Safety Program

Safety Plan – Pender Island Junior Sailing

Version 1.4 (V 1.2 Updated as at August 17, 2014 – V 1.3 Updated as at October 15, 2014 – V 1.4 Updated as at March 18, 2017)

Table of Contents

  1. Abbreviated Action Summary
  2. Registration Documentation
  3. Participant Orientation
  4. Instructor Certification
  5. Board/Safety Member Participation
  6. Risk Assessment
  7. On Water Issues
  8. Injury Processing – PFD – Clothing – Equipment – Weather – Designated Sailing Area
  9. On Land Safety Issues
  10. Rigging of Boats – First Aid Kit – Key Contact Numbers – Student Medical Info – Electronics
  11. Participant Requirements
  12. End-of- Day Issues Reflection
  13. Future Safety Improvements


Abbreviated Action Summary

Dial 911 for emergency support. State “This is the Pender Island Junior Sailing Club. My name is xxxxxx. We are located on the beach at the bottom of Hamilton Road at the head of Browning Harbour on North Pender. We require emergency services support for xxxx”.

The below duties may vary per circumstances. The in-charge Board member will Assign

1) a Board Member to

a) handle outside communications,

b) inform parents/guardians, and

c) keep Oak Road free of boat launchings to facilitate emergency crew access.

2) a Board Member to

a) communicate with instructors,

b) obtain first aid kit/blankets and forward to staff on water, and

c) liaise with instructor using VHF channel 73

3) One or more additional beach support persons to

a) assist with injured person(s), and

b) handle on-water students’ return to shore.

Assist students or parents showing signs of stress. Remain calm and reassuring. Once emergency crews arrive, summarize situation and provide any support logistics requested.

After injured person is attended to and under medical supervision, secure boats on beach and provide support to students. Remain on site until all students have been picked up by guardians. Provide synopsis to parents. At end of day, return boats to stalls.

Registration Documents

The operating processes of the Pender Island Junior Sailing Association are updated on the club web site at  All participants are required to follow the registration process outlined on the site including promptly furnishing relevant documents regarding contact and relevant health information, and parent or guardian approvals. Items and dates noted in the Registration section of the website shall be considered the official dates/documents in case of any inconsistency with other published materials.

Participants will register by email with our Registrar Allyson Coffey ( There are two registration dates: April 1st and after for returning students and other family members; May 1st and after for new participants. Emails must be received after 8:00 Pacific Time on the two dates. Emails before 8 am will be returned if the course is full on the first day of registration. Courses can fill up quickly. The website will show the returning registration numbers in each course before the May 1st date. Verbal registrations will NOT be accepted in lieu of the email process. We will retain the completed registration forms at the clubhouse for the information of the Directors in charge each week.

Please note block bookings of unrelated participants will not be accepted. Families may register one unrelated person. The initial email registration can be done by any responsible person e.g. a grand-parent.

Participant Orientation

Parents, guardians or adult students will receive confirmation and related supporting information by email. The email from the Registrar will be the primary document confirming registration, and should therefore be retained. The materials will include as a minimum:

1. Confirmation of acceptance which stipulates the date of the course.

2. Safety and behavioral expectations.

3. Process for payment or eventual refund in case of pre-notified non-attendance.

Courses last 5 days. The morning of the Monday session will provide general information with students and parents or guardians to review all material and reinforce safety processes and procedures. As necessary, elements of this review will be repeated on subsequent days.

Instructor Certification

On water instructors are sourced through Sail Canada, our national governing body. All instructors are certified by Sail Canada to teach the CANSail levels 1, 2, 3  and 4 courses. This certification includes quality assurance of instructor technical knowledge and student assessments. Instructors are also trained in basic first aid for on-water emergencies. Instructors are periodically recertified by Sail Canada, including on-site visits to our Association.

Board Member Participation

Pender Island Junior Sailing Association Board Members serve as the club’s safety committee. They attend regular board meetings and are active participants in managing the club sailing program. This includes directly sharing safety issues with participants while attending events at the clubhouse on Browning harbour.

The Board – led by our Past Commodore and Current Safety Officer – actively discusses safety issues and will determine and undertake preventive measures as they arise during sailing operations. Board members will also evaluate parent proposals regarding safety concerns.

