SBCC Safety Plan & Basic Info

  • Follow the racing and equipment guidelines published in detail in our yearbook, this document and those posted online on the websites which contains important information and links to help develop an individual overview of what to do to prevent a situation from occurring and what to do if one happens.
  • Hold a pre-season safety briefing for skippers/crew and encourage further USCG and US Sailing education on boating safety.  This briefing will be at the Spring skippers meeting.
  • Register our races with the USCG for listing in the local notice to mariners published online by USCG District 1.
  • Publish in the Race Committee Procedures for Committee Boats online and recommend to monitor VHF channel 72/16 as suggested over the years and take a more active role in running a safe race always be available to assist if needed.
  • If any severe safety action occurs, racing ceases to allow for assistance to reach those in distress safely and without distraction.  You might be that assistance.

It is the exclusive responsibility of each skipper to decide whether or not to start, continue, or drop out of any event. The South Bay Cruising Club does not assume any liability for the decision of any participant to race. The Board of Governors of the South Bay Cruising Club, the SBCC Regatta Committee recommends that all owners and skippers carry liability, as well as hull insurance, to protect all parties from the financial consequences of an accident.  Above all, COMMON SENSE should be used to determine whether to venture out or sail above your abilities. This applies to all participants and the Race Committee. Listen to USCG VHF Safety Broadcasts and/or NOAA Weather Marine broadcasts/Alert Tone for updates to guide your decision as well. If gale warnings or higher are posted, heavy thunderstorms/lightning in the forecast or occurring, or other severe weather is imminent, check your email, text messages, phone, or VHF channel 72 prior to the race start time to see if there are attempts to announce a cancellation.  Also, official postings will be made on our racing website, which may be the fastest way to obtain information or be alerted that changes or cancelations may have occurred or pending.  Ultimately, as indicated in RRS 1.4, it is your decision to participate.  Race committee boats should monitor   VHF channel 16 and 72 in case issues arise and actively participate in race management. Race Committee does have the authority to display the “Y” flag requiring the use of life jackets while in the activity of racing.

The USCG is requesting organizations that conduct activities on the water have some kind of safety plan made available. It is in our best interest to have a guide of how to react if an accident or medical emergency were to happen. More than likely they might be the first authority to respond if we were ever in need of assistance.  Where we sail/race on the Great South Bay we have many resources available to us with a single phone call to 911.   More readily available is a VHF radio broadcast on channel 16.  There are even cellphone apps to handle this too.  With even the minimal amount of the vast technology available to us, it very unlikely we would ever not be able to obtain some form of help in our area.  We are able to access local fire department rescue squads, the U.S. Coast Guard, and our local police should we need help. However, our greatest immediate help will come from our fellow competitors and nearby boaters.  It is our duty as fellow sailors to always help those in need even if we can’t provide direct assistance.  We can certainly make an effort to assist in obtaining help by some method. 

A safety action might be any medical emergency, sailing injury, boat collision, man overboard or situation that is life threating to a boats crew.   It should be noted that if this were ever to occur all racing activities should be diverted to render assistance required by our US Sailing Rules and common sense. Help if you can, but never endanger yourself or crew as it would make a bad situation even worse.  Sailing, and especially sailboat racing has some inherit risks involved.  Most of us who sail regularly are aware of the potential issues but often may neglect to inform others of potential risks that could happen, nor can predict the actions of those onboard.  Overall, sailing is an extremely rewarding and fun activity that can be enjoyed by everyone with just a basic amount of preparation, maintenance and education.  A simple checklist should be routine:

  • Check weather report and tides
  • Identify non-swimmers
    • Supply them with fitted life jackets before heading out on the water
  • Identify a second-in-command in case of skippers incapacitation
  • Put an experienced crewmember to oversee guest crew and brief them of basic procedures and hazardous locations
  • Encourage wearing lifejackets when conditions are less than ideal, sailing at night or offshore, when short-handed, cold water conditions or when in doubt
  • Identify the location and the operation of the following Coast Guard required safety items and important safety items
    • Life jackets – should be readily accessible
    • Man overboard Lifesling or throwable flotation device – should be immediately accessible.
    • First Aid kit w/basic manual for emergency responses
    • Working Horn or sound-producing device as required
    • Working Fire extinguishers and a brief description of their operation as required
    • Current Flares or other Working Visual Distress Signals as required
    • Check operation of Navigation Lights
    • VHF Radio; turn on and select Channel 16 and 72.   (RC should be monitoring this channel 72 the entire race)  Ensure that one other person knows how to operate the radio and be able to transmit a distress call or need for immediate help to the USCG or contact the Race Committee boat and be able to properly give an accurate location of the boat..
    • Ensure that one anchor and rode is ready for immediate use
    • Navigational Chart and/or GPS
    • Working Flashlight
  • Make sure someone can start/shutdown the engine and operate it and enough fuel to return from the furthest point of the race course.
  • Identify a method of how to get a person overboard back to the boat and be able to get the individual back onboard i.e. ladder location or lifting sling