Junior Safety-at-Sea

Junior Safety-at-Sea is a one-day introduction to big boat sailing for teenage junior sailors who have sailing experience in small boats.

The junior sailors hear presentations from experienced adult sailors and practice with coaches and instructors aboard cruising and racing boats in the 30 to 50 foot range. In partnership with US Sailing, and inspired by safety programs for ocean racers, Junior Safety-at-Sea stresses fun, hands-on practice, communication, teamwork and the anticipation of trouble before it happens.

Day-long sessions include intensive on-the-water practice of skills such as crew overboard recovery with onshore lectures and demonstrations. For young sailors with little or no big boat experience, Junior Safety-at-Sea provides an exciting and confidence-building introduction to the thrill of big boat sailing. This program works well in conjunction with the Junior Big Boat Sailing program offered by US Sailing


  1. Program overview – Includes information about safety skills learned, course description and topics included.
  2. Junior Safety-at-Sea curriculum - Developed over many years by Storm Trysail members, it includes core elements that every sailor should know, as well as optional modules that allow the program to be adapted to meet the specific needs of local organizations.
  3. Junior Safety at Sea Club Self-Assessment – Identify the key resources needed before you get started and what kind of assistance you may need from US Sailing and Storm Trysail Foundation.
  4. Junior Twilight Racing – An event to use following the Junior Safety-at-Sea event.

Program History

Most young sailors initially learn their skills in small boats and only migrate to larger vessels when they are much older. Big boat sailing provides a different kind and valuable kind of sailing experience. Especially for youngsters who may not have the strength required to easily overcome the loads encountered, big boat sailing places a premium on teamwork, preparation and knowing one’s equipment.

Since 1997, the Storm Trysail Foundation’s (STF) Junior Safety-at-Sea Seminars have provided young sailors (ages 12 to 20) an opportunity to experience the excitement of big boat sailing while simultaneously providing them safety training that will last a lifetime, regardless of what kind of sailing they choose to pursue. To date, the program has trained more than 4,000 youth and is currently held at 8 sites nationally. These popular one-day programs focus on preparation, planning, and practice of skills learned while combining engaging classroom sessions, dockside demonstrations, and on-the-water activities to keep participants having fun. The program has resulted in one documented life saved, and other juniors who have gone through the program tell us that they have used the safety skills learned in actual emergency situations.

In 2011, STF and US Sailing joined efforts to expand the program and to ensure the program’s curriculum is well-integrated with other junior and safety training programs offered. Seminars are initiated by local organizers―typically an individual club or set of clubs. The curriculum presented includes core subjects carefully developed over many years by exceptionally experienced ocean sailors to teach essential safety skill and student population. STF can help in this process, providing a library of optional topics to draw from, including navigation, medical preparation, fire suppression, emergency boat repair, and many more. According to program creator Richard du Moulin, “We want to make this program accessible and easy for people who have never done this before…If there is a strong interest in a given place, we can get some Storm Trysail Club members to help set up the lesson plan, work with them as mentors and possibly help with seed funding, if needed.”s all sailors should know. This curriculum is constantly being updated and improved. Equally important, local organizers are able to add additional subject modules. They can also adapt dockside demonstrations and on-the-water activities to meet their own needs, resources,

In 2012, the Junior Safety-at-Sea Program expanded to several new sites, including Shelter Island, NY; Boston, MA; and Stonington, CT. As current program director Kelly Robinson explains, “This expansion has allowed us to serve a much more diverse group of young sailors. This year’s program held at Boston’s Community Boating was our first program to be held completely outside a traditional yacht club setting, and our fastest growing student group is the Sea Scouts. It’s really exciting!”

Click here for STF's Junior Safety-At-Sea Schedule.

STF was integral in assisting US Sailing development of its Online Offshore Safety at Sea course.  We are forever grateful for their assistance.

For more information, to participate in an existing program, or to offer your own seminar, contact:

Storm Trysail Foundation
914-834-8857 /
or visit the Storm Trysail Foundation website.