Mast Tip Lift


  • Practice and develop the rescue skill of approaching and righting a capsized sailboat, using the Mast Tip Lift method.

Setting Up the Drill:

  • Equipment: sailboat with flotation at top of mast to prevent turtling and a long line attached to the mast tip to capsize the boat (secure line at both ends to prevent possible entanglement). Boat is preferably rigged with sails.
  • Additional equipment: if the sailboat needs to be anchored in position, an anchor and rode will be required.

Conducting the Drill:

  • After proceeding to the operating area, pull the sailboat over into the capsized position, using the line attached to the mast tip.
  • Each operator maneuvers the boat to a position to commence a mast tip lift, maneuvering to the forestay or the mast tip.
  • Once contact is made with the sailboat, each operator should clearly indicate that the engine is turned off.
  • A crew member on the powerboat will then right the boat, using the mast tip lift.
  • After each righting, the boat is capsized using the line attached to the mast tip.

Teaching Tips:

  • If the drill is being conducted in a confined area or to expedite the drill, it may be necessary to anchor the sailboat.
  • Crew stays in contact with the mast and/or shroud as the boat is righted to maintain control.
  • Use of a boat hook to grasp the forestay makes it easier to make contact and safer on the hands.
  • Use the long line attached to the mast tip to capsize the sailboat.

Common Errors:

  • Making approach to the mast tip from astern of the sailboat instead of a direction forward of the mast.
  • Making approach at too fast a speed.
  • Using the mast tip float to grasp the mast.


  • Safety & Rescue Boat Handling On-Water Skill Standard 3.4 and its rubrics
  • Safety, Rescue & Support Boat Handling textbook pg. 65