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Organization Leads to Smooth Sailing

This is a guest post written by Professional Organizer Lea Schneider from Pensacola FL and owner of

Summertime on the boat may be a time to relax but you never want to relax about safety.

I’ve been organizing for nearly ten years but only sailing for a year or so. Certification lessons at the Lanier Sailing Academy in Pensacola, FL took me out into Pensacola Bay and taught me the fun of sailing.

The “Man Overboard” drills we practiced over and over were the sobering lesson that anything can happen while you are out having fun.

Sail Boat off in DistanceGetting and staying organized for power boating or sailing is one way to make sure that you have what you need when you need it. That can keep you safe and eliminates stress when under way.

Imagine being out on a sailboat on a beautiful day with your favorite person- just the two of you for a romantic afternoon and picnic. A sudden gusting change of wind causes your boat to jibe, violently swinging the boom across the boat and batting your loved one into the bay. You reach for the emergency floatation device to throw to them and realize that no one checked the boat to see if it was on board. You can’t jump in after them leaving your boat to sail away from the two of you. That’s just one scenario avoided with organizing.

Here are a couple of tips to help boats be organized that I picked up at sailing school:

1. Create a boat box. Use a plastic, water-proof box to hold all of the important things you need to have at hand. If you store the keys to the boat in the box, you will never be able to cast-off without it! At Lanier, they have set up boxes labeled for each boat. They hold items such as the winch handle, a flashlight, a whistle, keys on a floating key ring and more. The registration for each boat is taped in the bottom of the box.


2. Create a launch and return checklist. Easily done on your computer, this checklist will remind you of everything that needs to go aboard or needs to be checked before you head out.  From checking the amount of gas in the tank to counting the number of life preservers, this organizing can save the day- and a life. Likewise, create a return checklist that helps you make sure you have taken all the steps to stow your equipment and boat away safely until the next boating day. Print off a number and use them each time you go out. Your passengers, who serve as your crew, can quickly help you check off the list so you can head out for a fun-filled day.

And, from my own experience organizing garages and storage areas, I know that boating equipment can end up all over the place.  You’ll want to:

3. Stow like items together. If you trailer your boat each time, then you likely have quite a bit of boating equipment at home. Organize your garage so that boating equipment is all stored in one location making it easy to find what you need. Large plastic storage totes make a great way to keep equipment together and transport it to the boat and back again to storage.

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