On Cruiser Sailing Vessels.


    Other Language Translations

Skyeye Web Site.

 Weather Fax 2000 Web Site. 




This guide has been compiled for persons making extended off shore passages,

coastal passages of considerable distances, traveling a considerable distance from safe, protected waters and the vessel is not in contact by some form of communication with shore bases and other distant sources. I have 35 years of ocean going passages on both mono & multihull vessels in addition to harbour and coastal cruising passages. The guidelines I out line are just that, guidelines only and nothing more. The guidelines

I out line / list in this document are now the minimum I try to strive for when I am deciding whether to accept or not to accept boarding a vessel as crew or as the skipper. Nothing stated is a recommendation or suggestions for others to follow. I have found a large number of Owners / Skippers I approach do not have verifiable references from past crew they have sailed with yet they request the same from me or crew intending to make a passage on their vessel. By reading these guidelines I hope you will not endure some of the situations I experienced / experiencing still or make the same mistakes that I made / still making, over the years through lack of knowledge, over enthusiasm to get on board a vessel just to say yeah I have done an off shore passage or to gain experience on the high seas.


I give no guarantees what so ever and accept no responsibility what so ever for the result / results of decisions made by yourself or for what you may experience when you accept to sign onto a vessel of your choice after reading these guidelines and adhere to the advice given here in. The intent of my advice is to minimize, reduce any risk or situation that is encountered when one embarks on an adventure on the high seas.

Thank you for accessing this service and I wish you a safe, comfortable and pleasurable sailing on all your passages / adventures.

 http://Weather website.

 Skippers Responsibilities Rules and Regs


When asking questions regarding equipment, fittings, safety features, hardware or what ever, pertaining to the vessel, in particular the vessels and your safety, including comfort, you intend to join, make sure you ask and get answers to the following questions to your satisfaction.

(a)    Do you have?

(b)   Does it work to an acceptable standard for what it was intended?

(c)    Are the crew allowed to use it.

(d)   When it was last serviced or inspected by an authorized service agent?

(e)    Does it have a current servicing / inspection certificate issued by an authorized agent?

Examples of instances that I have encountered, suffered from, by not asking all of the

5 questions and getting answers to are,


            Do you have an electric anchor winch / capstan? Answer was yes. Only to find out later that it did not work or the Owner / Captain would not allow crew members

to use it as it was too much of a drain on the batteries or I don’t like recharging the batteries because I can’t afford the diesel to do so or it is unnecessary use of diesel.


            Do you have a rubber ducky with an out board motor? Answer was yes. Only to find out later the crew where not allowed to use it unless the Captain was a passenger at the time of use. One Captain elected not to go ashore for 4 days.


Another boat the out board motor was ceased and he had no intention of fixing it at the time when he answered yes.


             Do you have a shower on board with pressurized water? The answer was yes. Only to find out once off shore the crew where not allowed to use it because of a lack of water capacity or water making capacity although the Captain took a daily shower.


             Do you have refrigeration and a deep freeze on board? The answer was yes.

  Once on board I found out they where out of commission and had been for some time.


             Ask these questions.


       1.   Do all skin fittings (out flow) have non-return valves installed, including cockpit

             drains, vanity and galley sinks.


 2.   Does the vessels have bilge pumps and what capacity are they? I insist on a

       minimum of at least two bilge pumps on the vessel with a minimum capacity

       rating of 2500 gals per hour each, with automatic float switches, float switch

       guards and with light indicators displayed in a common visible position,

       preferably displayed on the engine instrument panel because this is usually

       visible from the helming station. Engine room, should be fitted with a Smart

       pump switch and detector. All bilge pumps should be connected to a three way

       rocker panel switch as well and should not (along with co alarms) be routed

       through the boats battery switch. Do you have at least one float switch in the

       spares department? Bilge pumps are your first and last line of staying afloat

       when taking on water. If you have to abandon ship because of taking on water,

       time is an important factor in sending out a mayday call, launching the life raft

       and all getting a board, with all the necessities one can take to make ones

       experience, endurance of such as comfortable as possible. Remember bilge

       pumps are your last line of defence in staying afloat. Check to see if the hand

       bilge pump actually works. In addition all hull inlets and outlets should have

       soft wooded tapered plugs tied to the hull skin fittings, sized to suit each




3. Do you have a life raft, is the regular servicing in date and will it remain in date

     for the passage? Capacity of life raft? Life rafts, if not serviced regularly can

           perish if insufficient talc powder was used when repacking. A dated test

     service sticker is always attached to the outside of the canister or bag if it has

     been serviced by a registered servicing business. If not ask to see the

     inspection serving certificate, issued by the approved servicing agent. Make

     sure it is USCG, ORC, IOR, CCA, AAA, approved and has independent buoyancy

     chambers, at least 4 deep ballast pockets, rain gathering catcher and a

     boarding ladder. Deep ballast pockets types have 4 times the anti capsizing

     capabilities compared to other types and normally have other superior

     attributes, such as less likely to flip upside down when launching. Life support

     mechanisms contained therein also have a use by

     date, as do MOB systems. Annual servicing / survey is a basic requirement for

     life rafts and is the norm internationally. Manufacturers have designed and built

     there life rafts with the understanding that they would be serviced / surveyed

     annually except for life rafts packed in a vacuum inner-pack. The vacuum inner-                                                                                                               

     pack  type, if no moister is shown to be present, the repacker can seal the raft

     back up for the first and second scheduled repacks only. If a raft servicing date

     is three years out of date, ask if it is a vacuum inner-pack type. One would

     expect some sort off sticker to acknowledge it has been inspected and re seal

     in accordance with serving / survey requirements for these type of rafts. If the

     seal is broken or does not look in tact, in all probability it has not been

     inspected by a servicing agent. Life raft manufactures place the burden of

     responsibility to service them with the life raft owner. Is the life raft a

     Hydrostatic type or a manually deployable type? Hydrostatic types need

     additional thought when deploying manually. The word life raft conjures a

     thought process that it’s a piece of equipment that is unfailing when all else

     fails. Over look the importance of this piece off safety equipment and you could

     be handing in your knife and fork earlier than you expected.  As from 1st January 2003. The International Sailing

     Federation recommends all life rafts be serviced by a manufacturer approved

     and certified company. If your life raft is serviced by a service station that is

     NOT APPROVED BY THE MANUFACTURER then product warranties may be void

     and any liabilities may well pass to the owner. This also applies when no annual

     service / survey / inspection has been carried out what so ever, including

     vacuum inner-pack raft types. The owner under these circumstances is putting

all on board at risk including himself. For private vessels it is acceptable for life

           rafts to be serviced every two years. Any longer it is not acceptable

           IN NEW ZEALAND if your life raft requires annual survey, contact the local

     Inspector or New Zealand Maritime Office in your area. They have a list of life

     raft service stations and the brands of life rafts these companies are approved

     to service. These companies are required by the New Zealand Maritime Safety

     Authority to have manufacturers training, manuals and genuine spare parts for                                     

     all life raft brands they are approved to service.  Also as from

           the 21st March the new navigation safety rule became law in New Zealand,

     stating the requirements / responsibility of Skippers from all on board. See           


       4. Do you have a S.S.B. transceiver radio installed capable of transmitting and

           receiving at a minimum distance of 2000 nms between station to station? Does

           it have DSC capabilities using NMEA data from the ships GPS or Loran? It is

           mandatory for N.Z. flagged vessels leaving N.Z. waters to have a S.S.B. radio

           under CAT 1 regulations. The DSC capability feature allows a distress

           message to be transmitted with one push of a button on all designated

           emergency channels, an important feature when one is under stress, in a

           panic situation allowing you more time to gather your wits and grab extra

           equipment to take in the life raft should the occasion arise. Ask if the radios

           where installed by an authorized serving agent. The answer should be yes.


