SailQuest Youth Sailing Program

On Board Risk Assessment for Sailing Events

Index

  1. Introduction
  2. Tasks that could be performed while on board a yacht.
  3. Identification of hazards and degree of risk
  4. Assessment of hazards.
  5. Conclusion.

1. Introduction

Marine based events offer huge benefits for participants. However, as with everything in life there is a risk attached to every task performed during the day. This document identifies the hazards and assesses the risks to guests from those hazards.

The risk assessment is for a broad spectrum of events, ranging from sailing courses, yachting regattas and other sailing activities on board large sailing yachts and powerboats, therefore “yacht” refers to both sail and power vessels, including RIBs, and some of the risks assessed will not be relevant to powerboats and visa versa.

2. Tasks that could be performed while on board a yacht.

  • Moving around the boat both on the deck and down below.
  • Stowing the mooring lines and fenders.
  • Hoisting the sails.
  • Trimming the sails.
  • Winding winches.
  • Steering the yacht.
  • Transfer on and off the yacht onto a RIB or floating dock.

3. Identification of hazards and degree of risk

A hazard is defined as the potential to cause injury or damage, while a risk is the likelihood of injury or damage resulting from such a hazard.

  1. Hazards before embarkation
  2. Accident in the marina accommodation or on the marina property.
  3. Falling over on the pontoon leading up to the yacht and landing in the water.

 

b. Hazards whilst on board.

SI

LO

Degree of Risk

SI x LO highest = 9

1.

Fall due to uneven deck.

1

2

2

2.

Fall due to wet deck.

1

2

2

3.

Fall due to impact with sails or boom.

2

1

2

4.

Sun burn due to sun exposure

2

1

2

5.

Heat exhaustion due to weather conditions.

2

1

2

6.

Drowning due to immersion in water.

3

1

3

7.

Hypothermia due to immersion in water.

2

1

2

8.

Collision with another vessel.

3-1

1

1 to 3

9.

Sinking due to collision.

3-1

1

1 to 3

10.

Sinking due to grounding.

3-1

1

1 to 3

11.

Fire on board.

2

1

2

12.

Aggravating existing medical condition.

2

1

2

13.

Fractures and cuts due to sails or equipment.

1

2

2

14.

Food poisoning.

2

1

2

Key to hazard severity index (SI) Score 3: Major injury or death

Score 2: Serious injury (off work/incapacitated for more than 3 days). Score 1: Minor injury (non-debilitating minor injury).

Score 0: No obvious potential for this hazard.

Key to likelihood of occurrence (LO) Score 3: Probably will occur

Score 2: May occur occasionally

Score 1: Likely to occur infrequently or not at all.

4. Assessment of hazards

  1. (1 to 3) Falls on board – Degree of Risk score 2 – Low

Falling or stumbling on a yacht is a hazard due to the fact that guests are walking on an unfamiliar surface. These falls can be painful but not serious and if the participant is not briefed properly can occur.

Method of control:

Instructor/skipper briefs the participants before they climb onto the yacht about what is safe to step on and touch.

  1. (3) Fall due to impact with sails or equipment – Degree of Risk score 1 – very Low

Falling due to being hit by part of the yacht’s equipment can be serious for the novice, accidents usually only occur when the participant is in the wrong place at the wrong time

Method of control:

The instructor/skipper during his safety briefing will make participant aware of the height of the boom and will also remind participant while sailing of the risk this poses. In terms of falling due to being hit by sails etc. this would only occur if the participant  were out of the enclosed cockpit, there are times when participant would  help with the sails so the risk of falling would be higher when out of this protected area. If participants are on the working deck of a yacht they are under the supervision of the instructor/skipper and will only be there if they are happy and confident being in this situation.

  1. (4) Sunburn due to sun exposure – Degree of risk score 2 – Low

The Thailand weather can be hot and sunny and should not be underestimated in the marine environment.

Method of control:

All participants are recommended to bring along sunscreen, hats, sun sleeves and to be aware of the intensity of the sun.

  1. (5) Heat exhaustion due to weather conditions – Degree of risk score 2 – Low

The Thailand’s weather can get very hot in the middle of the summer and the sun’s effect is magnified when on board a yacht in the sea due to reflection off the water and a lack of shelter on deck.

Method of control:

 All participants are recommended to bring along sunscreen, hats, sun sleeves and to be aware of the intensity of the sun. The yacht will also carry sun screen if the participants do not bring any. In addition, the yacht carries a plentiful supply of drinking water, which should be consumed during the day to help prevent dehydration. The crew are briefed on the importance of keeping participant fluid intake up.

  1. (6) Drowning due to immersion in water – Degree of risk score 3 – Low

When participating in any marine based event the greatest hazard is the water. So therefore the risk of drowning if immersed in water is scored 3 out of 9. So the risk is still low but it carries the highest degree of risk score in this assessment.

Method of control:

All the yachts carry a lifejacket for each person on board plus 2 spares (for yachts of up to 12 persons). In the main they are ski vest type jackets that are light to wear and are not too bulky.

