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Race Officer and Rescue Duties

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All members are expected to volunteer for Race Officer and Rescue duties, unless they are physically unable to do so.

Race Officer Responsibilities

For Club races, the Race Officer is responsible for :

  • Checking 2-3 days in advance that all volunteers are available (can be done on Facebook or phone numbers are included in Dutyman)
  • Checking the weather forecast
  • Arriving one hour before the start
  • Determining whether to start a race or not
  • Ensuring that adequate rescue cover is available (don't start a race without this), and together with the Rescue Officer (when present), selecting which safety vessel(s) to be used for the conditions; that communications with the safety boats are tested; testing the rescue boat emergency recall light and ensuring Rescue Crews are aware of its function
  • Setting the course
  • Preparing the entry sheet
  • Starting the race(s)
  • Keeping track of boats on the course
  • Monitor weather conditions during the race abandon if necessary
  • Taking finishing times
  • Calculating corrected times
  • Posting results on the Notice board, and putting a copy in Sailing Secretary's mailbox (behind the bar)

Rescue Duty Responsibilities

Rescue Cover

Rescue cover will be provided for club dinghy racing. There must be no less than two fully manned safety boats afloat before these activities can take place. In principle a ratio of one safety boat to ten competing boats shall apply. If at any club event the safety boats cannot be fully manned, suitably qualified participants will be expected to offer their services in order to allow the event to commence. The crewing of safety boats is the responsibility of everybody. Rescue cover will not normally be provided by the club at other times. However in emergency situations, the club safety boats may be launched at any time by suitably qualified members.

The only people normally authorised to drive club safety boats are those who hold Level 2 or higher in the RYA Powerboat scheme. The driver of any safety boat must be accompanied by at least one other person when on rescue duty. Junior members under 16 years of age may not crew/helm on a club powerboat whilst it is actively engaged in or rostered to carry out rescue duties at any time. Rescue boat crews are required to familiarise themselves and comply with the Policies and Guidelines for the use of RIBs, including the club's Junior Powerboating Policy.

If the emergency recall light in the starter's box is flashing, all safety boat crews must contact the Race Officer for further instructions and (unless actively involved in rescuing individuals), if communications cannot be established, must return to the jetty for further instructions.

When present at club events any member of the Management Team shall have the authority to halt or postpone (but not to cancel) at his/her discretion any event until the minimum rescue cover requirements are met. This authority shall not apply when the presiding Race Officer is also a Senior Officer of the Club (Rear Commodore and above), in which case only a recommendation may be made. The Commodore may overturn the decision of the relevant member of the Management Team to halt or postpone a club event at any time. Subject to this, the responsibility of meeting the minimum rescue cover requirements shall lie with the Race Officer.

All safety boat drivers should practice their skills when afloat, and experienced drivers should give guidance and advice to the inexperienced.

If a safety boat sustains any damage or there are problems with any of its equipment, then this should be recorded in the Safety Boat log in the Race Box, and reported to the Race Officer. In order to facilitate prompt repairs, please also email

The club operates a continuous programme of powerboat training throughout the year. If you are interested in attending a course, please contact the Training or Rescue Officer for further details.

Club safety boats may be made available for other organised training activities. Requests should be made to the Management Team via the Rescue Officer. Depending on the nature of the training, the users may be asked to contribute towards fuel costs.

Safety Boat crews

For Club races, the safety boat drivers are responsible for :

  • Arriving in good time before the start
  • Liasing with the Race Officer to determine which safety vessel(s) to use
  • Launching and recovering the safety vessel (if shore based)
  • Testing radio communications with race control before dinghies are launched
  • Counting and monitoring the fleet, and providing assistance as required
  • Logging any damage or problems in the Rescue Boat log

Safety Boat Qualifications

Safety Boat Driver: Manning the Safety RIB requires specific skills it's not just about driving it. You need to have at least Level 2 Power Boat, AND dinghy sailing experience or knowledge. New recruits usually crew for a period, and drive under the supervision of an experienced team member in order that their suitability can be assessed. It is preferable that all Safety Boat Drivers have also attended the RYA Safety Boat course.

Assistant Safety Boat / Crew: None needed. An interest/experience in dinghy sailing is an advantage. Many people in the team started off crewing the RIB and have moved to becoming qualified drivers, although this isn't expected of crews.

There are club hosted RYA courses for Level 2 and Safety Boat for those wishing to increase their skills in this area.

Race and Rescue Duties

Please check the Duty Officer list when it is issued, and mark your duty days in your diary. If you find you cannot attend on the day(s) indicated, then it is your responsibility to arrange a swap with someone else on the list. Please let the Sailing Secretary know if you have swapped with someone.

For rescue duty, four people are named for each day as a minimum, the driver of each boat will have a formal qualification, and the third and fourth do not.

If anyone allocated for Race Officer is unfamiliar with club procedures, or feels a bit rusty, then please feel free to come and act as assistant to an experienced Club Race officer before your duty is due.

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