When boats are on the water at least one Director will act as “Eyes on the Water” to ensure all vessels are safe.

Risk Assessment

The sailing environment provides unique situations for our participants. This safety plan does NOT focus on items with a remote likelihood of happening. Plans addressing catastrophic fires, floods and earthquakes already exist with various government agencies. To the extent possible, the club will follow directives as issued by government agencies in those circumstances.

This safety plan focuses on issues under the control of participants. Based on past experience, the following items are considered most likely to reoccur over the summer. The relative rankings will be evaluated annually to determine any changes/additions which should be addressed. Any of the below- noted issues will be discussed at the following morning’s group meeting to avoid a recurrence.

Key issues for on-water participants:

a) Boom Strike to Head [Frequency: weekly]

The Instructor will assess severity and advise club shore support by VHF using channel 73. Depending on the severity, the individual will be relayed to shore in a motorized boat or by the remaining crew. Cold compresses will be applied to contain swelling at which point further medical intervention may be undertaken. Shore support will check for concussion symptoms and transport individuals to the medical clinic before authorizing a return to active sailing.

b) Forgotten PFD, Whistles [Frequency: weekly]

All participants should visually verify that fellow sailors are wearing their PFD’s with a whistle attached. Near-shore omissions will result in immediate return of that vessel to the beach.

Delayed oversights will be replenished from spare PFD’s and/or whistles carried in the safety boat. Note: FJ boats (course levels 1 & 2) are also required to carry bailers and emergency paddles which must be verified by all participants before leaving the beach.

c) Collision [Frequency: Very rare for moored vessels, twice per week between club boats)

A designated sail training area will be outlined with high visibility buoys. This has reduced the number of moored vessels in proximity to our primary teaching area. Students have also been advised on rules of the road and the need to pass moored vessels on the leeward side.

Where collisions are unavoidable, we have emphasized the need to avoid fending-off with their hands as fingers can be crushed. In cases of glancing collisions between club boats, vessels are assessed for worthiness and students checked for any personal pain.

Where club boats strike a third party boat, Board members will discuss liability with owners and advise our insurance companies of the collision. Any repair negotiations will be effected through our insurance brokers and the secretary of the PIRAHA community insurance agency.

d) Mild Sunstroke and Sunburn [Frequency: weekly]

Students should apply protective sunscreen, and wear appropriate clothing including hats while on the water. Regular hydration and food consumption will also be scheduled. Where incidents of excessive exposure occur, the on-water instructor will advise shore support and the student will be conveyed to shore. Shade, rehydration and possible cooling using water soaked cloths will be started. If necessary the individual will be driven to the medical clinic.

e) Allergic Reaction [Frequency: Bites are weekly, allergic reactions are rare in any season]

It is critical that sailors with allergies come equipped with appropriate antidotes and that the Director in charge is advised at the beginning of the course. We recommend fanny packs with sealed dosages (including Epi-Pens) for on water application if necessary.

Pender is noted for wasp nests throughout the island which we often find and destroy. In the rare case of a sting, Benadryl tablets and an EPI-Pen are stored in the First Aid box on the club house rear wall shelf. Board members have been instructed in its use and will determine application based on the individual’s reaction to any sting.

The Club holds an end of week BBQ and major sail to Mortimer Spit. We offer gluten-free foods and endeavour to accommodate food allergies which should be identified in the health information section of the registration document. This popular event is well attended by parents, guardians, or other family members. We suggest children with food allergies have parents, guardians or other responsible adult present.

f) Unplanned Capsize [Frequency: infrequent for Levels 1 and 2 – frequent for Levels 3  4]

Students are taught righting processes as part of their curriculum. This is conducted in stable conditions under the auspices of the instructor. Occasionally, boats will unintentionally capsize.

Shore Support will notify the instructor using VHF channel 73 and sound the alarm horn for all capsizes. The instructor will assist people in the water to right overturned sailboats and, if necessary, a tow to shore.

Club sail training hours of operation coincide with the Pender Island Medical Clinic service periods. We reserve the right to seek medical treatment. Non-BC residents should be prepared for the possible financial implications of such services.

