|Safety at Sea
The Offshore Personal Safety Course (a.k.a. Safety at Sea - Sea Survival) is for experienced sailors who are participating in distance and offshore races and passages. The course includes classroom and practical sessions. Topics covered include safety equipment, storm sails, weather forecasts, heavy weather, man overboard, emergency signals and communications. Practical sessions include inflating and using lifejackets, life rafts and other safety equipment in a pool environment. The course is Sail Canada - World Sailing approved. Participants who successfully complete the course receive an Offshore Personal Safety Course certificate, valid for five years.
Sailors around the world take offshore personal safety training to prepare themselves and their boats for distance and offshore sailing. Offshore personal safety programs are offered in many countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Italy, New Zealand, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. Some sailing event organizers recommend or require offshore personal safety training for participating crews. World Sailing (formerly ISAF - the International Sailing Federation) specifies personal safety training requirements in section 6 of the Offshore Special Regulations, and outlines a model course in Appendix G of those regulations.
In British Columbia, the Vic-Maui International Yacht Race, the Van Isle 360 International Yacht Race, and the Southern Straits Race require offshore personal safety training for some members of each crew, and the Swiftsure International Yacht Race recommends it.
Before registering, please review the "Student Requirements and Advance Information", below.
The Offshore Personal Safety course has been offered in BC for over five years. Certificates are valid for five years from the class date. We do not currently offer a specialized course specifically for renewals. The standard course evolves and participant memory changes over time. Live flare training has been added, some classes now include live fire extinguisher training, the rig cutting and pool drills have evolved, and refined/new content has been incorporated. Knowledge and skills need to be refreshed and practiced to be useful when needed most. People whose training was several years ago, and/or whose certificates are expiring, should consider taking the training again. Starting with the Fall 2016 classes, participants who have previously taken this training in BC are eligible for a 25% reduction in the registration price. Have your expired/expiring certificate number ready when registering, as you will need it to select this option.
The classes are popular and tend to fill up quickly. We use an online registration system and we announce (here, please check back periodically) the date and time when registration will open. Generally, advance registration opens about 60 days prior to a class, and general registration opens about 45 days prior to a class.
Advance registration: Through the skippers of boats that have entered in events that require this type of training, we offer advance registration. This includes Vic-Maui, Southern Straits, Van Isle 360. Please ask your skipper.
General registration: In every class, there is space available when general registration opens. Links to the online registration system will be provided here when general registration opens.
Classes are generally scheduled into the October – April time-frame in order to minimize schedule conflicts.
January - April 2017 schedule:
Please check back here occasionally for updates.
Royal Vancouver Yacht Club
UBC Aquatic Centre (new building, new location as of January 2017)
West Vancouver Yacht Club
West Vancouver Aquatic Centre
Royal Victoria Yacht Club - Cadboro Bay
University of Victoria - Strong building, room C108
University of Victoria - McKinnon building (pool)
Organization and Instructors
The Offshore Personal Safety Course is offered by BC Sailing in association with local yacht clubs. The course was developed by the Safety at Sea Working Group, comprised of representatives of four distance races and their organizing authorities:
Student Requirements and Advance Information
Price & Registration
Testimonials (from participants in 2011-2015 classes)
"Thank you so much for the certificate and for running such an informative and professional course."
"I wanted to say thank you for the excellent course. I thought the course was extremely informative and was very impressed with the way it was presented."
"Just wanted to thank you and the other instructors for an excellent course. Really well-organized and communicated. The hands-on exercises (cutting rigging, flares) and time in the pool were particularly valuable... could be lifesavers!"
"Thanks again for the excellent course. I particularly found that the real life examples drove home some messages. … Up to that point in your course I had questioned the crotch strap concept a bit as my life jacket had not ridden up in the pool. That story really hit home."
"Regarding the differences between this training and STCW / MED training … it’s not just about 'safety at sea' but 'sailing safely at sea'." (commercial ship’s officer)
Registration is available online only (see the links in the Calendar section above).
For other information please contact:
BC Sailing Safety at Sea program
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