Required safety equipment for sailing a Sunfish?

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by Hermie, Jun 6, 2010.

  1. Hermie

    Hermie New Member

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    Hi all,

    I just purchased a Sunfish for my boys and I (mostly them) to use at our place down on the Chesapeke Bay. This is our first sail boat but I have owned and operated power boats for many years. My older son is taking the small boat sailing merit badge at boy scout camp this summer.

    On to my question: I am having trouble finding out what safety equipment is needed to use this boat on the bay. My powerboat requires PFD's, signaling flares, fire extinguisher, horn etc... I know on the Sunfish we will need to have and wear our PFD's but what about the other stuff?

    As far as I can tell, the boat does not have to be registered since it does not have mechanical propulsion.

    I would appreciate any input from other sunfish owners with knowledge of the MD laws or if anyone can point me to where I can find the correct regulations I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks!
     
  2. CapeRomain

    CapeRomain New Member

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    Howdy,

    I'm not sure about the bay, but down here in SC, nothing seems to be required. That being said, there are some things you should have. I use a waterskiing pfd as it was not too expensive and fits well not to mention allows mobility. If your sunfish has the extra storage in the back of the cockpit, a few good things to have would be a cell phone (or handheld marine radio) in a drybag, a collapsible paddle, a bottle or two of drinking water. Sorry I can't be of help concerning the legal side, but just a few suggestions from one sunfisher to another. :)

    Happy sailing!
    -CapeRomain
     
  3. matias

    matias Member

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    There are no requirements for safety equipments but it is always usefull to have a pfd( check www.zhik.com for good stuff also)
    I also recommend to take with you a sealed sailing bag with replacement blocks and ropes just in case.
    it is also usefull to have a praddel with you a praddel is a singlehanded row (I use it for approaching to the shore in shallow waters where you need to get your daggerboard out)
     
  4. Wayne

    Wayne Member Emeritus

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    It appears, as has already been pointed out, MD and VA are fairly lax about registration and safety equipment requirements for sail powered recreational craft under 16' in length..., lucky you ... my state is tax hungry for anything that hints of fun. :eek:

    However, Chesapeake Bay is also a federal waterway so there's a third entity involved. The USCG's main concern is for having PFD's aboard and that is a requirement regardless of vessel size or type.

    The rest of what you might bring along is left up to (I can't seem to find commonality with individual human judgment so let's say) good sense.

    .
     
  5. 67stang

    67stang Member

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    ...I bring a combo, whistle/red light attached to my PFD, a small plastic paddle, ( it breaks down to fit in storage area. small lunch bag, large sponge ( we've beat this topic like a dead horse), hat and sunglasses... BTW, I paid $37.50 ( reg fees),for each Sm sailboat this year! $61.14 for my powerboat!



     
  6. Hermie

    Hermie New Member

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    Thanks for all the replies. To answer some questions, there is no storarge area in the rear of the cockpit. I will look into obtaining some sort of waterproof storage bag and strapping it in with some essentials (whitsle, cell phone, signal mirror etc..) I will also look into lashing a small paddle to the deck as was suggested.

    My boys are really excited and they can't wait to get down to the bay this weekend to start learning how to use it. They are both reading the learn to sail in 3 days booklet and they think they have it all figured out already. :D
     
  7. Wayne

    Wayne Member Emeritus

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    Oh, you'll want to shoot a video of them putting theory into practice. THAT will be priceless (in a good way) ;)

    Somewhere along the learning curve you may need to remind them, though all the exercises in "Learning in 3 Days" can truly be accomplished in 3 days, practicing the latter steps over and over is what builds good skills. So often kids think one time through and they're ready for the PanAm Games. :eek:

    .
     
  8. lava

    lava Member

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    Well, If SC is South Carolina, you don't have to register. But you are required to have it titled. I know because I got a ticket for not having it current. You also have to have a paddle and whistle as well as a PFD. If SC is Southern California pleases disregard ...Mike
     
  9. CapeRomain

    CapeRomain New Member

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    Thanks Mike. I'll have to get a new title for it and pick up a paddle/whistle.
     
