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General Approach

The Southold Yacht Club Junior Sailing Program is dedicated to insuring the safety of your child during their participation in Sailing classes. There are two main areas of safety concern:

  • Risk Management, which includes prevention and procedures to avoid accidents and injuries
  • Accident Management, which concerns emergency procedures on and off the water

Each instructor has specific duties and responsibilities in the instruction and care of all program participants. These responsibilities are dependent on the following factors:

  • Age and skill level of students
  • Type of activity
  • Environmental conditions

When exercising general supervision, our instructors are immediately accessible to participants. They are constantly alert for deviations from normal procedures, potentially hazardous conditions and are able to react accordingly. If an instructor has to divert attention from the overall supervision of a class, to make a rescue, administer first aid, or to effect a repair another instructor will watch the class. Our supervision will not be left to chance.

Our instructors rehearse emergency procedures do's and don'ts. All are CPR and first aid trained.

Activity Selection

Our staff takes great care in selecting the appropriate activity for a class on a given day. In addition to taking into account the level of skill and ability, size and age of the students, they consider criteria such as weather and other potential hazards when deciding how to conduct a class.

The weather directly affects the safety of the sailor. Our instructors understand the weather and local environmental conditions. We monitor a weather radio and receive periodic reports through the Internet. Once bad weather is predicted, the staff acts conservatively and plans alternate activities to keep a class onshore.

Swim Test

As a safety measure, all students are required within the first week of class to take a swim test. They will be asked to swim for approximately fifty (50) yards and to tread water for one (1) minute. Please make sure that your child has a towel and a change of clothes.

Life Jackets

Personal flotation devices (lifejackets) must be worn at all times when or near the water. These must be U.S. Coast Guard approved and must be properly rated to an individual's size and weight. Lifejackets must be worn by students and staff when participating in any activity that takes a person into a boat, on a dock, ramp, sea wall or launch area adjacent to or alongside the water.

The lifejacket needs to be properly identified with the owner's name and should be inspected regularly to ensure that it is in good functioning condition (no missing straps, torn zippers, exposed or waterlogged flotation). If a lifejacket is unsafe or of questionable value, it must be discarded and replaced immediately. A whistle on a lanyard (string) should be attached.



Shoes that cover the toes and encircle the feet must be worn at all times. This includes land activities as well as on the water work and involves everyone - students, instructors, aides and program administration.

General Safety Rules

  • PFD's worn and secured at all times
  • Wear proper footwear at all times
  • No running
  • No swimming
  • No pushing
  • No smoking, No drugs or alcohol
  • No playing on or near ramps and hoists
  • No glass jars or bottles
  • No skateboards or roller blades


Equipment Check/Maintenance

All of our equipment is periodically checked, some such as safety boats, on a daily basis. If a piece of equipment is broken, we repair it immediately and maintain a maintenance report.

Safety Boat Skills

All instructors are required to pass a safety boat test before they are allowed to operate the safety boat for instructional purposes.


A radio system is an integral part of our sailing program. Radios provide a means of communication between the safety boats and a link to the land base. The procedures for proper use are reviewed with the staff. Every safety boat carries a portable marine radio and is in contact with the yacht club base.


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