might be that if both of you are above decks and one is doing anything risky, the other should be tethered. The danger you face if both of you go overboard is swimming after a boat that you can never catch.

  56. Careful… 100% of non-smokers die!

    Keep trusting your instincts and using your brain. Thanks for sharing your journeys.

  57. Boy….lots of people are really saying some junk….I love y’all and just keep being you…..these negitive people give me a headache! Much love to you both and I get you…..happy sailings ❤❤❤❤

  58. Said it all well Riley! You should know that you have fans here in Israel. Maybe you want to try your luck dodging terrorists? HaHa. Anyway you are welcome to sail with us in Hertzilya or Ashkelon along our beautiful coast. Or we can take you for a tour in Jerusalem if you like. We sailed Corsica and Sardenia a few months ago. Not a simple feat I thought. Many reefs and unpredictable winds. Happy journeys! Menachem and Limor and Kids.

  59. Thanks guys,
    Besides sails, the only thing you can raise is awareness.

    But never try to explain it. Your awareness that is. Just trust your own. You will be fine.

    Love you guys!

  60. Riley, Good thoughts and video. I`m a low experienced bad weather sailer and a more experience long distance flier. I`ve grown fond of both of you ‘kids’ over the years and believe you know and respect your limits. Sometimes it pays to err on the side of caution however. Rig up at night when solo on watch. Pain in the ass I know. It says nothing of your own ability but rather it respects your mates peace of mind. The look on Elayna`s face around the 4 minute mark says it all. I`ve seen it on my wife`s face numerous times when discussing the oceanic crossings we are going to do in my home built Seawind amphibian aircraft. Ditching is something she hates to think about but something we have to plan for. Flying and sailing is similar. Dealing with weather. And some times the forecasts are wrong. And so we have 99% bliss (or boredom) punctuated by moments of sheer terror. I don`t wish the terror on anyone though I`ve gone through it myself in both mediums. All the best to you and yours.

  61. Hi Guys, Love everything you do. A lot of real good info in the above messages, In what ever level of safety you decide, Please form Habits so in the times when you are over tired at your most vulnerable. they become your instinct . These Instincts Look before crossing a road, even after too many drinks. Stay Safe and enjoy.

  62. Riley and Elayna,

    I started cruising in the early 1970s. In 1987 I produced a national boating safety TV series (“Captain’s Log with Captain Mark Gray” on TLC – primetime in USA from 1987 – 1990) to give new boaters the safety information I always wished I had when I started. On my first cruise we (two of us) were chased by Haitian pirates and had to sail into a hurricane at night to escape them but hey, that’s another story.

    *** Please do a MOB (Man Overboard) drill on VIDEO for everyone to learn from!

    On a nice day out in the ocean, (not in a bay or harbor of course) toss over an empty ? 1 gallon water jug painted brown to simulate hair on a head bobbing around. You can even mark the MOB on your GPS to help you. Then let one, or even two of you handle the sails / boat and find the jug. I’ll bet you will never see it (or that person) again and that was the best of circumstances.

    * Imagine that at night in a strong wind on autopilot with no one else topside.
    How long would it be before anyone would even know you went over?

    When cruising always wear a comfortable Mae West Life Vest when topside and carry a waterproof VHF fully charged handheld radio. When it is kicking up or at night, strap on a fanny pack with pen flares etc… even a harness to the jackline when working topside because it is far better to prevent an incident than it is to deal with an avoidable,,, life or death situation. There are MOB bracelets / systems to alert everyone and if money (or ad trade) is no problem, well, go for it. There are cheap water detectors as well to know ASAP about water entering your boat, when and where.

    Thanks for these great videos.
    My youth is gone but great memories last a lifetime (unless your brain leaves you of course).

    1. As I watch Ep 156, where once AGAIN you are a bloody mess,,,

      I can only say, do your best, go overboard on AVOIDING all of the disasters you can (be “properly” prepared and educated = seek out and DO everything possible to handle the disasters that you can not avoid). Each of you learn how to stitch up people and buy the PROPER medical gear for your boat (everything possible as you are your own first responder / hospital out on the water).

      We all love you two and only want you to survive the adventure. If EITHER or BOTH of you die etc then we will feel guilty for not doing all we can to make you two, well, survive the adventure. It is very dangerous out there so be as safe as possible 24/7…

  63. I like the way you approach safety at sea.

    “Don’t be stupid or do stupid things should be enought for everyone to be fairly safe when cruising”

    This is just impossible to rely on safety gears, procedures or else, those are to mitigate, not to protect you from bad things happening.

    Keep it up , your life looks great and I am so glade you share some of it with us…

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