On Water Issues

Injury Processing

Individuals may be incapacitated while on the water. All serious accidents must be communicated to shore support using VHF channel 73. Shore support will commence emergency land notifications including 911 and if necessary notifying our local RC Marine Search & Rescue craft located in the vicinity.

At least one Board Member shall have a cell phone.

The emergency claxon will sound in 5 bursts whenever all student boats must return to shore immediately.

Shore support will ensure the access area is cleared for arrival of emergency services. Depending on the situation, the support boats will be deployed to assist the injured person or accompany remaining boats to shore.

The individual’s registration document (held in the clubhouse) will be scrutinized and key contacts will be called and supplied with known relevant information.

Once the injured person has been tended to by qualified emergency personnel, shore support will assist students who may be upset, and secure the boats, and commence a write-up of events.

All serious injuries will require detailed documentation outlining the situation, actions taken and timeline for interventions.

Personal Flotation Devices

The need to wear lifejackets is continuously stressed with all students. Vests are supplied by the club and may be supplemented by individuals using their own life jackets. All vests must be Canadian certified to Coast Guard standards. All vests will have whistles, the use of which will be limited to emergency situations. PFD’s must be worn fully buckled when on the water. All crew members will bear a responsibility to ensure every individual abides by this rule. The PFDs should NOT be the kind that auto-inflate upon contact with the water as this is inevitable in a small boat. Note that swimming while wearing a PFD and capsizing activities are course requirements.

Near-shore departures without a PFD/whistle will result in a return to shore to acquire a unit. In a delayed exposure situation, the instructor will advise shore support by VHF channel 73 and immediately provide a spare unit held in the instructor boat.


July and August on Pender Island are generally pleasant with moderate winds and sunny skies. Nevertheless, changes can rapidly occur and students should be prepared for weather deterioration.

On sunny days, regularly applied sunscreen, water tolerant shoes and a hat are minimum requirements.

Sun glasses and gloves are also desirable along with a change of clothes given the marine environment.

Cooler temperatures with rain will require appropriate modifications to ensure students remain warm and can face sustained time on the water. A daily weather check is important before leaving the house.


The sailing school is equipped with 5 Lasers, 2 double-person Lasers, one Byte, and 4 Flying Juniors. The school has 2 motorized (and a third non-motorized) support boats identified as “Red One” and “Red Two” for VHF communication.

School support boats will only be refuelled and piloted by instructors, Board Members and beach support adults familiar with boats.

No student-manned boat may leave the beach area until the main instructor boat is underway. Only once this vessel is in position will other boats leave. Depending on student proficiency, FJ departures may initially be assisted by Board members. Our intent is to ensure students can handle this challenge by mid-week.

As a precautionary measure, a backup support boat will also be prepared for launch.Our goal is to have this unit launched within minutes of any notification.

The Junior Sailing program co-mingles CanSail Level 1 and 2 students to ensure a balance of competencies in each boat. Where necessary, we may add a Board Member to stabilize and provide sailor feedback on initial sorties. The latter is only expected to happen on the initial day and is on an exception basis.

All boats will be rigged and de-rigged by students. Board Members will support these efforts and verify rigging details as well as the loading of supplementary safety devices such as bailers and paddles.


Browning Bay is renowned for stable sailing conditions with a gentle onshore breeze and very little current. The summer months are generally sunny, with 5-10 knots winds and very little precipitation.

Thunderstorms are a rarity. Nevertheless, depending on conditions and our students’ skill levels, we may decide to replace water time with land based teaching. This will be done with an eye to safety and your understanding is appreciated.

Designated Sailing Area

In order to minimize moored obstacles, the club deploys high visibility buoys to delineate our main sail training area. This generally encapsulates the first 250 feet from the shoreline near the club house.

As students gain skills, they will sail outside these boundaries accompanied by an instructor in a separate vessel. Their horizon will increase with the final day including a trip to Mortimer Spit (accompanied by the support boats) for a celebratory BBQ.

Junior sailors are not authorized to sail beyond Mortimer Spit, irrespective of wind conditions as this is considered the limit for sighting and deployment in case of emergencies. Advanced sailors (Levels 3 and 4) are permitted to group sail beyond Mortimer when accompanied by an instructor boat. Under no circumstances will any boats sail outside of Browning Harbour.

