US Sailing takes the lead in researching best practices in safety procedures, protocol and equipment
Our Safety at Sea experts set high standards for the most authoritative and proven methods for keeping sailors safer while they enjoy the sport
Countless hours of research conducted by our dedicated volunteers have allowed US Sailing to provide instructional materials, publications, courses and seminars that are made available to all interested sailors. These educational opportunities include our widely popular Safety at Sea Courses.
SER and World Sailing Offshore Special Regulations
Offshore racing has two choices today for mandatory safety equipment carriage and usage knowledge. The first is the Safety Equipment Requirements (SER) which is easy to read, easy to adapt for local sailing conditions by Organizing Authorities, and removes references to difficult to attain books. The other choice is the World Sailing Offshore Special Regulations, including US Sailing Prescriptions, which is a much more technical document.
Safety at Sea Courses
US Sailing offers various Safety at Sea Courses aimed at preparing sailors for offshore sailing conditions:
- Safety at Sea: Coastal Courses (online or in-person) are typically used for coastal races and near-shore cruising.
- Safety at Sea: Offshore Courses (online or in-person) for participants in offshore races, long coastal races, and long-distance cruising.
- International Offshore Safety at Sea with Hands-On Training that meets World Sailing Guidelines for Personal Survival is typically required for long-distance and international races, blue water cruisers, and anyone wanting top-of-the-line safety training.
Hanson Rescue Awards
Recognizing heroes who make rescue at sea is accomplished with the Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal program. The program also provides valuable insight into what works, and what doesn’t work, in real life experiences. This information is fed back into all aspects of what we learn and how we incorporate this into the safety improvements for sailors.
US Sailing’s Safety at Sea Committee has conducted several independent reviews of sailing accidents and keeps an archive of safety equipment tests. These safety reports have been used to provide the latest updates and recommendations for best practices in safety equipment, rescue procedures and emergency planning.
Helmet use in the U.S.
US Sailing has been collecting and reviewing data and information on severe brain injuries in competitive and recreational sailing. Similar to modern American football and other sports at risk for impact to the head, this topic has been a growing concern for sailing that requires an educated approach. The routine use of helmets in sailing has been in question for years and now, due to the increasing frequency of such injuries, there has been a building movement to provide more education and resources on helmet use.
Seamanship – Best Practice
The practice of safety at sea has focused on prevention, practices and equipment to keep sailors safe. Seamanship which is a broader base of knowledge that includes skills of operation, navigation, management and maintenance of a vessel is equally important to safety.
The United States Olympic Committee developed this SafeSport program to address physical and sexual harassment of athletes.
Your event can help build the knowledge base of real life data to help improve safety in the future. If you would add a requirement that any boat that withdraws from your race on the water must complete this online form within two weeks of their withdrawal, your event can contribute to a safer future.
Traveling with Your Inflatable PFD
September 11, 2001 changed the way that you can travel with an inflatable PFD. This explains how to travel safely and how to comply with our country's laws.