Liveaboard Safety

Living on a boat has many advantages as well as its disadvantages as compared to life on land. The biggest issue I am frequently asked about is drowning. (This is going to be such a chipper topic)

Motor boats typically have swim platforms and ladders placed conveniently on the stern. If you were to fall into the water, this ladder will let you climb back out with some effort. 

Sailboats, on the other hand, typically have no such platforms or ladders. Instead they have tall smooth sides that offer no aid in your climb from water.

The piers are also unforgiving. most floating piers are 2 feet above the waters surface. 

The only option is to swim to shore and come onto dry land at the waters edge. Once again, marinas are huge and this could end up being a very long swim from some slips.  

If it were winter with freezing cold waters, you would only have a few minutes of working time before hypothermia sets in and everything ends.  

You can not rely on a neighbor to hear you splash, as boats are well insulated and no one will hear your cries for help.  

This is why you must have your own emergency plan set in place and ready to save yourself if you were to fall in the water. 

At the end of our finger pier, I have a rope ladder tied to the cleat at the corner of the slip. Since I didn't want it to get covered in growth, it remains on the pier with a line hanging from it into the water. I tied some knots near the end to make it easier to grab and pull into the water.

In a moment of panic, it will be hard to find this safety line, so it rests conveniently on a fender.  


All we need to do is swim over to the fender and pull on the line. The ladder will drop into the water and we can climb out to safety. 

I (thankfully) have never tested this ladder in this location, but I have tried it out in a creek. It isn't the most comfortable thing to climb, but it will get you out of the water!  

Obviously, the first priority is to not fall in. If you do happen to fall in, having these safety measures in place will make all the difference.