Here are links to various resources dealing with safety and management of risk at sailing programs. These links are provided to encourage informative discussions of some options that may be available. If you have additional resources or suggestions that may be helpful to expand the breadth of helpful information, please contact the JSA of LIS office at 914-834-4202 or

Sailing Program Risk Management and Safety Guides

  • JSA of LIS is conducting a review of practices for managing risk and safety at its member club junior programs. Several examples of the anonymous responses may be downloaded here.
  • Required Training for Instructors: JSA of LIS requires that member clubs employ instructors who have passed the US Sailing Small Boat Level 1 Instructor course. In addition, the US Powerboating Safe Powerboat Handling certificate is required for newly certified Level 1 instructors in their first year of employment as an instructor. The SPH certificate may be earned through a 1- or 2-day course, depending on the instructor’s experience. Details about powerboat training courses available in the western Long Island Sound region may be viewed on the instructor training page of this website.
  • Gowrie Group insurance has a variety of guides to manage risk reduction for different aspects of yacht club and sailing program activities. The guides include Emergency Action Plans, Junior Sailing Safety Guide, Club Organization Safety Manual, Dock Safety Guidelines, and Safety Check Lists.
  • Emergency Action Plan: US Sailing has a list of suggestions for creating the EAP at a sailing club. Noroton Yacht Club tested its EAP several years ago, and the experience informed this 2016 article published in WindCheck magazine.
  • US Sailing Association published a comprehensive review of safety resources during 2017 that includes reports on past accidents. US Sailing also has presented information about safety at its annual conferences.
  • Club 420 Association has a safety resource guide that includes information about concussions, capsize inversion safety, and righting a capsized boat.
  • Head Injury / Concussions: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has developed the HEADS UP Concussion in Youth Sports initiative to offer information about concussions to coaches, parents, and athletes involved in youth sports. New England Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association has been encouraging its member sailing teams to prevent head injuries; a 2017 report cites success, but many improvements are still needed. More resources on the routine use of helmets in sailing are available here.
  • SafeSport Handbook was developed by US Sailing to incorporate a United States Olympic Committee program that addresses bullying and harassment of athletes. The SafeSport guidelines have been incorporated into the rules for all US Sailing sanctioned regattas, and JSA of LIS regattas, too. Starting in 2018, all US Sailing instructor certification and recertification now requires SafeSport training.
  • Background Screening and Drug Testing services for sailing program staff may be acquired from providers designated by US Sailing (see links for Background and Drugs).

Regatta Safety Guides

Powerboat Safety References

  • The Safe Powerboat Handling certificate is earned after 8 hours of on-the-water training and practice. US Sailing has reported that new instructors often do not have sufficient hands-on powerboat experience to pass the Level 1 course without a follow-up plan for improvement. Ask your new instructors to show their Level 1 course completion certificate, which will state if any plan for improvement is required. Evaluate the powerboat handling skills of each instructor you hire, whether new or experienced, before they start work in June. Have your club’s professional staff check them out to assure they really can demonstrate capable and safe powerboat handling skills. If needed for, schedule them for the US Sailing Safe Powerboat Handing course (2 days if do not have a state boating safety education certificate) or Accelerated Safe Powerboat Handling course (1 day if already have a state boating safety education certificate) or a 3-hour powerboat handling challenge test, which may be found at US Powerboating.  Also recommended for sailing instructors is the Safety & Rescue Boat Handling course that provides practical techniques used in rescue situations.
  • Bringing Powerboat Training to Your Club for the benefit of instructors, junior sailors and adult members was discussed at the JSA Midwinter Meeting in 2016.
  • US Powerboating Reference page has a listing of various resources, including prop guard usage, engine maintainance and  hosting a Safe Powerboat Handling course.
  • Education about how to tow safely: a Connecticut law was enacted to require all powerboat operators who tow waterskiers or tubers to get additional education about towing. Some of the waterski towing safety measures may also apply to the towing of sailboats, as described in this presentation.
  • Propeller Safety includes education about safe operation and also guards for outboard propellers.  A separate page has more information about propeller guards.