Safety at Sea with Captain Carson


If one was to ask me why I love my job, I would say it is because I love to share the sport of sailing and empowering people to get out and sail on the beautiful Pacific Ocean. As we start to approach the winter season I would like to remind all of our sailors of some basic but useful safety tips.

Cruise Ships

 You may notice cruise ships anchoring outside of the Santa Barbara Harbor at least once a week. It is pretty awesome that people pay to visit where we live! Please remember to stay a safe distance away from the cruise ship as well as the orange tenders creating extra traffic.

Cruise ship tips: We all have seen the harbor get rather crowded, especially if you are tacking up the channel. If there ever seems like too much traffic or boats that might become in your way, head down and reach through one of the marina fingers until the traffic clears.


 Although our whale watching season does not officially start until the middle of February, it is not uncommon to see early migrants coming up the coast. For whales, the law states that vessels should keep a safe distance of at least 30 yards.

Whales can easily get spooked and spend more time below the water line. I like to head up and next to their path and stop my engine. If all goes to planned the whales will not be threatened and swim right by. If you see the whale tale, it means that they are about to go for a big dive down; it might be another 6-8 minutes before they surface again!

I think everyone can agree that the camaraderie in this sport is truly special. That being said, you will often hear the captain of the Double Dolphin communicating with other commercial captains about the location of whales over the VHF marine radio. If you have a whale sighting and hear our captains switch over to a working frequency on the radio, feel free to ‘break’ into the conversation to let our captain know. It is always greatly appreciated to take the search out of the trip and allow our guests to spend the most time with these animal.

Safety Checklist 

Before heading out on the water this season, always make sure there is a life jacket for everyone on board and ensure proper conditions of safety equipment including flares, throwable devices, radios, and life lines. If you ever have any questions about the weather conditions or equipment on board, always feel free to ask a captain or crew member and they will be more than happy to answer your questions.

The winter in Santa Barbara can be some of the best winds and most beautiful days of the year. If you have never experienced the annual Parade of Lights, I highly encourage you to spend some time in the harbor this year on December 11th. Fair winds and following seas!

Starboard Tack,

Captain Carson Shevitz