Safety Advice

The ANUSC operates on the goodwill of members and the common sense use of boats.

This safety guide has been developed to protect members safety by providing them with common sense safety advice.

It is not designed to teach sailing techniques so for sailing theory consult the Training Course Notes booklet which is available from the Training Officer or on the club pinboard.

Before You Go Sailing

  • Check the weather forecasts, for official forecasts visit http://www.bom.gov.au or ring 1900 955 362 (77c per minute). If the forecast is above 15 kts (30 km/h) only experienced sailors should go sailing. If electrical storms are forecast wait for a more suitable day.
  • Plan to sail during Water Police operating hours 0900 - 1600 preferably on weekends where there will be other lake users to assist you if you get in distress. You should only sail outside these hours for organised events like Twilight Racing or Training Courses where rescue is available.
  • Invite more experienced members to sail with you or sail at the same time so that you can keep a lookout for each other.
  • If you are taking inexperienced friends check that they can swim and have no medical problems. Remember that you are responsible for their safety.
  • When you arrive at the club assess the weather conditions. If there are white caps (breaking white waves) on the lake, the wind is above 15 kts (30 km/h) and only experienced sailors should go sailing. Remember that Yarralumla Bay is sheltered and the wind could be twice as strong in the main basin.
  • Choose a boat that you can safely handle. Make sure that the boat is in proper working order and has been correctly rigged. If in doubt use another boat or don't go sailing.

What to Wear

  • Always wear a PFD Class 1 or 2 (lifejacket) and do not take it off or unfasten it, until you are safely on shore. Make sure the PFD is tight enough that it will not come off and the shoulders cannot be lifted to the bottom of your ears.
  • You must protect yourself against the cold water and wind chill. Wearing a wetsuit and spray jacket is ideal but if you do not have these, woollen jumpers and woollen pants will do. It is easier to cool off than warm up so dress warmer than the conditions. Take spare clothing so that you can warm up after you finish sailing.
  • Wear sailing boots or old shoes to protect your feet from rocks and glass in the lake. Sailing gloves will protect your hands from rope burn.
  • Always wear sunblock, a sun hat and sunglasses to prevent sunburn.

While on the Water

  • Keep a lookout for changing weather conditions or approaching storms. If the wind strength is increasing or a storm is approaching sail back to the clubhouse.
  • Sail in the main basin of the lake within sight of the Water Police.
  • If you feel cold, hot, thirsty or sick in any way immediately return to shore.