Put On Your Shoes!

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2014 • all rights reserved

As you're prepping your boat for a thunderstorm or squall, take a minute to prepare yourself as well.

Yeah, we named our boat Barefoot Gal and now I’m writing to put on your shoes? What’s up with that?

Actually, it has a lot to do with the fact that I much prefer to go barefoot.

But if you’re like me and tend not to wear your shoes when you’re aboard the boat, it’s a smart idea to slip them on when threatening weather arrives.

We really don’t like to think that our boat could be the one to drag anchor and go aground, but what if it did? A bit of foot protection would go a long ways.

Water Witch, a beautifully restored wooden boat, was in the next cove over from us when a nasty chubasco (thunderstorm that comes across the Sea of Cortez) hit. Their anchor dragged and they couldn’t make it out to deep water. Unfortunately, she broke up on the rocks and the two on board had to crawl over those rocks to “safety” in the middle of the storm. Imagine trying to do that without shoes . . . or even trying to find your shoes as the boat is hitting the rocks.


Water Witch the next morning

As you’re prepping the boat for a squall or thunderstorm, it’s also a good idea to do the following:

  • Put collars with ID on pets if they’re not wearing them.
  • If you have ID tags (we love the Road ID tags — see my post), put them on.
  • If you’re just wearing a swim suit, slip on a pair of shorts and t-shirt.
  • Stick a waterproof flashlight in your pocket — don’t count on being able to grab one in an emergency.

I could make a huge list of personal safety items — stick meds in your pocket, put a safety strap on glasses, carry a sound-making device — but the reality is that you probably won’t do all that every time threatening weather approaches. To me, the biggies are shoes, ID (for you and pets) and light.

Underway, you should have your ditch bag(s) readily at hand. But even at anchor, it’s smart to take a few precautions. Having your boat go on the rocks is an awful day (we’ve been amongst the first ones on the scene twice); getting injured in the process is even worse.

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  1. I hate wearing shoes too but I see your point.

  2. Oh wow, the boat on the rocks kinda lives up to its name… I always wear non skid shoes or my Keens. Have stubbed my toes a time or two in calm conditions and in the marina

  3. Bill J says:

    Always wear shoes when either retrieving or letting out anchor.
    That will save your toes one day!

  4. K.M.McKeenan says:

    I hate shoes!
    Mom always said “wear your shoes its snowing!”
    Grandma swore up and down I would end up with tetanus, It’s the law in most places while driving…. Oh and OSHA. LOL. They kind of frown on barefeet on job sites.
    But sailing too???
    When will the anti-nakey-feet rules end?
    What would be the best kind of shoes to have onboard in your opinion? Especially for those of us who like to have toes as free as our spirits?

    • Well, I rarely wear them actually sailing . . . only if my feet are cold. But when things turn nasty, yeah, I put them on. I wear Keens 99% of the time that I wear shoes — they go in and out of water very well and the protection over the toes is pure genius for those of us who like to hike in rocky places with lots of thorns.

  5. F….shoes!

  6. I love my Keen scuffs..good traction on bottom and on foot bed, on and off in a flash!

  7. My husband used to get after me to wear shoes. Then one day my toes parted on a cleat and I broke a toe. I tried not to hobble in front of him and one day he caught me , hobbling told me to give it up.

  8. Great advice. I usually wear Crocs when I wear shoes but when the weather gets sporty I wear sturdy lace up deck shoes – something that won’t ever come off my feet.

    I have a whistle on my key chain, always in my pocket. I usually have a mini-Maglite in my pocket as well. Biggest implication is I have to wear a belt to keep my pants up. *grin* Almost always a safety strap on my glasses.

    hugs to Barefoot Gal.

  9. great article, good reminders to prepare for our upcoming rainy season in Florida.

  10. Candy Williams says:

    You always have such good tips/reminders for us.

    I will never forget one really bad thunderstorm we were anchored in one night…back in the 80’s we never wore many clothes…that night during the peak of the storm my husband made me put on tennis shoes and stand in the salon away from the mast …so there I stood in the cabin naked with tennis shoes on…quite a sight i am sure…lol…I guess he was just being prudent.

    Your tip on putting on shoes is an impt. one…I can just imagine trying to crawl over coral heads and barnacles barefooted. Again thanks for your good reminders!!

  11. Thanks for the good reminders!!

  12. Wonderful info, ❤️

  13. I pretty much always wear some kind of footwear as you can hurt your feet when moving around the deck.

  14. When we have tornado warnings I always put my shoes on and make sure they are right beside the bed before I go to sleep at night. Imagine trying to walk out of the rubble of a tornado with bare feet!

  15. don’t need a storm. never never be on deck without shoes or at least crocs on. broken toes are all too easy.

  16. We drug anchor once. Fortunately we were going out to deeper water.

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