CVLSC Safety Policy
In accordance with bye-laws 1.2 and 8, MEMBERS AND OTHER USERS OF OUR LAKE MUST TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR OWN SAFETY BOTH AFLOAT AND ASHORE. THE CLUB WILL USE ITS BEST ENDEAVOURS TO PROVIDE ON-WATER SAFETY COVER, BUT THAT DOES NOT ALTER THE INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY OF ALL USERS OF THE LAKE. ACCEPTANCE OF THIS POLICY IS A CONDITION OF GOING AFLOAT AT CHEW VALLEY LAKE.
This statement is important because it explains how the Club sets out to assist you with your safety on the water. PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO READ IT.
On club sailing days 2 safety boats must always be launched and ready for use, and at least two qualified helms will be in attendance. The duty team will have a collective responsibility for decisions about safety boat provision and sailing restrictions throughout the day
At the start of any sailing day the OOD (rescue helms on Wednesday and Thursday) should convene a brief meeting of the duty team, any race officers or event organisers, and perform a risk assessment relating to safety boat provision. More detailed risk assessments will be needed for events and formal training. This assessment will have to consider wind and gust strength and wind chill. If the wind has any degree of west in it, wind strength should be assessed well out in the middle of the lake near mark B. Following this assessment decisions should be made about the number of safety boats on the water, their manning and tactical positioning. Liaison with the whole team should continue throughout the day, reviewing the changing conditions and responding accordingly.
- Safety boats should at all times be crewed by two people, who should be appropriately dressed and prepared to stay out on the water for long periods and at least one should be prepared to go in the water.
- Unless the conditions are benign there should always be at least two safety boats each with a helm and crew. The club rosters 2 safety boat helms and 2 crews and 2 OOD’s at weekends.
- On Wednesdays and Thursdays, 2 safety helms alone may be rostered and no OOD, in which case the helms also act as Officers of the Day. On these days the rescue helms should undertake the risk assessment. As a result of the risk assessment, if they consider a second safety boat is appropriate (i.e. conditions are not benign), they should request volunteers from the assembled sailors to enable 2 fully crewed safety boats before sailing is allowed.
- The safety boat helms should have at least power boat level 2, or 3 years (equivalent) relevant RIB driving experience*, and are expected to be confident in fuelling, launching and recovering the club RIBs, manoeuvring them safely on the lake and providing a basic level of assistance. Since 2018 the club has actively encouraged RIB helms to also complete the CVLSC Advanced Rescue Helm Safety training, which teaches additional skills to help competently aid capsized and inverted boats and assist in a variety of rescue scenarios. The course is currently free to members and runs periodically each year with a view to it becoming a mandatory requirement in the future. The RYA Safety Boat course is an acceptable alternative to the club Advanced Rescue helm
Note: *This exception is limited to club members and expected to apply to only a small number that have a known/evidenced history and experience of Rib driving and providing safety cover together with a knowledge of the lake and our RIB procedures
- The rostered safety boat helms will split between the RIBs
- All the OODs and safety boat helms and crews should come to the club with clothing suitable for manning a safety boat and going into the water. Wetsuits are a minimum, but dry suits are usually more appropriate and buoyancy aids shall always be worn.
- A safety boat should patrol on the water when there is any sailing underway as there is the risk of undue delay in attending an entrapment if the safety crew are on the balcony.
- A watch over boats sailing should be kept throughout the day by the OOD relaying relevant information to the safety boats with a handheld radio.
“Code Red” procedure, similar to Mayday.
This is only be used in the event of a serious injury or life-threatening emergency. If the incident occurs ashore the OOD/event coordinator should decide if it is detrimental to continue sailing activity, or if the incident can be handled effectively using the resources onshore and sailing and other activity can continue.
On calling “Code Red” for a water-based incident, all the available club powered boats should be ready to help the emergency. The safety officer (normally the OOD or RO) should take control of the radio traffic, continuing to use channel 37a or M1, and will coordinate assistance as required. Only radio calls related to the emergency are allowed until the crisis is over. The likelihood is that any races in progress will have to be abandoned.
As a Club member or visitor, you have a duty to both yourself and to other lake users as regards safety. This duty means acting responsibly whilst on Club premises, including in the use of the boat park and winches and in the supervision of your children. You can improve your own on-water safety by adopting the following: –
- Check the information board at the main entrance.
- Remain in the sailing area designated for the day.
- Less confident sailors – stay in an area where you can be easily seen and quickly reached.
- Do not sail in a boat or in weather conditions that are beyond your competence.
- If in doubt – ask the rescue helms to watch out for you or your child.
Your duty to other members and visitors includes: –
- Providing help or seeking help for anyone you see needing it on the water.
- Alerting the rescue helms to any situation that you observe that may need their attention.