On Land Issues

Rigging of Boats

Students are responsible for boat rigging and take-down at the end of the day. To minimize issues, all boats will be hand-trailered to the beach for rigging. Boats will be moved into the water and trailers returned to the top of the beach. Boats must be turned 180 degrees and beached with the bow pointed into the wind. All boats will be head-to- wind before commencing rigging in order to simplify sail hoisting and ease launching.

First Aid Kit

A comprehensive kit is located on the rear shelf of the club house. Access is generally limited to Board Members, several of whom have medical experience. The kit must be returned to this location and is verified every month to ensure necessary materials are on hand.

Key Contact Numbers

Emergency services should be contacted using 911. Board Members will have at least one mobile phone for emergency calls. Dialling 911 ensures officials are notified and that adequate resources are directed to our issue. Only resort to local services (police/fire/medical etc.) after the 911 call is completed. It is important to assign one person to remain with the phone to provide details as requested by the 911 coordinator.

Medical Information

Student medical records and contact phone numbers are maintained in a black binder in the club house. The binder is on the work platform, adjacent to the rudders deck. While initially tendered in May, this info is normally updated before the Monday morning of of each course.


Sailing requires continuous vigilance for wind shifts by the entire boat team. There is a zero tolerance policy to electronic equipment in the boats and we generally discourage mobile devices when on shore.

Please leave your phones at home and limit camera action to the beach.

Participant Requirements

Ocean waters can be dangerous and we expect all participants will ensure that safety processes are followed to the best of their ability. We also realize that winds are fickle and students are learning the basics of boat handling.

If you have questions and concerns, please feel free to speak to the instructor or any Board Member.

Your safety remains a top concern and anything you share will be discussed and reviewed at the Board level in very short order (usually the same day).

End of Day/Week Reflection

Any safety issues arising during the course of the day shall be informally discussed among the attending Board Members and coaches. Issues will be noted in a log and additional safety measures may be adopted where appropriate. The issue and planned action will be discussed with students, instructors and parents the following morning before launch.

An informal session with Board Members and volunteer helpers is held at the end of each training week.

Among other items, safety issues will be discussed and a review of mitigating action completed. These will be put into place for the following week of training.

A formal Board meeting will review issues and preventive measures when necessary.

Future Safety Improvements

Safety is a continuous process requiring vigilance and adaptation. The Board is committed to making the necessary changes to reduce risk for our students. During the past year we have implemented the following safety improvements.

Implemented in Calendar 2014

  • Acquired a 2nd support boat with motor propulsion. The boat serves as a back-up unit for emergencies and supports Laser sailors.
  • Obtained high visibility buoys to mark the main teaching area. Our objective is to reduce the number of moored vessels in a Designated Sailing area.
  • Developed an easy to understand Safety Plan to be shared with Instructors and Board Members.
  • Acquired VHF radios and agreed communication protocol.
  • Developed Board/Safety Attendance Calendar.
  • Sent all Board Members for VHF certification.

Implemented for Calendar 2015

  • Tested replacing aluminum booms with plasticized material to reduce the impact of potential strikes. (This item was deemed impractical and will not be adopted.)
  • Extended the Designated Sailing Area with further buoys and develop usage protocol.
  • Enhanced the written Safety Plan and pro-actively shared with students and guardians.
  • Implemented corrective process to ensure PFD’s availability on the water if forgotten.
  • Revisited the boat rigging process to reduce potential boom swings and potential sail snags.
  • Acquired caps to easily identify Board Members on duty.

Implemented for Calendar 2016

  • Acquired an additional support boat.
  • Updated student life vest inventory with new PFD’s and whistles.
  • Acquired caps to identify beach support persons.
  • Improved documentation detailing Director and Volunteer duties.

Implemented for Calendar 2017

  • Bought a more powerful marine engine for 2nd support boat (currently have 3 support boats).
  • Developed new registration form to obtain all student information before the start of a course.
  • Acquired another Laser II and Byte for the Level 3 and 4 courses.
  • Updated the safety plan.


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