Safety Hints

This club has adopted Australian Sailing Special Regulations Part 2 For Off the Beach Boats. These regulations should be studied carefully.  The crew of every small sailing craft will occasionally be forced to call on outside assistance. Those who comply with the Australian Sailing Special Regulations, the Australian Sailing RRS and follow a few practical hints can increase their ability to care for themselves. They might also be able to assist their rescuers where necessary.

Basic Safety Hints

1. Regular Check

  • Make sure that the hull is sound and seaworthy. If it leaks fix it.
  • Check the rigging and fittings and replace anything frayed or worn.
  • Regularly check the rudder fittings which are especially subject to severe stress.

2. Before Sailing 

  • Make sure that all the crew are wearing approved life jackets, warm clothing and sun protection.
  • Tie the centreboard so that it cannot be lost in a capsize.
  • Carry a bailing device, if required, securely tied in place.
  • Ensure that the mainsail can be easily lowered while the boat is capsized.
  • Carry tools to unrig your boat under difficult conditions.
  • Secure tools and any other loose items.
  • Ensure that the rudder is secure and the tiller is properly pinned.

3. Person Overboards

  • A crew falling overboard should try to grab a sheet or clothing.
  • The remaining crew member might find it most effective to capsize the boat in order to recover this companion as it is often difficult to manoeuvre a craft single handed.
  • Act swiftly as the distance between the person overboard and the boat can increase quickly.

4. Capsize

  • Clamber onto the gunwale as the boat goes over and onto the centreboard without delay.
  • Slip the centre board down as fast as you can, if you have capsized with it raised.
  • Try to prevent the craft from rolling upside down.
  • Swim the boat head to wind, if necessary.
  • Right the craft gradually with the bow pointing towards the wind or with the mast to leeward.
  • Lower and stow the spinnaker before righting the boat, if necessary.

5. Towing

  • Prepare the boat for towing by lowering the mainsail, righting the craft and bailing it out.
  • Pass the towline through the towing ring and take a couple of turns around the mast.
  • Hold the loose end of the towline – NEVER TIE IT OFF.
  • Sit well aft during a tow in order to lift the bow.
  • Use your rudder to assist steering.
  • Drag a leg to steer if you have lost the rudder.
  • Lowering the mainsail is essential if you are being towed downwind.
  • Never allow a boat to be towed upside down or on its side.

6. General

  • Do not panic.
  • The crew should stay with the boat at all times while it is capsized.
  • Crews should call for assistance before becoming exhausted.
  • Use a signal to indicate that assistance is needed:
  • Crew in water – one arm raised above head for three seconds at 5 second intervals.
  • Crew in boat – both arms raised above head and lowered to the sides at 5 second intervals (or flag or spar waved from side to side).
  • Be prepared for a capsize by having the correct equipment.

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