       5. Do you have a VHF radio transceiver having a minimum power of 25 watts and

   capable of working on all standard international channels, with an external

   cockpit extension speaker and a masthead antenna. Both S.S.B. and VHF

   radios should have emergency antennas also. The DSC capability feature is

   also, of major benefit. Each electrical device on the vessel must have its own

   fuse located on the positive wire within seven inches of its source of power in

   addition to being connected through a circuit breaker panel. If the vessel does

   not have a masthead antenna’s the V.H.F. should have a range of 12 miles



 6. Do you have radar, which has a minimum of a 16-mile range capability? Does it

     have E.P.I.R.B. directional finding capabilities and does he know how to use this

     feature? Does it have guard mode, watch mode and displays rain squalls

     capabilities. The radar dome should be installed on the spreaders / crosstree for

     protection from sails making contact as the vessel changes tacks. If the dome

     is installed on the mast strong brackets and fastenings are essential for

     securing the dome. The dome should have a guard to protect it from contact of

     the sails, when tacking, preferably starting and finishing from just inside the

     shrouds on the spreaders / crosstree on the mast. Like wise for the loud haler

     speaker if there is one.


 7. Do you have two G.P.S’ s and one handheld back up G.P.S. with an ample supply

     of back up batteries and / or alternative power source?


  8. What is the fresh water capacity of the vessel? I put 250 gals as the minimum in

      determining whether I accept a position on board a vessel depending on

      whether a working and serviced water maker is on board. Another method is 5

      litres of water per person per 100 nms of voyage.


  9. What is the fuel capacity of the vessel and will there be enough for 6 days

      continuous motoring at a average cruising speed of 6.0 knots into a moderate

      head sea [ 2 meters (25 knots winds) ] when we leave port?


      10. Are the ships batteries older than three and a half years of age and what is the

            total amp hour’s capacity of such batteries? I accept a minimum of 390 amp

            hour’s capacity and 520-amp hour’s capacity if the vessel has a chart plotter,

            Autopilot, radar and refrigeration, which run of the house batteries. A separate

            battery for all radio communications is mandatory. I’m not happy with batteries

            older than 3 and a half years. Two banks are better than one. Do the batteries

            have an amp usage (DC ammeter) and a DC voltmeter?  Each bank of batteries

            must have their own, battery selector switch or multi combination switch. With

            the chart plotter, autopilot, radar, and one medium size 12 volt refrigerator on

            all together, they can draw 25 amps per hour and at night with the navigation

            lights on 30 to 35 amps per hour can be drained from the batteries. Accordingly

            at night over 11 hours 350 amp hours can be drained from the batteries.

            Usually something has to be turned off unless re charging is activated. I

            usually choose the navigation lights once the vessel is well offshore and out off

             shipping lanes particularly if the radar has a guard mode, watch mode, displays

             rainsqualls and the vessel do not have two independent sets of navigation

             lights. A tri colour set of navigation lights usually draws less than the primary

             set. Most navigating is done in the 6 to 8 mile range when using radar. It is not

             Advised or good for the batteries to be drained under 50% off there capacity.

             Two independent sets off navigation lights are now becoming mandatory in

             most recognized world rallies.


       11. How many alternators are installed on the main engine? I prefer two to be

              installed with a minimum out put rating of 80 amps each. If only one is

              installed on the main engine then I would expect a 2nd back up alternator to be

              part of the ships spares including two belts. Additional battery charging

              systems installed on the vessel i.e. wind generating, solar panels and genset,

              A C alternator, I consider as additional and a bonus.


        12. Do the anchors have a swivel connecting the anchor shank to the anchor?

              chain? Most commercial vessels have such swivels. It always amazes me the

              number of vessels that don’t have a swivel when I walk down legs of marinas.

              If the vessel does not have a swivel on the anchor shank it usually is an

              indication as to the importance the owner places on the safety of his vessel. I

              carry two or three swivels of difference sizes in my baggage


13.  Is the length of the anchor chain at least 4 times the length of the vessel?


14.  What are the types of anchors on board? I expect a minimum of two and one to be a Bruce, Plow, and CQR, Claw or similar design.


15.  Do you have a man over board recovery system with a man over board pole, one lifebuoy with marine grade retro-reflective material, with a drogue and water contact activating light attached? When was it last serviced? These systems contain apparatus, with a use by date.                                                                                                


16.  Do you have a parachute sea anchor with panels made from [minimum] 8 oz material? Most vessels have devices for survival after disaster strikes, yet many do not stow one of the best devices for preventing disasters, a parachute sea anchor.  Check the vessel has deck cleats of a size and in suitable positions for such a device if there is no Samson post / Bollard / Capstan, should one be carried on board.  Is there a large enough Samson post / Bollard / Capstan, to tie off the rode once set and for adjusting? Is the rode set up to deploy or to feed out safely? Have the crew given any thought on a plan to deploy the parachute anchor. You will in all probability have to rely on the skippers / owner’s statements and knowledge in this regard but the subject should be discussed. Visit the worlds No 1 and award-winning manufacturer on this device.   The best money can buy. Visit their web site for full details and discover why they are the No 1 and award winning Sea anchor makers. The most advanced sea anchor technology - Competively priced for off-shore sailing and recreational boating with the most fully descriptive, easy to follow, without ambiguity, illustrated deployment manual / instructions that I have seen to date, free with every purchase.


17.  Do you have an E.P.I.R.B. 406 MHz type or an Inmarsat type , E that has a current service sticker attached? An additional one in the grab bag is a bonus.                                                                                                                 

When was the battery / batteries last tested? Take note of individual crewmembers that have their own personal E.P.I.R.B. and if you have to abandon ship remind them to take it with them into the life raft.


18.  Do you have a grab bag or rapid Ditch survival bag for each life raft on board? One crewmember should be appointed to gather additional items in a dry bag, specifically  made available, to take along over and above the contents of the grab bag, to counter and increase your survival chances whilst in the life raft. Items such as sextant, charts, all hand bearing G.P.S¡¯ s and extra batteries, ships E.P.I.R.B. which is normally fixed somewhere, all handheld V.H.F. radios as flares are usually not spotted by passing vessels in the middle of the ocean, hand spears, spear guns, fishing gear within reason, celestial navigation tables, emergency water container / s  normally lashed somewhere on deck , in a plastic 20 LT container, plastic because plastic when full still floats in water, and anything else which may be useful.