Participants do not have to wear a lifejacket at all times. However, it is up to the individual instructor/skipper to decide when it is appropriate for them to be worn. Our position is that if there is little or no wind, skippers will not insist on a lifejacket. However, if there is enough wind to start to heel the yacht and the participants are complete beginners then lifejackets will be worn.

It is up to the instructor/skipper to decide when it is appropriate for guests to don lifejackets and they are briefed to use lifejackets if they are in any doubt.

On larger yachts and powerboats with more enclosed areas on hospitality days then lifejackets are only issued if a participant is a non-swimmer or there is an emergency situation on board.

The instructor/skipper in his safety briefing prior to departure gives instructions on the use and donning of lifejackets.

  1. (7) Hypothermia due to immersion in water – Degree of risk score 2 – Low

Hypothermia will be the result from being immersed in water for a length of time depending on the time of year. In reality, the sea temperature in Thailand is quite warm, drastically reducing the risk of hypothermia.

Method of control:

The wearing of a lifejacket will significantly prolong the survivable time that a person can be in the water before hypothermia can set in. In addition, on regatta days where there is a higher risk, a fast support and safety boat (RIB) with a qualified driver on board will shadow the yachts in case of an incident where a participant enters the water. This RIB will significantly cut down the amount of time the participant is in the water and the driver will be able to render immediate medical assistance, if required. The instructor/skipper and crew of the yacht are also fully trained in man overboard drills in case the RIB cannot give assistance as quick as the yacht. It should be noted that it is not a requirement to have a RIB. Indeed, on the larger yachts on hospitality days, due to the risk of immersion being lower we do not require this facility as the boats can provide their own assistance in a man overboard situation. In reality, the water’s in Thailand are quite warm, drastically reducing the risk of hypothermia.

  1. (8) Collision with another vessel – Degree of Risk score 1-3 – very Low to Low

The reason why the degree of risk score is between 1 and 3 is due to the fact that “collision” with another vessel can be anything from a slight bump resulting in no damage or injury to a major incident and loss of life. In our experience, the latter has not happened in recent history and the former happens infrequently.

Method of control:

All instructor/skippers are well informed on local navigational hazards and are expert in the sailing area.

If a major incident occurs in our main area of operation, the water is firstly sheltered and yachts are within range to contact the Marine Department and/or Thai Navy services via on board VHF Marine Radio and, in most cases, mobile telephone.

  1. (9 –10) Sinking due to collision or grounding – Degree of Risk score 1-3 – very Low to Low

Method of control:

All instructor/skippers are well informed on local navigational hazards and are expert in the sailing area.

If a major incident occurs in our main area of operation, the water is firstly sheltered and yachts are within range to contact the Marine Department and/or Thai Navy services via on board VHF Marine Radio and, in most cases, mobile telephone.

  1. (11) Fire on board – Degree of Risk score 2 – Low

Fire on board a yacht is uncommon in modern times but if it occurs can be serious in terms of participant safety.

Method of control:

Under the Code of Practice for Small Vessels, there are strict standards that boats have to meet. This includes the use of fire resistant materials and engine spaces and fire extinguishers; therefore, the risk is very minimal. In the case of burns the yachts carry first aid kits.

  1. (12) Aggravating existing medical condition – Degree of Risk score 2 – Low

There is a high chance that within of a group of participants a few will have an existing minor medical condition. In 99% of cases a condition is in a stable state. However, participants being in a marine environment and exerting themselves in a way not before experienced may bring on symptoms of an existing condition.

Method of control:

The event manger prior to the event will make all participants aware of the need to bring any medication along. At the event the instructor/skipper will discretely obtain relevant medical history if it is important via the passenger form. In the event of a serious incident the participant can be removed from the boat and taken to a medical center. In a minor incident the yacht will not be more than 1 hour from a port for ambulance transfer, or if RIB support boat is on stand-by, then a high speed transfer to ambulance is possible.

  1. (13) Fractures and cuts due to sails or equipment – Degree of risk score 2 – Low

Incidents such as rope burn and “walking” wounded injuries inflicted by a fall or minor accident can happen on board yachts from time to time.

Methods of control:

The instructor/skipper during the initial safety briefing and during the day will be constantly looking out for their participants and train them in safe practices. In the event of an injury the yacht carries a First Aid Kit.

  1. (14) Food Poisoning – Degree of Risk 2 – Low

The risk of food poisoning is low but can occur.

Methods of Control:

The outside caterers employed have to meet current health and safety standards for the food industry. Every effort is made to use fresh and/or packages food supply of good quality.

5. Conclusion

While sailing activities do inevitably carry some risk to participants, on careful study and using the above methods of control, the risks are significantly less than at first glance.

SailQuest Sailing School’s first priority is the safety of participants, crew and other yachts. We fully support and comply with the current MCA Code of Practice for Small Vessels and even on occasion go beyond the current recommendations.

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