Another Sailing Tragedy Reminds Us to Stay Safe

Published on July 23rd, 2013

By Tom Lochhaas, Guide
A report from the U.K. of a sailor who died mere hours after buying his new boat should remind us all of how quickly the joy of sailing can turn tragic.

Hany Mustapha, a British businessman, had just bought his 21-foot sloop and was on his first sail, solo, when the incident occurred. He had previously taken a weeklong sailing course and was studying for his Master Yachtsman certificate. He went sailing on the Solent and experienced gale-force winds and apparently fell or was knocked overboard by the boom, judging from bruises on his head when his body was found 5 days later; he had died of hypothermia.

The coroner’s report mentioned two possible causative factors: he wore what is described as a basic “buoyancy aid” rather than a true PFD, and he wore nonboating shoes without a nonskid sole. Mr. Mustapha was an enthusiastic new sailor who had planned to take his wife sailing around the world.

You can read the full story here. As sad as the incident is, may it hopefully remind us all that boating safety involves many aspects of seamanship and safety gear, lest the unexpected occur, as it can even on the calmest days.

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