19.  Do you have an emergency water (min 20 litres) container / s  stowed on decks?

Water should be stowed in plastic containers as plastic containers always float even when full. Have a double throw line attached for use at all times.  Same for fuel.


20.  Do you have an emergency fuel container (min 20 litres) stowed on decks and / or an emergency tank that

      can be switched to?


21.  Will there be at least one person on board that has been off shore before? It is a mandatory requirement in the country that I reside in, for a vessel departing on an off shore passage. There have been numerous instances where Crewmembers have gone completely mental once they loose sight of land when there has not been any body on board that has completed an off shore passage. It is considered more than a reasonable safety  precaution by  enforcing agencies, maritime authorities or appropriate regulatory bodies.


22.  Does the vessel have a spray dodger or biminni? It is no fun if you are doing a watch and it is 0300 hrs, blowing 30 knts plus with heavy rain and the vessel does not have a protected helming station. Like wise if it is a cloud less day in the blazing sun.


23.  What lightning strike protection does the vessel have? If none chain can be made up to wrap around chain plates / stays, back stays, D shackled and dangled over the sides to the water allowing enough for the lean of the vessel on the windward side. May not be suitable on backstays if S.S.B aerial with insulating cups are in place. Plastic covers to protect marking the sides of the vessel can be added and advisable.


24.  Does the vessel have top operating handle and / or self-tailing winches?


25.  Does the vessel have a radar reflector mounted in a position at least 20 ft above deck?


26.  Does the vessel have a manual operated hand  bilge pump securely fitted, on deck or in the cockpit and operable with companionways and hatches shut with a pumping rating of a minimum of 25 gals per minute? (Handles should have its own pocket or cradle for storage.) Is there a spare handle? An additional one installed below decks is also recommended. Check to see if it actually works.


        27. What experience does the Owner-Skipper / Captain have and how many ocean

              going passages has he / she done, where, when and how many miles for each

              passage? Sailing in unprotected waters over long periods of time is far

              different and more demanding than day sailing in protected waters, where one

              can run for shelter or anchor over night. Don’t automatically assume if the

              Skipper / Captain holds maritime documents the Skipper / Captain will be

              competent and all will be well with the passage and on board.


28.  Ask for references that can are verifiable not only by e-mail but by phone or fax. Check and verify the authenticity of maritime documents and references. If they can’t produce these this can be an indication the Skipper / Captain is incompetent, they are false or has a superior attitude towards crew and requires further investigation. Don’t rely on your instincts or personal judgments. Ask what are the worst conditions he / she has sailed in, how many times, for how long and when?


29.  Ask how many other experienced crew is going to be on board? If the

Owner / Skipper / Captain is the only experienced person on board there will be problems on the passage. The Owner / Skipper / Captain has to go to sleep some time. Just because he is the owner don’t assume he is experienced enough to be the Skipper. Some owners think just because they are the owner they automatically qualify to be the Skipper. Someone experienced has to be on the helm in a majority of tough situations / conditions particularly when sailing off the wind at 165 / 170 degrees of wind angle and who is going to handle / carry out the manual operations of the vessel that invariably occur in these situations. All too often you will see crew wanted notices advertising for a number of crew, no experience required, compatibility is more important. This is because they are usually asking for a payment towards expenses and for you to provide for your own travel costs to and from the vessel. Most experienced crewmembers usually do not contribute towards expenses or travel costs. In a majority of cases they are advertising for novices or no experience needed because their vessels do not measure up to the safety standards that experienced sailors expect and coupled with the above statements regarding contribution towards costs and travel, they know only to well they would not get any experienced punters to board their vessels. Hence the targeting of novices. In addition, what if the skipper falls over board or gets sick or seriously injures himself. Suddenly the novices are in command! Suddenly, you need to know the basics of how to run the boat, how to use the electronic equipment, how to use and operate the emergency equipment, what to do in case of trouble. You join these vessels at your own peril.  To go offshore, one has to have considerable courage; it takes a lot of mental tossing and turning to actually sail away and see a city disappear behind you and the witness the entire horizon become one of only sea, that’s is the extreme, incredible, extraordinary feeling one gets and it does take a lot of courage the first time to do that. You’re leaving behind the telephone booths, friends, fun parlors, acquaintances, and possibly people you tolerate, you don’t realize how much you they mean to you until you get out offshore and you have only the people within the immediate vicinity for social intercourse. You can’t run to Mum, you can’t jump on the phone to friends or complain to the police. If you got a stomach complaint you can’t run off to the doctor, you can’t call for an ambulance, you can’t call the fire brigade; if you are thirsty, and you can’t head off to the nearest store. You just can’t get off, and that takes a lot of adjustment, particularly on your first trip / passage.

Your first trip is always the worst and you swear you’ll never go back to sea again, but you do --- it sort of gets into your blood and the sacrifices that you’ve made are more than compensated by nature, beauty ¡­ If you are a land lover, most of your home is decorated with framed pictures or photographs, 50 per cent of them would probably be landscapes or environmental.  The beauty of being on the ocean is that every night, every morning and every day you have one big picture that is not framed ---- 360 degrees of the entire horizon, and then it’s changing every second --- sunsets, sunrises, cloud formations dancing before your very eyes, birds gliding, whales and dolphins breaking the surface of the sea, -- with incredible colours, all together with peace and tranquility.  It’s like renting a picture to hang on your wall but they are coming and changing them every 5 minutes. That more than compensates for what you have left behind pollution free. Plus there is the adrenalin rush and the sense of adventure and doing something the ancient mariners used to do --- going out and discovering new peoples, new cultures and customs --- it sounds like a dream and fantastic. It’s like every dream: it does not come easy. There are sacrifices and certain suffering you go through to enjoy that. You must be flexible and not have a closed mind. Life at sea is one big compromise - everything is a compromise, so if you have not learnt the art of compromising --- Forget it.


