As well as normal sailing and seamanship skills, cruisers use a variety of equipment and techniques to make their voyages possible, or simply more comfortable. The use of wind vane self steering is common on long distance cruising yachts.
Though in the past many cruisers had no means of generating electricity on board and depended on kerosene and dry cell batteries, today most have some sort of electrical devices on board thus,one of the key areas is providing the electrical power to keep the boat's systems (lights, communications gear, etc.) running. Although most boats can generate power from their inboard engines, and some carry generators, carrying sufficient fuel for these over a long voyage can be a problem; and so many cruising boats are equipped with generating devices such as solar panels, wind turbines and towed turbines.
While it is quite possible (and, until relatively recently, normal) to cruise without long-distance communications equipment, such gear is becoming more common on cruising boats. Many boats are now equipped with satellite telephone systems; however, these systems can be expensive to use, and may operate only in restricted areas. Many cruisers still rely on the older short wave maritime SSB and Amateur radio radio, which has no running costs, and can with a compatible modem, Pactor, allow sending and receiving of email at very slow speed, insufficient for all but basic communication using ASCII text only, without html formating or attachments. This communication is analogous to the telegraph message in the past.
Watermakers which turn seawater into potable water are increasingly common on ocean crossing yachts. Radar, GPS are usually present and electronic charting systems are also regularly found on cruising yachts.
Travel by water brings hazards: collision, weather, and equipment failure can lead to dangerous situations such as a sinking or severely disabled and dangerous vessel. For this reason many long distance cruising yachts carry with them sophisticated emergency equipment such as EPIRBs and Liferafts.
Medical emergencies are also of concern, as a medical emergency can occur on a long passage when the closest port is over a week away. For this reason before going cruising many people go through first aid training and carry extensive medical kits.
Camp cruising, also known as beach cruising or gunkhole cruising, is a form of cruising in which sailors sail from point to point in an open or semi-enclosed boat, generally remaining within sight of land. Camp cruisers either camp ashore ("camp cruising" or "beach cruising"), or aboard the boat at anchor. The boats used may be specialized cruising dinghies, small keelboats, or general purpose daysailing or racing boats pressed into service for the purpose.
Daysailing is recreational sailing that does not involve racing or cruising. Many racers refer to all non-racers as "cruisers," including dinghy and small keelboat sailors who primarily focus on daysailing.
Travel on cruise ships may be referred to as cruising. Those who take frequent cruise ship vacations (multiple times per year) may be called cruisers. Further reading
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