An Introduction to Safety Duty

Safety cover is an integral part of the activities at Swanage Sailing Club.

Members who race regularly are required to join a safety team and take part in safety duty for races, and races generally happen on Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings with odd Saturdays for special races.

We also encourage non-racing members to join in on safety duty.

Why do safety?

Members are encouraged to join safety teams for a number of reasons. the obvious is that it lets us run races which is fun for everybody but there are other benefits too:

  • It’s a pleasurable thing to be on a boat in or out of Swanage bay in itself
  • You can be trained up to become RIB drivers; more experience, more fun, more opportunities to join in, e.g. to help out with junior or adult training
  • Learn more about racing by watching and being actively involved in running them
  • Learn more about sailing by watching races close up


What is involved with safety duty?


Safety cover for races has a few roles; there’s the Team Leader, RIB driver, crew, race scorer and beachmaster.

The Team Leader runs the race, the RIB team is responsible for laying and collecting marks and ensuring race safety.

Scorers sit on the safety boat taking boat times, and operate the race flags and the beachmaster remains on the clubhouse balcony monitoring and assisting from the shore as needed.

The race results also get entered into the race computer in the committee room after races too.

What will I have to do?

If you are completely new to safety cover then you would be ‘crew’ being either on a RIB or helping to score the race from the committee boat. Don’t worry, RIB drivers and Team leads will give you full instructions and get you going. All team members help prep the RIBs for the race and also put everything way again afterwards. Also have a look at the safety training video to see what is involved.

What gear do I need?

For all roles other than beachmaster, you will need either wetsuit & base layers as appropriate or drysuit, and buoyancy aid. Early in the season, it can be cold so dress warmly.


What is involved timewise?

There are two sets of safety teams; the Weekend and Thursday night teams and we welcome people to join either or preferably both teams. Have a look at the sailing programme filtering by safety team to get a feel for the days involved. Generally Thursday teams do three a year and weekend teams, five a year.


What if I am not so agile or strong?

Don’t worry, the commitee boat and beach master roles are non physical and suitable for anybody.

What if I can’t make a day?

We use a system called Dutyman for managing all types of duties. If you can’t make a day or evening, simply request a swap to transfer your duty to another day.