Any crew agreement you sign that states you are responsible for your own travel costs and requires you to contribute towards expenses / food / costs, and has a liability disclaimer clause, the signed agreement does not override any countries maritime, immigration, Statutory laws or international treaties / regulations. Once you have signed any agreement that clearly states that your position on board is one of being a crew member then under most maritime laws anywhere, you have been declared as a bonafide crew member by the master / skipper of such vessel. From the moment the skipper decides to set sail, it is the skipper’s entire, sole and inescapable responsibility to ensure that all the necessary safety / health / and well being precautions whatsoever are / have been taken in respect of themselves, all crew / persons on board and for the vessel. If you accept to providing your own travel costs don’t hand over your travel documents, tickets or what ever to the skipper, under the false statements by some skippers, that the foreign authorities require him at a moments notice to produce same. In most countries they require the Skipper / Owner to sign a document which acknowledges that he (the Skipper / Owner) is liable for all costs, debts, fees, charges incurred by himself or any crew member on the crew list when entering a port and during their stay in such country, before entry permits / visas are granted to anyone on board. This includes medical costs of any description. They never ask to see travel documents out of the country or medical insurance documents when you are entering their country. Also in some countries, maritime laws / regulations, clearly state any crewmember contributing towards food / expenses, is not a crewmember and designates the vessel to be a commercial vessel. This also puts the vessels insurances in another category. A lot of countries have loose wording, allowing shared expenses as being acceptable for the vessel / craft to remain as a private pleasure craft within there maritime laws providing the owner is on board. However what is the definition of shared expenses?  Is a portion off the annual marine insurance off the vessel, anti fouling, general maintenance and repairs,  fuel and oil, which they are / have / incurred anyway for their own presence off being or doing the passage [The owners] and such expenses are incurred without you being on board any way,  could be deemed not to be shared expenses.  Shared expenses to my mind are additional and over and above expenses that would have been incurred. If the Owner claims for a mishap / damage to his vessel under pleaser craft insurance policy conditions whilst paying crew members are on board and the owner is not on board, in these countries in all probability it is a fraudulent insurance claim if this was not disclosed on the application for insurance. This could also apply even if the owner is on board. It’s only a matter of time before investigators start checking crew member’s conditions for being on board pleasure craft vessels in such instances and asking for a copy of individual crew members crewing agreements.  It’s only when the Skipper / Owner applies to have any body to sign of the crew list that the appropriate authorities demand the skipper to provide valid travel documents out of the country for such people, adding clearly, you brought them into our country, it’s your responsibility to get them out off our country. If he does not, then signing of registration cannot and will not happen and a clearance certificate will not be issued. Accordingly the vessel must leave port with every body on board. So if you think the Skipper has unjustifiable requested you to leave the vessel, and in addition, such action is going to cause you / burden you with non budgeted additional payments, you have a remedy already in place if you decide to leave the vessel. The skipper / owner pays and you cash in your own tickets as compensation. In some countries it is a distinct advantage for a crew member to have a signed crew agreement, French territories is one that comes to mind. [ If you are at sea when you are advised that you will be leaving the vessel at a port earlier than a port you have previously agreed to by the Captain, with no transport costs provided, then just refuse to hand over your passport, don’t agree to obtaining a visa and advise the authorities you are prepared to place your passport with the police station and you will be applying for deportation back to your homeland. The authorities in these circumstances will stipulate to the captain that a airfare out of the country to your homeland must be provided for you or the vessel must leave port with all crew on board within a certain time frame. Usually within 24 hours. ]  When my travel costs are being paid for, it is reasonable for the Skipper / Owner to hang onto them provided I witness them and I am provided with a photocopy. Owners / Captains are guarded regarding these regulations and there implications.  Don’t abuse the use off this knowledge. Conversely understand the thought process off a Captain entering a foreign port with a casino ashore and one off his crew members has a known / not known, gambling problem or drink problem. If you do sign a crew agreement, obtain two copies of it for your reference and possibly insurance investigators.

Some crewing agreements put the onus on the crew-member that they have satisfied themselves as to the safety of the vessel, the competency of the skipper / captain and incorporate such clauses; in addition, disclaimer clauses for negligence are included. Below are two typical clauses you may come across,


              (1) ¡°The skipper hereby declares their belief that the boat is properly

               equipped and prepared for the planned voyage, and that they are fully

               competent to manage, alone or with crew. THEY invite the crew to test

               this statement in any way they wish - by their own inquiries and

               judgment, or with the help of others. When you sign this you agree that

               you have fully investigated and found that the boat is properly equipped

               and that the skipper is capable, fit and competent.¡±


               (2) ¡°or my heirs, next of kin, legal representatives, successors and

               assigns, and in consideration of the acceptance as a crew-member of

               the yacht _____________, do hereby waive any and all claims which I may

               have against ____________, or any other duly qualified and

               authorized captain appointed by him, arising out of, or in any way

               connected with, my participation as a members of the crew of the

               yacht, and understand and agree that, as a member of the crew of said

               yacht, I have no recourse or claims of any kind against __________________,

               and shall hold them harmless against all consequences of my participation

               as a crew member aboard the yacht¡±.


            Now if you are a novice, never participated in an off shore passage, never been sailing before, never sailed on the vessel or with the skipper

              / captain prior to signing such an agreement, the mind boggles to legal arguments that will transpire, could transpire or should transpire. If

               the Captain has not been offshore before don’t sign such agreements under any circumstances even if it means they don’t take

               you on board; there is always the next boat around the corner. If you decide to pay your own travel costs to join a vessel of your choosing,

               you run the risk that when you arrive at the designated port someone has been having you on and no such vessel can be found or the Owner /

               Skipper has signed another crew person on in your place, that has fronted the vessel in person whilst you are in the process of traveling to

               such vessel. Additionally as I have determined from website forums, he / she states his / her girlfriend / boyfriend has decided to return to the

               relationship with him / her and states that you have to leave the vessel after only being on board for a day or so. Accordingly to protect

               yourself with some form of redress you should have faxed an agreement for the person, owner / skipper to sign stating / acknowledging

               liability / reimbursement of such travel costs in the event of them stating you must leave the vessel within 30 days of arriving at the vessel,

               faxed back to you before you book and pay for such travel costs. If they refuse to sign such an agreement you don’t travel. Here is a sample

               of a possible agreement




                                    Joining vessel travel costs agreement:






               Between. ¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­

               Residential address.¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­

               Passport No. ¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­

               Issuing country. ¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­.






               Name. ¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­.

               Residential address. ¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­

               Position. Owner / Captain.

               Passport No. ¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­..

               Issuing country. ¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­


               I captain / Owner of the said vessel ¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­..

               Registered No¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­.

               Registered at the port of. ¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­.. and on the Boat /

               Ships registry of ¨C country ¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­.. herby agree

               that I shall compensate in full all travel costs incurred by ¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­..

               ¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­in arriving at the

               said vessel.¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­ at the Port off¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­


               should I decide  for whatever reason his / her crew position offered is no

               longer available / vacant within 30 days from the date of arrival in person

               at the said vessel, at the Port of. ¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­

               In. ¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­..¡­¡­.




               Signed. ¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­. Captain / Owner

               Dated. ¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­



                Witnessed. ¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­

                Residential address. ¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­..



                Phone No. ¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­¡­.






         30. Ask if they are going to provide you with a PFD SOSPENDERS type, manual

   or hydrostatic inflatable lifejacket combined safety harness with lifeline

   (tether) that has double clips (snap hooks) and has a crotch strap. Make sure

   it is at least USCG approved type1 with a minimum of 35lbs buoyancy rating,

   In addition make sure there are some spare rearming kits on board for auto

   Type inflating PFD’s Don’t accept life jackets. Hydrostatic fired PFD’s make auto

   Inflating type’s out of date and a thing of the past. Hydrostatic fire when submerged

   in 10 cm of water, don’t fire when wet, in rain, dampness, humidity, from spray,

   and only need servicing every 5 years unless fired, have a easy viewed inspection

   panel to see the state the firing mechanism is in. They are sold by

   Don’t have standard type lifejackets.

