US Sailing Approves Policy Changes to Safety at Sea Training

Online International Safety at Sea Course Open for Registration at Discount Rate

safety at seaBRISTOL, R.I. (April 23, 2020) – The US Sailing Offshore Committee and US Sailing Safety at Sea Sub-Committee have approved the following policy changes to Safety at Sea training.

Starting on January 1, 2021:

  • The “Offshore Safety at Sea Certificate” may be earned by either completing Online Safety at Sea units 1-15 or attending a one-day in-person Offshore Safety at Sea course and completing Online International Safety at Sea units 11-15. If units 11-15 are completed in 2020, only units 1-10 will need completion in 2021. A passing grade for Online International will generate a “Proof of Completion” which will be uploaded to US Sailing’s course “Online Lookup” under the sub-heading Safety at Sea International 5-Chapter.
  • The “International Offshore Safety at Sea Certificate” that meets World Sailing guidelines for safety and personal survival may be earned by either:
      • Completing Online units 1-15 or attending an in-person Offshore Safety at Sea one-day course and  attending a one-day Hands-On Course, or
      • Attending a two-day In-person International Offshore Safety at Sea course, including Hands-On.

“With the completion of these final five online units, we now include all 15 training topics required by World Sailing into our certificate training program,” said Sally Lindsay Honey, Chair of the US Sailing Safety at Sea Committee. “Covering this suite of topics was part of the original plan when we printed our safety training book, Safety at Sea, A Guide to Safety Under Sail and Personal Survival. This spring, we made a major push to complete the final five in order to fill the training gap left by the current cancellations of in-person safety seminars. The extra time at home should allow sailors to advance safety training and start on future requirements. We are confident the increased knowledge will make sailors safer on the water.”

For the remainder of 2020, the current process of acquiring a Safety at Sea certificate remains unchanged. However, the final five Online International Safety at Sea Units (11-15) are available to anyone for special introductory pricing through May 31, 2020. Again, these final five Online International Units will be required starting in January 2021.

For anyone who completed an Offshore Safety at Sea Course in 2019 or 2020, the deadline for taking a Hands-On course to acquire an International Offshore Safety at Sea certificate has been extended through December 31, 2021.

If you have any questions as to what safety training requirements will be in effect for races that you plan on participating in 2020 or 2021, please check the NOR for the event or contact the Race Organizers for more information.

The US Sailing Offshore and Safety at Sea Committees are composed of key volunteers supported by US Sailing staff. These committees continue to provide leadership in safety training for sailors who cruise and race offshore, ensuring that education options are available to all sailors even in these unprecedented times. These final five Safety at Sea online units will help prepare sailors for the challenging conditions and experiences they may face offshore.

If there are any questions about the validity of certificates due to in-person seminar cancellations in 2020 or 2021, US Sailing will be accommodating on a case by case basis. Contact Betsy Alison or Karen Davidson at

Click to learn more and register to take the International Online Safety at Sea Course.

About the International Safety at Sea Online Course
Whether you are an offshore racer or a distance cruiser, the newly released International Safety at Sea Online Course will help keep you safe and prepared while sailing offshore. This course (Units 11-15) completes the suite of US Sailing Online Safety at Sea courses. Though this course is not currently required for US Sailing Sanctioned Safety at Sea training, it is complementary to the Hands-On Only course and will help prepare any sailor who plans on taking the Safety at Sea Hands-On Course for the International Offshore Safety at Sea Certificate.

The five topics covered in the International Safety at Sea Online Course:

  • Fire Safety
  • Heavy Weather
  • Storm Sails
  • Damage Control
  • Life Raft and Survival Techniques

Offshore Special Regulations
When combined with the ten topics covered in the Online Offshore Safety at Sea Course, these final five units complete the full complement of Training Topics required by World Sailing’s Offshore Special Regulations (OSR) Section 6. Once you have completed the suite of online courses, you will need to take an in-person Hands-On Only course to receive an International Safety at Sea Certificate that meets World Sailing Guidelines for Safety and Personal Survival.

About US Sailing
The United States Sailing Association (US Sailing), the national governing body for sailing, provides leadership, integrity, and advancement for the sport in the United States. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Bristol, Rhode Island, US Sailing is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. US Sailing offers training and education programs for instructors and race officials, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, issues offshore rating certificates, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country, including National Championships and the US Sailing Team. For more information, please visit