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Safety Boat Helm and Crew Aide Memoire





Provide safety cover and rescue.  Self deploy to moored SB using Club tender (max 2 pers in tender, preferably 1 - and pick up crew from slipway or Instow Pier as conditions and time dictates). Maintain observation of racing craft, go to the assistance of any that have capsized or appear in difficulty, standby in the case of those helms/crew capable of self recovery, assist those that are not.  Be prepared to right capsized craft, recover helm/crew into the SB, take craft in tow, abandon craft for subsequent recovery where helm/crew are injured or hypothermic and require immediate recovery to NDYC.          


Assist OOD in setting up courses including taking out and positioning racing marks and start lines, repositioning race marks as directed, recovering race marks to the sail store, informing OOD of specific wind and tide conditions as requested.


Provide in race management support to the OOD.  Inform when lead boats of classes pass specific race marks, inform when boats retire (voluntarily or through receiving SB support), inform of change in wind/tide conditions, notify racers of shortening of courses, position on finish line and inform OOD of finishing sail numbers - if requested, assist OOD in confirming all boats off water and accounted for.


Qualifications and Ability.


SB Helms are to have RYA PBL2 and Safety Boat certificates and be over 18 - exceptions will be considered by RCdre and Sec.  SB Crew are to be competent swimmers and be over 16.  At the time of their duty they must be physically capable of undertaking all duties listed above without any limitations.  Where a helm/crew is carrying an injury that restricts their ability they should change their duty until such time as they are fully capable.  If in doubt seek early advice from the RCdre or Sec.


Safety Equipment, Protective Clothing and Refreshment


Both helm and crew must wear personal floatation devices.  The crew should wear a buoyancy aid as they will be expected to enter the water and assist recovery unencumbered by a fully inflated lifejacket.


Both SB crew must be capable of entering the water to assist rescue and therefore must wear a wet/dry suit appropriate to the conditions 


Both helm and crew should expect to be on the water for 2 hours or more in very exposed conditions and be relatively inactive. They are strongly advised to wear outer windproof and waterproof clothing, headgear, gloves and take a warm drink and something to eat as appropriate to the conditions.




Recommended Sequence of Events.


Check Dutyman, confirm date and time.  If supporting a Committee Boat (CB) start expect to report 1.5 hours before Start Time, otherwise report 1 hour before.  The overall aim is to be on the water 30 minutes before the start for a normal race and 60 minutes before a CB race.


Familiarise with tide prediction and weather forecast 3 days out in order to determine the kind of conditions that may be faced and appropriate kit/clothing and refreshment to take.


Report to OOD of the day, meet fellow crew, confirm whether additional race marks are required, get brief from OOD on tide/weather/sea state/courses/classes racing etc, pick up keys/radio, change, pick up fuel and racing marks (as required), undertake radio check before getting afloat, self deploy to SB (no more than 2 people in a tender), check anchor, safety kit, first aid kit and tow line and shorten course signs, put up flag, start engine and check water coolant flow.  HELM MUST WEAR KILL CORD AT ALL TIMES.


Inform OOD when SB fully manned and ready to go.


For those SB helm/crew who are rusty, take the opportunity (before the race start) to undertake a series of slow speed manoeuvres simulating coming alongside, standing by and then assisting/recovering racers and towing craft.


Stand off Start Line but be prepared to inform false starters as requested by OOD.


Receive/request numbers sailing by class, confirmation of course and any specific racer/crew who may need a bit of extra looking after eg. due to age/inexperience etc.  (Do not expect all this information before the start sequence has been completed)


Undertake Race Duties - as outlined above. 


If time and conditions permit allow crew to helm SB and pick up handling experience with a view to encouraging them to become SB Helms in due course.


Request OOD permission to stand down.


Moor, refuel, take down flag, recover to NDYC with keys, VHF Radio and empty fuel container.


Refill fuel container, hand in keys and VHF to OOD, report any faults.


Get your free drink.







Kill cords.


Stop engine when crew has hands on person in water.


Own safety and other peoples safety more important than boats.


Do not stand down until OOD has accounted for all racing crews and craft.




Minimise unnecessary radio traffic and maintain radio silence during start sequence unless called by the OOD or an emergency dictates.


At the Start keep away from the Start Line and the area up to 200 metres behind it and alongside it - unless requested by OOD.


Unless responding to a capsize/request for assistance keep speed low and avoid creating wake for racers to sail through.


Keep an eye on the tail end charlies of each class and, in the spirit of encouraging people to sail and race, give helpful advice as appropriate.


Take out the NDYC camera (from the OOD in the Tower) and get some action shots for the web site and local media.

Last updated 4:45pm on 18 July 2024

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