Return to site

ASA103 Safety Equipment & Procedures

· sailing,ASA103

As a boat skipper it will be your responsibility to keep your crew and passengers safe. Below is a list of safety knowledge you will be expected to know in order to pass the ASA 103 certification.

List the federally required equipment for a 33-foot recreational vessel equipped with an inboard diesel engine.

  • Documents: Boat Registration, Registration Numbers, Documentation, Navigation Rules, State Regulations
  • Safety: Personal Flotation Devices, Visual Distress Signals, Fire Extinguishers, Sound-Producing Devices, Navigation Lights
  • Other: Placards, Marine Sanitation Device

List the ASA recommended safety equipment for a recreational sailing vessel.

Navigation charts and equipment, VHF Radio, Softwood plugs, Bilge pump, Anchor, First aid kit, Tool kit with spare parts, Flashlight, Safety harnesses, Life buoys and buoyant heaving line, Life raft or dinghy.

Describe the characteristics and benefits of Personal Flotation Devices (PFD’s), both Wearable (Life Jackets) and Throwable.

If a person falls overboard, one of the first thing you ought to do is to throw a throwable personal flotation device so that they have something to grab on to. A square cushion with armbands, a life ring, and a horseshoe buoy are all examples of throwable equipment. In the unfortunate event that you or somebody else falls overboard, wearing a wearable personal flotation device (i.e. a life jacket) is the most effective at keeping that MOB (man/woman overboard) safe.


Describe ways to keep gear & equipment secure and in their proper location

Before getting underway, make sure all unsecured objects (aka anything that's loose or not in its proper place) are stowed in lockers or on shelves behind fiddle rails deep enough to hold the items in place. Make sure that each locker door is properly latched, as an unlatched door will likely swing open as soon as the boat begins to heel.

Describe the purpose and proper use of a safety harness and tether.

The goal of the safety harness and tether is to keep you on the boat. Falling overboard can be fatal, especially when sailing alone. A safety harness is recommended whenever big winds are around and sailing alone.

Man or woman overboard (MOB)

If any crew mate falls over board, immediately yell "Man overboard!" to alert your crew. Throw a floatable device in the water for them to hang on to. Assign a spotter so that you do not lose sight of them.

After completing these important and mandatory steps, there are a few different MOB maneuvers to choose from. One of them is to immediately go away on a beam reach, tack, sail back to the MOB on the opposite beam reach and sail by them downwind (leeward of the MOB) to avoid hitting them with the bow of your boat (waves can push the bow into the MOB). Travel about 2.5 boat lengths, tack, heave to, and get the MOB back on board.