  10. LAuman

    LAuman Member

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    Uhmm. . . Sunfish title? I'm in NC (North Carolina, to eliminate confusion). I have an old purchase receipt, but not a title. Do I need one?
     
  11. Wayne

    Wayne Member Emeritus

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    Every state has different requirements. Google "(my state) boating regulations" and look for official state DMV or Division of Wildlife or Parks & Recreation web pages. Again, every state is different, but one of those agencies usually handles the recreational boating. For example . . .

    NC Boating &Waterways Home Page

    NORTH CAROLINA BOATING CHECKLIST

    [​IMG]
    NC Vessel Operator's Guide

    [​IMG]
    NC Registration and Title



    [​IMG]
    - Don't you just hate getting a ticket on a Sunfish?
    - Tell everyone it was for speeding



    .
     
  12. LAuman

    LAuman Member

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    Thanks for the links. . . . Don't have to register or title a Sunfish in NC (<14') if it doesn't have a motor.
     
  13. lava

    lava Member

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    LAuman,
    I was under that impression in south Carolina as well. I even called and asked if I need to register and was told I didn't. It wasn't until the S.C. DNR (Dept. of Natural Resources) gave me a ticket for not having a title "sticker". My SF was a gift and I didn't know that it hadn't been transferred. It took about 5 weeks to get all the paperwork done and $20.00, plus the ticket. The worst part was that I was told by the DNR officer that I couldn't sail until I got the title sticker. I don't know about NC, but I'd bet it runs smother than SC. Have a good time sailing, Mike
     
  14. LAuman

    LAuman Member

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    Many thanks lava. . .
    Going by the NCWRC’s Boating Checklist, safety gear required for a Sunfish in NC waters would be: a float plan (I assume that sight by eye or someone who knows where you went and when you should be back should suffice for daysailing.), a type I, II, or III PFD for each person, and a horn, whistle , or bell.

    I’m restarting Sunfish title/registration as a separate thread. This is an issue that remains poorly understood and it frequently arises in discussions with powerboaters and Wildlife Service folks.
    A title is a permanent, one-time document/record that stays with the boat. Registration is a renewable license to use North Carolina public waters and it requires display of an ID number and a current sticker.
    The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission says: “Anyone who purchases or transfers a motorized vessel or sailboat 14 feet or longer . . . will be required to title the vessel effective Jan 1, 2007. . . . “. That clearly exempts Sunfish from the title requirement.
    NCWRC also says “ . . . If you choose to title your vessel it must be registered as well.”
    So, one can choose to title the ‘fish, but in that case it must also be registered, with the attendant ID and renewal requirements.
     
  15. btsunfish

    btsunfish New Member

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    Not that you would probably be doing this but if you decide to sail at night or in the early morning/late evening, USCG requires you to have a single white light as a marker, for the same purposes you have night running lights on your powerboat. A flashlight would do just fine. Again, you probably won't sail too much at night, but when you do, bring the light.
     
  16. Hermie

    Hermie New Member

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    Thanks for all the replies and suggestions. My boys have been have a great time learning to sail the sunfish. The first day out they dumped it about a dozen times before the got the hang of tacking without letting go of the tiller. :D

    I have had to replace the bridle already as the old one broke. I noticed it had some fraying when I bought the boat but I thought it would be ok for a while. Not so. I was able to make up a replacement bridle at West marine and get her back out on the water.

    I also have a question on the rigging but I should probably start a new thread for that. I notice that some of the sunfish I see on here have a mainsheet swivel block. Our boat does not have one. Is this an add on or did some boats come with this installed?
     
  17. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    The mainsheet block is an add-on. Makes handling the sheet more convenient, but, as you know, is by no means required. A birthday present perhaps?

    PS: There are many threads regarding those blocks on the Forum.
     
  18. Chilidog

    Chilidog New Member

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    When I was a kid, I used to hold the sheet with my teeth as I hauled it in.

    Was that wrong? :p
     

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