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Essential Safety Training

Before you get absorbed into the racing season, now is a great time to check if your Sea Survial and ISAF Offshore Safety certifcates are in date and consider what safety training you need to undertake.

RYA Sea Survival Course

Any sailor - from RYA Yachtmaster candidates, to weekend pleasure sailors to hardened offshore racers should definitely undertake the RYA Sea Survival Training. Many people are unaware that these certificates are only valid for 5 years - but as new technologies emerge, so the safety training also develops.  

The RYA Sea Survival course covers topics such as search and rescue patterns, AIS, flares, EPIRBS and of course includes a swimming pool session where you realise just how important a crotch strap is on your lifejackets (as it rides up around your ears) and just how unpleasant it is to sit in a liferaft even just briefly, and therefore how important it is to ensure you don't end up in that situation!

Having the right safety equipment on board is only half the battle - you must also be confident in knowing how to use it under pressure when your life depends upon getting it right first time.

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ISAF Offshore Safety Course.

The ISAF Offshore safety course is a 2-day course and includes the RYA Sea Survival Course. If you already hold a valid Sea Survival Certificate, you can do a 1-day ISAF upgrade. Please note however, that the ISAF Offshore Safety certificate is only valid whilst your Sea Survival ticket is also valid.

In addition to the Sea Survival syllabus the ISAF Offshore Safety course includes a practical session on a boat rigging storm sails, a live flare demo where you can actually let off a hand-held flare (subject to coastguard approval) as well as a classroom session discussing topics such as weather forecasting, avoiding bad weather, preparation for adverse conditions and what measures you can do to avoid a disaster.

For anyone racing offshore, the ISAF special offshore regulations for races such as the ROLEX Fastnet and ROLEX Middle Sea Race require that a percentage of crew are holders of a valid ISAF Offshore Safety Certificate, so if you are looking at a Fastnet 2013 - get yours done before the rush in June!  

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