Four Rules of Preparation

The Four Rules of Preparation are set forth by John Rousmaniere in the essential book, The Annapolis Book of Sailing and Seamanship, 3rd Edition.

Rousmaniere states that "taking seriously the possibility of emergencies requires the cautious state of mind known as forehandedness. A helpful rule of thumb, laid out by the U.S. Navy, is that safety requires eternal vigilance." Then Rousmaniere also sets out a Formula For Disaster to explain the repeated patterns of behavior that appear over and over again in major boating emergencies or losses. Then he nicely articulates the following four rules to avoid such incidents

  1. Prepare the Boat: Look at everything with a worst case state of mind.
  2. Prepare the Crew: Assign responsibilities and make sure everybody understands how everything works and what to do if...
  3. Choose a Safe Route: Avoid bad weather and seasons, make sure all charts etc., are on board, and have a fall back plan in case...
  4. Prepare for Emergencies: Practice, practice, practice. If you can't do actual hands on practice, do mental practice.


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Bill Dillon (KG4QFM)
Pat Watt (KG4QFQ)
This page was last modified on August 9, 2009

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