   Nobody wears them when sailing as they are to restricting & bulky, as was

   evident in the Sydney to Hobart  Race 1998. I have my own SOSPENDERS

   manual inflatable combined safety harness with two tethers, crotch strap, a

   mini flare gun with 6 cartridges and strobe tied inside so they are not lost

   once inflated in the event off me going  over board, particularly at night. I

   have the mini flare gun as a strobe visibility  and the E.P.I.R.B. signal at water

   level  is only of assistance to vessels trying to rescue you, for approximately

  1  nautical mile. I also have my own pocket E.P.I.R.B. & another strobe, which

   are always carried in my vest pocket. I have another strobe I carry in my

   offshore wet weather gear jacket.

   In N.Z. it is the law [ March 2003 ] that you must carry an approved lifejacket

   for everyone on board your boat and wear them in dangerous conditions.

   An approved lifejacket is one that meets the N.Z. Standard 5823 or one that

   has been approved / accepted for use in New Zealand by the MSA. For details see        

   Also the navigation safety rule became law on March 21 2003. A brief

   summary of the key points and the Skippers responsibilities under N.Z. law,

   can be found at  as well.


31.   Does the vessel have softwood plugs and securely attached adjacent to each

       skin fitting, to enable any through hull fitting to be closed off, should the skin

       fitting fail, with spares on board. This also applies to plastic logs and other

       through hull fittings such as navigation apparatus.


32.   Are the vessels skin fittings hoses clamped with double hose clamps or are                                             

       they crimped? Either is satisfactory.


33.   Does the vessel have an offshore rated medical kit and manuals? It is not

       necessary for you to take your own medical kit except for your own medical

       condition. As mentioned the Captain is liable for your safety and well being.

       Space in your bags is at a premium. By all means have a packet of band aids /

       sticking plasters as the off shore medical kit is usually in a difficult place to

       get at and also a nightmare to open and find what you require in a short space

       of time. If you have first aid skills / qualifications, C.P.R. ect or other medical

       skills let it be known or advertise them on crewing web sites. The one fear all

       Skippers / Captains have is a major injury on board during a passage and not

       being able to cope with such by him self. A radio operator’s license in addition

       would almost guarantee a place on board. This would allow you to

       communicate by the ship’s radio whilst the Skipper controlled the rest of the



34.   Does the vessel have an emergency tiller or secondary steering device?


35.   Does the vessel have a minimum of five fire extinguishers and a fire blanket?


36.   Does the vessel have a large set of bolt cutters at least 4ft in length?


37.   Does the vessel have a depth sounder?


38.   Does the vessel have at least one handheld VHF radio and charger and / or

       alternative power source?


39.   Does the vessel have storm sails or a 4-reef main?


40.   Are the gas bottles fitted with a VR1 Solenoid Valve & regulator?


41.   Is there a gas detector (LPG) with automatic shut off sensor, self test

       capability and a Fume detector, for petrol installed motors or generators,

       installed in the appropriate places, if such fuels are used on the vessel?


42.  I prefer as a safety requirement all navigation and instruments (including

       laptop screen, auto pilot) to be displayed, in addition and controllable by the

       helmsman at the helm. A GPS set up with independent 4 ENERGIZER 9 volts

       batteries as power source, plus 12 volt DC cable connected at the pedestal to

               the vessel's 12 volt power supply via 12 volt female plug at the pedestal. It

               does not take to much thinking to determine the benefits re this and the

               safety factor in restricted water ways.


43.  It is desirable and ideal for the vessel, as a rule, to have a hull inspection on

       the hard (out of the water) before any offshore passage and to be present at

       such inspection; however in most cases this is not possible for one to be

       present and you have to rely on the owners / captain word regarding this.


44.  Check on what air ventilation is available when all hatches are closed. Check

       your area or cabin too see if there are two hatches. One opening forward and

       one opening aft. If there is only one hatch which opens forward only, then

       conditions are going to be unpleasant when it is closed and the vessel is

       pounding to windward, particularly in the tropics. If there are no air cowls

       vents, with or without boxes your cabin is going to be unbearable; you are not

       going to sleep easily, there will be mildew through out the boat and it is going

       to be a major problem with the fungus and you are going to perspire a lot.

       Sleep depravation is to be avoided at all times. Air conditioning is a bonus,

       ideal especially in the galley, navigation and engine room areas especially so

       in a steel vessel.


45. Be aware Tahiti and it’s territories are the most expensive Islands in the South

      Pacific. To fly out of Tahiti it is three times more expensive than close by Islands

      Rarotonga and Tonga. Meals are 2 1/2  times more expensive than meals in N.Z.

      A cup of coffee is 3 times more expensive than in N.Z.


 Other tips and advice to consider before signing on.




Consider taking with you some after shave lotion or perfume to dab on your nose for when a fellow crew-member offends your sense of smell, which invariably happens. It is not uncommon to go 7 days with out a shower on some vessels. If the boat smells or a fellow crew member smells, it is far easier to put a dab on the end of your nose and that will be all that you will smell for at least 4 hours, rather than for you to turn it into a major issue with the Skipper / Captain or the crew member concerned. I have found that if the offending person sees you putting the dab on the end of your nose or asks you what the hell are you doing, that person usually apologizers and corrects the situation, after explanation, with out a major fuss transpiring. If you have certain skills i.e. cooking, medical, mechanical, navigation, previous ocean passages, anything that can add to the self reliance of the vessel, these skills are important so advertise them or make them known. Keep in mind that there have been more relationships started or ended as a result of sailboat cruising than just about anything else. You will be in very close quarters with the other crew-members for days if not weeks at a time.


               Don’t cause a fuss when the Captain requires you to hand over your passport, once you have signed onto the crew list, until such time you are signed off the crew list. Captains at a moments notice have to produce such documents when requested to by the authorities when entering a port, whilst in port and when application to depart port is made. Heavy fines are liable for breach / breaches of foreign countries regulations, custom and immigration laws if they choose to enforce them. Take a photo copy of the main front pages of your passport, any visa’s and your travel documents for your own personal use and in the event of the originals being lost or misplaced. It is also advisable to have all these and other important details on a computer disk / cd. Also have another photo copy of your out ward bound travel tickets to give to the Skipper / Owner, when you sign off the crew list, as the Skipper / Owner has to prove you have left the country or intention to leave the country, when the vessel applies for departure clearance. A lot of Countries are making it mandatory for the Skipper / Owner to sign a bond of at least 4 figures U.S. which he is liable for payment or forfeiture in the event of you missing your date of departure or you change your plans and breach immigration regulations by becoming a over stayer.  So don’t get upset if they insist on escorting you to your departing means of transport.


                 Don’t get upset if the Captain asks you to sign a crewing agreement as a condition of you signing onto the vessel, which includes clauses as to your liability in the event of you breaching any regulations, customs, laws, incurring any fines, debts, costs, as a result of your transgressions, actions, misdemeanors, any liability in the event they or the 1st mate have to post bail for you as a result (directly or indirectly) of any of your actions or behavior. The Captain, in nearly all ports has to sign a document covering such events, for all crew-members on board the vessel at the time of entering a port, until such time the vessel clears such port or country. The vessel is prohibited from leaving port until such payments are made or until such time you have been processed through there legal system or you are released from jail.


