Planning for safety, on and off the water, is particularly vital to a youth event, so appointing a qualified and committed person to head up this effort would be a good early assignment.
Powerline hazards should be first on your safety officer’s “To Do” list. A meticulous troubleshooting walk around the event site and approaches by land and water will identify any dangerous situations. Do this months ahead, so remedies can be implemented. Read “Electrical Hazards” in this section.
PFDs save lives. Make your PFD policy known to all, in the SIs, and at competitors’, RC, coaches’ and safety-boat meetings (e.g., competitors are required to wear PFDs on the water, as are coaches; all other on-water support people, including boat drivers, parents, are strongly encouraged to wear PFDs).
Lightning deserves mention at your Competitors’ Meeting (if there’s even a remote chance of a storm): Suggest what competitors can do if lightning appears while boats are on the water, e.g., capsize and sit on upturned hull awaiting instructions/assistance.
Your particular venue will make certain safety measures important. These, from a JO event at Chicago Yacht Club, will suggest measures right for your event:
- Station someone with a scratch sheet at the harbor mouth to check sailors out and in. The check-out/check-in person has a VHF and a cell phone (with list of emergency numbers).
- Appoint a safety boat captain. Among this person’s responsibilities is to assign safety boats to specific locations on the race course or in the sailing area, to assure proper coverage of the area. Safety boats tend to congregate unless assigned specific areas of responsibility.
- One safety boat has emergency first-aid supplies.One has tools and a limited number of boat parts, tape, etc. to deal with breakdowns. Many have water to refill water bottles. All have radios.
- Medical consent forms are alphabetized and kept at the registration desk. Someone is assigned to the desk at all times while sailors are on the water.
- The spectator fleet is instructed to contact race organizers if they pick up someone. They are also instructed that, in any weather emergency, they would be counted on to help in any way possible.
|Note: All US Sailing trained instructors have received safety training (and are first aid, CPR and NASBLA certified).|