Beginners Class

World Sailing Safety and Sea Survival

Our Instructor Lisa and one of our students practising

SSS Certificate

The certificate awarded meets the eligibility requirements of section 6.01 of the World Sailing Offshore Special Regulations for Category 0, 1 and some Category 2 offshore races.

Course Synopsis

This course assists owners and/or their representatives to understand their responsibilities, and helps skippers and crew develop and practice strategies and procedures to prevent and address emergencies at sea. The course was developed by Australian Sailing (AS) to provide survival training for Offshore Sailors. It is mandatory for 50% of crew in Category 1 Offshore Races and is highly recommended for sailors in Category 2 events. Blue water cruisers will also benefit greatly from the training. If you are considering competing in any Category 1 or 2 yacht races, you should consider this course as a standard component of your on-going skills development.

“The safety of a boat and her crew is the sole and inescapable responsibility of the owner, or owner’s representative who must do their best to ensure that the boat is fully found, thoroughly seaworthy and manned by an experienced crew who are physically fit to face bad weather. He must be satisfied as to the soundness of hull, spars, rigging, sails and all gear. He must ensure that all safety equipment is properly maintained and stowed and that the crew know where it is kept and how it is to be used.”

AS Special Regulations, Addendum A.1, Section 1, Regulation 1.02 (a) OWNER’S RESPONSIBILITY.

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What you will learn: General

  • To assist offshore skippers and crews in developing awareness of respective responsibilities.
  • To offer and discuss practical strategies for coping with emergencies at sea.
  • To familiarize skippers and crews with safety and emergency equipment, its purpose, deployment, and use.
  • The Safety and Sea Survival course is a practical and theoretical course which should be completed over a period of at least 16 hours (2 full days).
  • The course is taught by Pacific Sailing School's qualified instructors.
  • All course participants undergo both theory and practical assessment. You will need to show your skill or ``competence`` in certain practical aspects of the syllabus as well as pass a written theory examination.

Syllabus Overview

  • Introduction
  • Causes of Marine Emergencies
  • Principles of Survival
  • Principles of survival at sea for the boat and crew
  • General precautions
  • General information
  • Damage Prevention
  • Planning
  • Equipment
  • Crew briefs
  • Emergency instructions and standard procedures
  • Care and maintenance of safety equipment
  • Personal Lifesaving Appliances
  • Lifebuoys
  • PFDs
  • Harnesses and Tethers
  • Personal clothing
  • Personal EPIRBs
  • Personal lights/strobes
  • Other items
  • Areas of Risk and Emergencies
  • Preparation for rough weather
  • Rough and severe weather strategies including:
  • Boat handling
  • Damage prevention, control and repair
  • Assessment options
  • Crew routines
  • Damage prevention, control and repair
  • Damage prevention, control and repair
  • Damage prevention, control and repair
  • Use of storm equipment including:
  • Drogues
  • Storm sails
  • Galley operations
  • Emergencies and strategies to address:
  • Disabled vessel/severe damage
  • Loss of mast
  • Loss of rudder/steering
  • Loss of keel
  • Fire
  • Man overboard
  • Flooding
  • Capsize/knock-down
  • Decision to abandon ship as last resort
  • Giving assistance to other craft
  • Abandoning Ship (Liferafts) - Preparation & planning for ``The Last Resort``
  • Decision to abandon ship as last resort
  • Decision to abandon ship as last resort
  • Personal preparation (including donning of PFD, clothing, harness)
  • Crew duties - Procedures and responsibilities
  • Grab bags and extra items
  • Launching of survival craft
  • Boarding survival craft from vessel and water
  • Entering the water wearing a PFD
  • Survival techniques in the water
  • Life raft construction, function, standards, and recommended equipment
  • Initial actions upon on boarding life raft
  • Deployment of drogue
  • Assisting injured persons and survivors into the liferaft
  • Deploying EPIRB
  • Dangers to survivors
  • Righting an inverted liferaft
  • Best use of liferaft facilities
  • Righting an inverted liferaft
  • Manoeuvring liferaft
  • Need to maintain watch
  • Psychology of survival
  • Physiology of survival
  • Search and Rescue authorities and agencies
  • Communications -air rescue, sea rescue
  • Need to assist rescue -flares, warnings about their use, EPIRBs, distress signals, smoke, communication
  • Search procedures and patterns
  • Overhead rescue from vessel/raft/water
  • Rescue by surface vessels
  • Use of Pyrotechnics
  • Types and purposes
  • Firing/ignition mechanisms
  • Weather Forecasts and Meteorology
  • Hazards & dangers of use
  • Weather Forecasts and Meteorology
  • Sources of weather forecasts
  • Terms and definitions used in forecasts
  • Wind & sea state scales
  • Weather systems and sea conditions
  • Instruments for onboard observation -barometer
  • Visual monitoring of atmospheric changes and sea state for local forecasting
  • Fire Prevention & Fire Fighting
  • Fire Theory
  • Prevention
  • Equipment - fire extinguishers, fire blankets, serviced, tested, maintained
  • Methods
  • Emergency Communications
  • Marine Radio Certificate -2 members of crew
  • VHF -listening watch, handhelds
  • Satcom
  • First Aid and Early Management of Injury or Illness
  • Senior First Aid -2 members of crew
  • Injury or illness
  • Hypothermia
  • Seasickness
  • Medical assistance -medical kit, extra medication, waterproof containers
  • Duty of Care
  • Duty of Care of Owners/Skippers
  • Occupational Health and Safety Legislation
  • Employee/employer responsibilities
  • Importance of keeping records
  • Training and periodic practice - long overnight races in preparation

2.5 years ago I moved to Australia from the UK on my own. As 'Billy no mates' (as I left friends and family behind), I spent my first full day in Australia at a sailing lesson Pacific Sailing School . I had lessons, did my dayskipper course, various boat deliveries, raced on as many days of the week as possible whilst still being able to earn a living, with the goal of learning to sail as fast as possible, and working towards doing the #rolexsydneyhobart race, one of the world's most famous offshore races. Not only have I fulfilled a dream, but we won on phs handicap, came third out of all non professional crews (Corinthians), and to top it off I won 'Best on Boat'. Literally couldn't be happier!! 😍🎉
All of this wouldn't have been possible without my Aussie sailing family and friends through the advice, support, introductions, and generally making sailing so much fun. Thank you!! 😘 

FrancescaStarted sailing with PSS in 2016

-- World Sailing Safety and Sea Survival Course Review --

"Myself and the crew of the Winning Appliances completed the World Sailing Safety and Sea Survival course prior to this year’s Sydney to Hobart race. Terry was highly professional and the course was extremely valuable, as it helped everyone to understand their responsibilities and practice strategies and procedures to prevent and address emergencies at sea. I would highly recommend this course and Terry Wise to anyone considering doing an offshore race"

John WinningCEO of Winning Appliances Group

We wish to offer much appreciation for your kindness in going above and beyond in providing a young Canadian boy (that didn't know a soul in Sydney) a safe, happy environment for him to fulfil a challenging dream. Your encouragement and his determination allowed him to achieve an unbelievable accreditation. We are so, so proud of him and grateful to you!

Betty KelloughMother of Youngest Yacht Master in Australia