Safety at Sea Seminars

Why you should attend or organize
a US Sailing Certified Safety at Sea Seminar

Sponsored by Cruising World, Sailing World, West Marine and Landfall Navigation

Ever wonder what you would do if someone fell overboard from your boat? Do you have a plan to deal with heavy weather if you can’t reach a safe harbor? Interested in selecting the right emergency communications equipment or storm sails, but you’re not sure what to buy? If so, a US Sailing Certified Safety at Sea Seminar is for you.

Safety at Sea Seminars are moderated and taught by immensely experienced, lifelong sailors who include some of the top names in sailing and safety.
These seminars are for sailors of all types and levels — cruisers and racers, novices and experts. The seminars are appropriate for a wide range of boats — small, big, monohulls, multihulls (and powerboats, too) — that are sailed anywhere — near shore and offshore.
The curriculum is certified by US SAILING, with special attention to conditions and challenges of the host organization’s sailing area. If you are interested in hosting one of these seminars in your area, begin by downloading the Seminar Planning Guide.
More than 1,000 sailors attend safety seminars around North America every year. Many bring their families and crews. Come and join them!

US Sailing offers three distinct courses aimed at preparing sailors for offshore sailing conditions. Most offshore race organizing authorities require completion of one of these courses for 30% of the crew taking part in the race. The certifications are good for five years. Proof that the training has been completed is stored in a database at US Sailing so that sailors have a record of the training they’ve taken and its currency.
In some instances, race organizers may require SAS certification when it has not been previously required which puts a large demand on training resources in the local area. In those instances, it may be necessary to phase in the requirement over a two- or three-year period to accommodate all sailors.
A US Sailing Safety at Sea Moderator is present at all seminars to ensure the consistency and quality of the information. S/he will work with other safety experts to present the topics.

The Safety at Sea courses that are offered are as follows:

1. Coastal Safety at Sea Seminars. These seminars are intended for sailors who participate in coastal races (or for coastal cruisers). They take four hours and include the following topics:
a. Emergency communications
b. Personal safety gear
c. Man overboard
d. Search and Rescue procedures
e. An incremental topic(s) that meets the needs of the race conditions, e.g.
i. Reduced visibility
ii. Large vessel traffic
iii. Heavy weather
iv. Breaking seas

2. Safety at Sea Seminar – Theoretical Classroom Sessions

A day long US Sailing Sanctioned SAS Seminar follows a Core Curriculum consisting of required topics plus optional topics tailored to the local area and event(s) being supported. Seminars are led by US Sailing Certified Moderators who assist Host Organizations in planning and delivering quality presentations. Attendees receive a US Sailing Certificate of Attendance, valid for five years, that meets the training requirements of most races conducted in the US.

3. Safety At Sea Seminar – Practical, Hands-On Training Seminars

An optional second day of training includes theory review & exam plus in-the-water exercises with and without lifejackets and in-the-water inflation & boarding of a liferaft including righting an overturned raft. Additional in-the-water drills are held with throw ropes, Lifeslings, signal mirrors and other signaling devices. Hypothermia is described and “keep warm” exercises practied. Students learn to use fire extinguishers, send emercency communications, including MAYDAY messages and EPIRB deployment and fire all types of flares. Conducted by USCG Certified instructors following a US-modified ISAF curriculum.  The Syllabus is here for your reference


  • Issued to all who attend both Safety at Sea Theoretical and Hands-On Training Sessions and pass written exam, in the same calendar year.
  • Valid for five years
  • Required by some US races and most Category 1 and 2 races held outside the US
  • Issued by ISAF Member National Authority (NMA) who is the Offshore Director, US SAILING Association (


Are you looking for a US SAILING Safety at Sea Seminar in your area? Request or download US Sailing SAS Seminar Planning Guide on how you can host and run a professional quality Safety-at-Sea Seminar. Seminar Hosts accept the responsibility of organizing and running these seminars. The comprehensive Planning Guide includes an Organizers Agreement (contract) for the host organization to sign, insuring a consistent standard of excellence. A  sample budget planning spreadsheet is posted for your reference.