How to be a responsible dinghy owner

Owning a boat is great fun, but isn’t without its responsibilities. If you’ve just bought a dinghy and you’re looking for advice on the ins and outs of owning a dinghy, including towing and trailering and storing your boat, be sure to read our top tips below.

 

Responsible dinghy sailing

One of the best things about owning a boat is being able to head out on the water whenever you want, whether it be with family and friends, compete in races, or just enjoy the great outdoors. But you also need to remember to respect the environment and any other boaters with whom you’re sharing the water.

 

Green boating
To help keep the environment clean, you should call the Environment Agency incident hotline if you spot any of the following:

  • Damage to the natural environment
  • Poaching or illegal fishing
  • Dead fish
  • Main rivers blocked by a vehicle or fallen tree
  • Flooding
  • Unusual changes in river flow
  • Illegal removals from watercourses

 

Sharing the water 
You should always be mindful of others on the water so maintain a safe speed and know who has the right of way when approaching other vessels. Always look out for jet skiers, wakeboarders and tubers and try to stay at least 150 ft from all other vessels, as well as swimming areas and anglers. Stay alert and always have the necessary equipment to help in the event of an emergency, whether it be yourself or another boater.

 

Storing your dinghy
Where’s the best place to store your dinghy? It’s likely where you store your boat will change depending on the season. Typically, there are two main options for storing your dinghy; in the dinghy park or on a dinghy rack, depending on the design and whether the mast is taken down at the end of each sail.

In the winter months it is worth garage storing many dinghy classes, especially if they are of wooden construction. It is important to winterise your boat wherever it’s stored, making sure the sails are taken off and stored in the dry, covering it up carefully to avoid water pooling on the cover and within the hull and securing the boat and trailer to the ground to avoid it turning over in high winds. 

 

Dinghy maintenance  
To get the most out of your dinghy you should make regular checks to the boats interior and exterior, as well as making sure all of your safety equipment is intact. A dinghy maintenance checklist would likely include the following:

  • The dinghy’s hull and topsides
  • Moving parts such as cleats and blocks
  • Sails and ropes
  • Canvas and upholstery
  • Buoyancy aid
  • Safety gear operational and within expiry date (Sign up for a free MyBoat account, which will send you reminders for when these are due to expire!)

 

Insuring your dinghy
Finally, is your dinghy insured? Consider an ‘all-risk’ policy as these will offer the most protection and cover you for almost every eventuality. With GJW’s dinghy insurance you’re covered for racing risk, transit and trailer, personal belongings, personal accident, medical expenses, legal protection and 30 days European cover. Find out more about dinghy insurance inclusions and exclusions here.

 

Learn more about your responsibilities on the water with our Sea Safety with your Dinghy eBook... 

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