                 Adhere to your crewing agreement, the ships rules as they have been put in place usually as a result of prior inexperienced, novices, unreasonable, inconsiderate and irresponsible crew members. These agreements serve to put you on notice that if you have lapses of memory, blatant / and repeated breaching of the rules and regulations that a vessel and its Skipper / Owner must adhere to, you are forewarned of the consequences should it be decided to implement them.


                  If you make a demand or request and it is agreed to, make sure it is carried out, fixed, put right, done, working or honoured before you sign on or you hand over any funds.


                  Get agreement on the length off watches and the length off time off between watches. I now refuse to join vessels that have standard watches longer than 4 hours on and 8 hours off between watches. I’m flexible if I’m getting paid or travel costs to and from the vessel are compensated for. I prefer 3 hours on personally. A lot of vessels also target novices, inexperienced crew because they know no better and accept the grave yard shift, to do all night watches, which means you sleep all day and the Skipper gets to sleep all night.


                      If there are other experienced crew members on board and you accept to contribute towards costs for being on board, I hope the following will help you in deciding how much is reasonable. The food you consume in most cases does not cost more than $26 U.S. per day in my experience even when the vessel has a deep freeze capacity containing expensive cuts of pork, steak, chicken, turkey breast, venison, lobster, duck, seafood and gruyere cheese, however if the vessel is relatively new and has most of what I have outlined plus creature comforts such as air-conditioning, BBQ, deepfreeze, ice maker, electric winches, electric capstan (anchor lifting mechanism) fresh water vacuum toilets (salt water ones tend to smell), more than one head & shower, Sat phone, genset (normally means the galley is equipped with electric appliances), computers, a bank of microwave ovens in the galley, drinks included, including pure fruit juices daily, the vessel is going to tie up in marinas instead of anchoring in bays, going to pay your departure taxes, the vessel is over 50ft in length, furling head sails and main, Gennaker, light weather sails, shore power capabilities, e-mail capabilities, water maker, Carbon Monoxide Detectors then expect to pay up to $36 U.S. per day or more depending on your desire to be on board and the availability of other vessels going to where you want to go. I don’t prescribe to the argument that crew members are getting a free ride anyway, besides stating the obvious, owners can’t sail their vessels in enjoyable, relaxing, with peace off mind, safely, which is the aim of all passage makers, without excellent crew. Also most jobs require two or more people. If the vessel does not have freezer capacity be wary of the provisioning of the vessel as you will in all probability be dieting on can foods, rice, pasta, genetically modified foods, parmesan cheese, two minute noodles, flour based fritters, and fruit drink instead of pure fruit juice, which does not justify $26 U.S. a day contribution.

On these vessels don’t pay any more than $10 U.S. per day as your diet in all probability will be mainly rice & pasta based unless you catch fish daily. Port fees $2 U.S. per day.


                     Check to see if one of the mast head halyards can reach the water plus an extra 4 meters to spare. On most vessels they will not. I carry my own halyard extension, which is a 15 meter Maxi Braid Plus rope with a stainless ring on one end, so the vessels halyard can snap onto to it and a drop forged swivel snap shackle to clip onto my inflatable safety harness ring, in the event of me being washed over board, falling overboard. I can now be winched on board with ease, mid ships on the wind ward side without fear on being injured. It’s a major exercise getting someone back on board in heavy conditions. Most commercially made throw lines just are not long enough and unsuitable for attaching to halyards. Don’t attempt to get on board on the leeward side on or by the stern for obvious reasons. I have also made up a throw line similar to a water skiers tow line but twice as long with the thickest bungee cord I could get my hands on, looped 4 times between stainless rings and clamped, in the middle off the line, with a floating water skiers handle. I just don’t trust the helmsman of any vessel coming to close to me, in heavy conditions, in the event of me going over board, in order for me to grab the handle or sling of commercially made recovery systems. Also how often have you seen a line being thrown and it does not reach its mark. I have watched too many vessels trying to enter their marina berths in heavy conditions. My passed experience doing water ski deep water starts lead me to the construction of these two lines. In heavy conditions, it is reasonable to expect the vessel will be traveling in excess of 5 knots, when a throw line is thrown to you and you have to grab it, in the event of man overboard recovery maneuvers. These two systems are stowed in a red bag and attached to the stanchions near the vessels recovery systems, after explanation and discussion, with the Skippers permission.

There has been 3 instances over the last 10 years where a husband and wife team have been sailing from America, reaching our coastal waters, only for the husband to loose his balance, fall over the side, over the stanchions with his tether attached upside down, head and shoulders in the water and his wife did not have the strength to pull him back on board, nor could he get himself back topsides. Tragically all drowned, in one instance; she crashed into to our arrival wharf some 3 days later, completely distressed with her dead husband still dangling over the side. The tether was not longer than 2 meters. Their lives could have been saved if they had attached a halyard and / or halyard extension and winched them back top sides. Another instance involved the son of well known newspaper magnet, who went to the top of the mast in coastal waters to get a photograph, fell into the water whilst endeavoring to take a photo, with no survival aids. Tragically the crew of novices did not know how to lower the sails, use the VHF, start the motor and carried on to crash into a wharf to raise the alarm some 5 hours later. He has never been seen alive since. It continually amazes me the number off wives on board vessels I have been on that do not know the procedures to turn / start the motor, that they constantly sail on, yet know how to use the VHF or S.S.B. radios. I was please to witness recently in Singapore an astute male ¨C female team practicing entering and leaving their marina. The male was standing back from the helm giving guidance involving stopping and starting the motor.


                   Handling sails. Don’t flog sails. Some flogging of sails is inevitable but it should be minimized. Flogging sails weakens fibres and shortens the sail life. Don’t allow sails to back against the rig. When tacking release head sail sheets before the sail sets hard against the rig / stays. This will prevent excessive loading and distortion of the designed shape. Don’t over tension lines. Over tensioning halyards, outhauls and sheets causes fibre in the sail cloth to stretch. When lowering a sail don’t pull it down from all points. Bring it down by pulling on the luff. Don’t release halyards when the sheets are taut. Ease sheets when lowing sails to prevent excessive non-design loading and potential luff tape pull out. Change fold lines. Avoid flaking sails along the same lines as this causes localized breakdown due to flex fatigue. Use battens in sails that are designed for them and flying sails without battens will cause excessive flogging. Normal wear will cause some threads to fray, especially on the leach. When this happens have them refurbished. Ultraviolet rays, moisture, mildew are the enemy of all sail cloth. Most sails are made to take a beating while maintaining performance, but a little care will increase their life considerably and an astute Captain / Owner will not let a knowledgeable, caring crew member go unrewarded or without recognition.


Communication and the orderly running of the vessel.


