We all do it, we just don’t talk about it. Or so it sometimes seem...

We all do it, we just don’t talk about it. Or so it sometimes seems. Safe boating, I’m talking about – you know, coming back with the same number of crew you started with, not calling the lifeboat out, that sort of thing. Go round a show and look at the new boats on offer and it’s quickly apparent that the salesmen would rather the subject didn’t come up. It’s not that their boats are unsafe, it’s just that they’re trying to sell a lifestyle, and lifejackets, flares, bilge pumps, fire-fighting and the rest tend to get in the way.

Generally, we’re a pretty safe bunch. Taking charge of a boat full of family and friends does concentrate the mind of any skipper with an imagination: you just have to think about what could go wrong, and you spend the entire day making sure it doesn’t happen. But is that the right way to deal with the subject?

I’m talking psychology here, I suppose: safety as a state of mind, and all that. It’s ironic – given that I’ve just come back from the Genoa show on an ancient Ryanair 737-200 having spent most of the flight wondering about the oil capacity of the Pratt & Whitney JT8D-9A, because an awful lot of it seemed to be streaming out of the cowling – but to understand the whole idea of safety thinking you have to look at the aviation world.

And that’s exactly what we’ve done this month. Before he got paid to go boating Tony Jones used to get paid to fly, and in this issue our Talking Shop columnist explores the aviation idea of the ‘chain’ of events that leads up to an accident: how to recognise it, and how to break it. It’s good stuff, and might just make us all start to think differently about how we go afloat.

Safe boating!