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The Covid-19 Pandemic has made changes necessary in our Safety Boat procedures. For any use of the safety boats until further notice this guidance should be followed :

The first stage of mitigation against Covid-19 is to limit how often the services of a safety boat are required.

  • Events being supported by a safety boat should be restricted to windspeeds of F4 and less - although light winds should also be avoided due to the difficulty in returning unaided back to the slipways.
  • All sailors should be capable of sailing independently, RYA level 2 or equivalent, Juniors should be RYA stage 3 or equivalent. In all cases if the sailor is not confident in their ability to sail independently in the conditions they should not go out.
  • A Beachmaster should be on duty ashore with a VHF radio and mobile phone to interface to emergency services if required.

    To reduce risk of contamination around the safety boat:

  • Access to the boatstore is reserved for safety boat crews.
  • Safety boats should only be used for scheduled events.
  • The safety boat crew should prep their boat without assistance, including getting fuel from the fuel bunker.
  • If the boat has been used in the last 72 hours, or if there is doubt, then it should be washed down with soapy water.
  • Humber is the primary safety boat as it can be launched and recovered by the safety boat crew without assistance.

The boat should be loaded with:

  • Radio
  • Grab bag
  • Long tow line
  • bucket, sponge and soap
  • short boarding ladder to help with unassisted entry into the safety boat
  • training buoy and anchor
  • Waterproof bag with masks and gloves

When launching:

  • The safety boat crew should work independently without assistance, including removing the trolley - if necessary the driver takes the boat to the pontoon and walks back to assist with the trolley.

When there is a non-urgent incident:

  • Every effort should be made to reduce possibility of Covid transmission.
  • The safety boat should at first stand off and give advice until support is clearly necessary. The safety boat crew should ensure they don't touch the dinghy or dinghy crew and distancing should be maintained.
  • The safety boat can assist by taking the dinghy painter and holding the boat into wind while the dinghy crew attempt to resolve their problem.
  • To assist with a capsize, the safety boat can assist by lifting the mast tip and hand-walking up the mast, ideally scooping at least one crew member into the boat.
  • Where the safety boat is required to tow a dinghy, this should be done astern and not alongside. The dinghy crew should also remain in the dinghy. The dinghy should be towed back to the pontoon and the dinghy crew left to resolve their issue.
  • If there is a non-urgent injury or technical failure, the sailing dinghy should be towed back to the pontoon with the crew staying on board.
  • If somebody needs to be recovered from the water, the ladder should be deployed so they can board independently. Masks should be used by safety boat crew and the recovered person. They should be returned to their dinghy and requested to return to shore if it is deemed that they are not experienced enough for the conditions to prevent reoccurence.
  • If the safety boat crew have to assist with boarding, the casualty should ideally face AWAY from the boat and be pulled up by the safety boat crew until sitting on the edge of the boat. The safety boat crew should move away before the casualty turns around to enter the boat fully. Maximum distance between safety boat crew and dinghy crew should be maintained in the safety boat. Masks should be used by safety boat crew and the recovered person.

When there is an urgent issue:

  • If there is an urgent need to return somebody to shore for medical treatment then they should be transferred to the safety boat. Ideally they should do this independently. Safety boat crew and dinghy crew should all use masks.
  • If appropriate the training buoy and anchor should be deployed and the dinghy attached for recovery later - if there is no time the dinghy should be abandoned.
  • Where there is any breach of 1m+ rules an email should be sent by the safety boat crew after the event detailing the incident and those involved to
  • Risk to life takes higher priority than possible Covid transmission so in the case of entrapment or potential drowning all normal procedures should be used, followed by thorough cleaning after the event.
  • Where there is not obvious breathing or heartbeat, current Resuscitation Council guidance is that chest compressions should be used but not mouth-to-mouth. The casualty should be connected to an AED (defibrillator) as soon as possible.

After the event:

  • Boat should ideally be recovered by the safety boat crew. If assistance is required to get the boat up the slipway then distancing should be maintained.
  • The boat should be washed off as usual.
  • If the boat is scheduled to be used within 72 hours it should be washed down with soapy water paying particular attention to regular contact points before returning to the boatstore.

Last updated 17:47 on 22 August 2021

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