Communication and the orderly running of the vessel with the Skipper / Owner are vital. Most Skippers / Owners have set the vessel up to run to there preferred ideology / system so advising them of exactly what you have done or not done when given a task, closed or left open, is paramount to minimizing damage and maintaining good relations with all on board. Most Skippers / Owners get annoyed / frustrated when they go to do / get / operate something and find it has been changed, not put back in usual place of keeping or has been altered. Accordingly here are some guidelines to adhere to.


Leave every thing as you find it.

If you make a mess, you clean it up.

If you move it you put it back.

If you use it you take care of it.

If you break it you repair it.

If you can’t repair, get the Skippers / Owners permission to call someone who can.

If you open it you close it. If you close it you open it.

If you turn it on you turn it off. If you turn it off you turn it on.

If it belongs to some one else and you want to use it, get their permission first.

If you borrow it, you return it in the same condition as it was given to you.

If you don’t know how to use it / operate it, leave it alone.

If it does not concern you, don’t mess with it.

If you are given an order / task by the Skipper / Owner, confirm it by a reply of o’k, yes

or copy that, and carry it out immediately. A reply of in 4 minutes or no reply and walk away is usually not acceptable.

Don’t carry on board or take on board any parcels / packages / envelopes for third parties for delivery.






Spinnakers                                       Correct position.   Top Half will curl evenly.

                                                          Pole to low.           Very top will break first.

                                                          Death roll.              Pull sheet in: over sheet. This

                                                                                          Kills it.

Sails                                                  Sail out to far.        Inside flying high.

                                                          Sail into far.           Outside flying high, flutter or drop   

                                                          Main leech T/T       Top T/T should just curl be hide

                                                                                           leech for optimum.


  A genoa / jib should have three sets of telltales. They should be evenly spaced up the

  Sail roughly at a foot from the luff, at about quarter, half and three quarters of the way

  up. A helmsman’s nirvana is reached when all three sets are flying aft in unison.

  You should aim to get the headsail and mainsail working in unison and trimmed so

  that the slot is the same all the way up.





 A new treatment on the market at the moment is “Artesunate” tablets, Manufactured

 by Guilin Pharmaceutical Co Ltd. China.


 You take three tablets TWICE a day for the first day, then THREE tablets daily for FIVE

 days.  On day FOUR you take three SULFADOXINE/PYRIMETHAMINE tablets.


 On determining the symptoms of Malaria one takes the treatment above, within 12

 hours of taking the “ARTESUNATE” tablets the symptoms are noticeably arrested and

 the SULFADOXINE/PYRIMETHAMINE tablets clears up any residue in your system.


 This treatment treats both types of major Malaria.


 These tablets for one course [cost] in Papua New Guinea $12 U.S. or $20 New Zealand.




Avalon Studios,      Percy Cameron Street,   P. O. Box 30 945,   Lower Hutt,   Wellington.              Ph 00 64 4 914 8333   Fax 00 64 4 914 8334     0800 627 484


Inmarsat-C 582 451200067                                                     


MOC =   Maritime operation centre.  [MARITIME RADIO]   Percy Cameron St, Avalon

                                                                                             Studios.       [Ph above:]

MSI =   Maritime safety information.


MSA =   Maritime safety authority.  P.O. Box 27006   Wellington.   Ph 473 0111.

              Fax 494 1263. Director. 0 21 426 344. Deputy Dir. 0 21 963 847.

              Level 8 gen-1 Tower.  109 Featherston St, Wellington.


SAR =   Search and rescue.

MAF =   Ministry of agriculture and fisheries.

TMR =  Taupo maritime radio.

SOLAS = Safety of life at sea.


MOC Services =             Telephone patch and messages relay facilities for search

                                       rescue (SAR) purposes on VHF & HF.

                                       Reception and processing via HF & VHF of  - TR's (Trip reports)

                                     - Meteorological Obs -  AMVER ¨C Naval messages - Incoming MAF & Customs Clearance reports.






Calling frequency:                              Working frequency:                                  Alternate working frequency:


  2182                                                    2207                                                         Nil

  4125                                                    4146                                                         4149

  6215                                                    6224                                                         6227  6230

  8291                                                    8297                                                         8294

12290                                                   12356                                                       12353 12359 12362 12365

16420                                                   16531                                                       16528 16534 16537 16540 16543 16546 22159







Met service high seas forecasts are sent on HF Frequencies:  6224  -  12,356       at 0303(Z)  0903(Z)  1503(Z)  2103(Z)


Met service Fax frequencies are HF  3247.4  5807  9459  13.550.5  16.340.1         at 2300(Z) to 2359(Z)




Bob McDavitt Met Service guru:                                                        


You can log yourself on - off from



Weather gram WEB SITE =               

To get the latest weather gram send an e-mail to  

Weather gram list is free. See above mail services and go to website.          

Other Services see :: http://www.pangolin other services


RUSSELL RADIO                P. O. Box 108 Russell, N.Z.                                                  64 9 402 7574                    Bay of Islands Marine Radio Ass

Position reporting and Daily roll call on HF Frequencies  4445 0730 hrs & 1900 hrs NZST 13.101 0800 hrs to 0830 hrs 1600 hrs to 1645 hrs.  2000 to 2030 hrs. NZST.


New Zealand Cat 1 Regulations.


All New Zealand registered vessels (Private) leaving for offshore must meet Cat 1 Regulations. Cat 1 Certification expires on entry into your first port of call after clearing N.Z. Cat 1 regulations are found in Yachting N.Z.’s Racing Rules of Sailing & Safety Regulations 2001 ¨C 2005. This booklet can be purchased from Chandleries and book shops for about $26.50.



Ports of Entry into New Zealand:


Vessels arriving from overseas should do so at a designated Port of Entry, and secure at the appropriate Customs or Quarantine berth. See V.H.F. Radio Frequencies List through out N. Z.  List below to arrange through same, at the appropriate Port via V.H.F. radio and visit Customs web site for documentation details.


The Ports of Entry are:















New Plymouth





Dave Giddens.                              (Auckland). N. Z.                                                                   64 9 846 5001(Fax) 


Scott Smith.                      (Darwin). Australia. Seafleet Marine            61 8 8981 5880                    Web site


Rolly Tasker Sails      (Thailand)




Central Pacific Isobar Map Fijil  (Fiji)

Fiji Met Service  (Fiji)

South Pacific Tropical Warnings U.S. Navy  (Aussie)  (Singapore)   (ASIA)

Perfect Storm center




Perfect Storm Center Gulf area





PIRATES INFO WEB SITES: / Pirates info site


Coppins Sea Anchors. (Motueka) N.Z.

Free phone / fax. 0800 100 774

                                                                                                                Ph 64 3 528 7296                                                         Fax 64 3 528 9523


Yahoo World Street Maps and directions

Sailing Networks Crew Website.

Latitude 38 Crew Website.

Paid Crew Wanted Websites Worldwide



Caribbean = JUNE to NOVEMBER

Pacific =       NOVEMBER to APRIL



TIMES FOR BROADCASTS.    0533  -  0733  -  1033  -  1333  -  1733  -  2133

CHANNEL  16 and Channels listed below.

                                    MARITIME RADIO STATIONS N.Z._______________________________

Akaroa Maritime Radio           68                               Auckland Maritime Radio         71

Bluff Maritime Radio               68                               Cape Reinga Radio                   68

Charmers Maritime Radio       71                               Cape Egmont Radio                  71

D’urville Maritime Radio           67                              Farewell Maritime Radio          68

Fiordland Maritime Radio        71                               Fox Maritime Radio                  67

Great Barrier Maritime Radio  67 68 71                     Havelock Radio                        65

Kaikoura Maritime Radio         67                               Kaitaia Maritime Radio            71

Napier Maritime Radio             68                               Picton Maritime Radio             68

Plenty Maritime Radio             68                                Puysegur Maritime Radio        67

Runaway Maritime Radio         71                               Stewart Island Radio               71

Taranaki Maritime Radio         67                                Tolaga Maritime Radio            67

Wairarapa Maritime Radio       67                                Waitaki Maritime Radio           67

Wanganui Radio                       69                                Wellington Maritime Radio      71

Westport Maritime Radio         71                               Whangarei Maritime Radio       67

Marine pollution regulations in New Zealand waters.

If you want to discharge untreated sewage from your boat in New Zealand waters, you must be more than:

è    500 meters from the shore

è    500 meters from a marine farm

è    500 meters from a mataitai reserve {customary fishing reserve}

è    200 meters from a marine reserve

è    and in waters more than 5 meters deep.

Ministry for the Environment


U.S.A. Marinas:



6 knots = 607ft in 60 seconds. 1 nm mile in 10 minutes.


All New Zealand Ships: are required to display the New Zealand National flag when signaled to do so by a New Zealand Navy Ship, when berthed or at anchor during daylight hours, and / or entering or leaving any Port, underway in any Port in New Zealand or in the territorial sea of New Zealand; and a Foreign Country.

Definition of a New Zealand Ship:  “New Zealand Ship” means a ship that is registered under the Ship Registration Act 1992; and includes a ship that is not registered under that Act but is required or entitled to be registered under that Act:

Definition of ¡°Territorial sea of New Zealand¡± means the territorial sea of New Zealand as defined by section 3 of the Territorial Sea and Exclusive Economic Zone Act 1977:

National flags, house flags and Flag Officer’s flags are traditionally known collectively as colours and are not ‘flown ”but “worn”. Other flags, such as prize flags, racing flags, logo flags, courtesy flags, sponsorship and international code flags, which are not of the suit colours, are “flown”.

The Ship Registration Act 1992:  Allows New Zealand Ships to fly either the New Zealand Ensign (New Zealand Flag) or the New Zealand Red Ensign.

Club (house) flag may only be worn by a vessel on that particular Club’s register.

Non New Zealand registered vessels. Owners / Captains should consult the equivalent of the N.Z. Ships Registration Act with regards to their vessels requirements in the particular country, which their vessel is actually registered. It will probably be found it is not too dissimilar to the requirements of New Zealand registered ships / vessels.

The Flag Officers may fly their flag when on board any vessel, but only when they are present on board.

The national flag is worn near the stern (but not when racing). The Club flag or Flag Officer’s flag is worn (when not racing) at the main masthead. It may be worn at the starboard crosstree / spreaders when racing in a race controlled by the Club. Others flags should be displayed where they can be best seen.

A widespread practice is for foreign ships to fly the national flag of a host country a (Courtesy Flag) as they have become known as. If this flag is flown, it must be flown in a position so as not to confuse / misrepresent the vessel to the observer or mislead the observer that it is a national flag. As National flags are worn near the stern, courtesy flags and other flags are usually flown under the starboard crosstree / spreaders on the mainmast.

The courtesy flag if flown as a courtesy must be on top or the 1st flag if other flags are also flown. The Request for free pratique (Q) coded flag is flown (under the courtesy flag) 2nd flag. Other flown flags (except courtesy, (Q), house, burgee and Flag Officers flags) are flown on the port crosstree.

The starboard rigging is a position of honour and accordingly this is the position (starboard flag halyard) to fly courtesy, (Q) and burgee flags. House and flag officers flags are worn here also as previously mentioned.

Be careful not to fly the (Q) up side down.

Salutes: Slowly lowing to a dip position (approx. 2/3 rds of full hoist) held in such position until the function is acknowledged and returned in the same manner as it was lowered


In New Zealand for the first time a jury in Christchurch had found Astrid Anderson guilty of criminal nuisance in August 2003-09-04 in the death of Vanessa Caldwell in the 2001 Le Race from Akaroa to Christchurch. This was a cycle race and Astrid Anderson was the official organizer of the race. Vanessa Caldwell was an entrant in the race.  Anderson had been found guilty because her deficient safety procedures contributed to the death of Mrs. Caldwell, who was pregnant with her first child. Event organizers had to make clear statements about safety was the message from the out come of this trial. Anderson was an experienced sport organizer and had exceptional safety features in place for the race however a competitor died as a result of an accident during the race.

When purchasing or wearing wet weather gear and wearing apparel on board vessels at sea, make sure the colours of same are bright [ Red or Yellow ] These colours are easily seen from searching vessels where as colours like grey, black mustard, white, ivory and brown are almost impossible to been seen once you are in the water, standing on a rock, standing in your dingy or rubber duckie. One does not get to choose the timing when one disappears over board into the savage sea or when someone comes searching for you.     

Now that you are in a better position and possibly able to make an informed decision on which vessel to crew on, I wish you fair winds and clear skies.

Coastal passages of considerable distances, traveling a considerable distance from safe, protected waters and the vessel is not in contact by some form of communication with shore bases and other distant sources. I have 35 years of ocean going passages on both mono & multihull vessels in addition to harbour and coastal cruising passages. The guidelines I out line are just that, guidelines only and nothing more. The guidelines

I out line / list in this document are now the minimum I try to strive for when I am deciding whether to accept or not to accept boarding a vessel as crew or as the skipper. Nothing stated is a recommendation or suggestions for others to follow. I have found a large number of Owners / Skippers I approach do not have verifiable references from past crew they have sailed with yet they request the same from me or crew intending to make a passage on their vessel. By reading these guidelines I hope you will not endure some of the situations I experienced / experiencing still or make the same mistakes that I made / still making, over the years through lack of knowledge, over enthusiasm to get on board a vessel just to say yeah I have done an off shore passage or to gain experience on the high seas.

I give no guarantees what so ever and accept no responsibility what so ever for the result / results of decisions made by yourself or for what you may experience when you accept to sign onto a vessel of your choice after reading these guidelines and adhere to the advice given here in. The intent of my advice is to minimize, reduce any risk or situation that is encountered when one embarks on an adventure on the high seas.

Thank you for accessing this service and I wish you safe, comfortable and pleasurable sailing on all your passages / adventures.



Phillip Clarke:

Experienced offshore passage sailor.


Fair winds and clear skies.

Enjoy your cruising where ever you are cruising.



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