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Water Safety Policy

Scaling Dam Sailing Club Water Safety Policy

(latest update May 2024)

Club members and other users of the Club must take responsibility of their own safety, both afloat and ashore. The Club provides several different levels of safety cover, which are detailed below. The provision of safety cover does not remove the responsibility for water users to make appropriate decisions about their own safety. Acceptance of this policy is a condition of going afloat, and water users should make sure they are aware of the level of safety cover being provided before choosing whether or not to go afloat.


Safety cover is provided at several different levels:

Patrolling Safety Cover - A crewed Safety Boat will be afloat on the water, watching all water users. This will be the case during scheduled Club activities such as club racing, Youth & Junior, & open meetings. At busy times, in addition to a Patrolling Safety Boat, a Responsive Safety Boat may also be made available.

Responsive Safety Cover - A Safety Boat will be available from the pontoon and a watch kept from the shore with safety response as necessary. This is typically the case during 'Casual Sailing', when the Club is open with no scheduled event or club activity afloat. Response may be slower at these times. (NB This does not prevent the Safety Boat from Patrolling on the water during Casual Sailing, it may change between the two levels of cover depending on the conditions and numbers afloat).

Buddy Use - No Safety Boat is available. Members may go afloat in groups of 2 craft or more, taking extra consideration of their own ability, the suitability of their craft, and the weather conditions. Water users should be especially aware of the limitations of rescues during Buddy Use (e.g. a sailing dinghy would be unlikely to tow another sailing dinghy ashore in the event of gear failure). Members should be aware of their abilities and limitations to return other water users to shore (e.g. a windsurfer would be unlikely to be able to recover a person in the water and return them back to shore).

Open Water Swimming - This is allowed only during scheduled Open Water Swimming sessions, during which Safety Cover will be provided by Safety Kayakers or SUPs, in line with the session safety ratios.

No Safety Cover/Solo Use - It is not permitted for anybody to use the water alone; even the most experienced crews may come into difficulty, from unexpected gear failure or sudden changes in the weather conditions. In the event of the Safety Boat becoming unexpectedly unavailable, for instance in the case of a breakdown, this will be signified (if at all possible) by a flashing yellow light from the Clubhouse. Water users may elect to remain afloat on a 'Buddy Sailing' basis with the other water users present, accepting that some may not know Safety Cover has become unavailable; any person becoming the only craft afloat must return ashore.


All water users have a duty both to themselves and to other water users to support water safety.

You can improve your own water safety by:

Staying where you can be easily observed, from the shore and/or by other water users

Not going out in conditions beyond your abilities or in craft not suited for the conditions

Taking and/or seeking advice from the Club's Professionals & Instructors

Your duties to other Club members include:

Providing or seeking help for other water users if/when they need it

Alerting the Water Safety Manager, Duty Officer or Safety Boat Crew to any situation you observe that may need attention


Type-approved, effective personal buoyancy shall be worn at all times whilst afloat in all Craft, Safety Boats and on the Club pontoon, with the only exceptions listed below. If it is of the inflatable type, it must be kept inflated, excepting gas inflation Life Jackets or Buoyancy Aids, which should be serviceable and in-date, with crutch straps worn where fitted. Nappy harnesses, waist harnesses, wetsuits and drysuits in themselves are not considered adequate buoyancy.

Any water user under the age of 16 must wear effective personal buoyancy at all times, excepting only for when engaged in Open Water Swimming, during organised sessions with appropriate Safety Cover available.

Members aged 16 or over must wear effective personal buoyancy at all times with the following exceptions:

a) Any person engaged in an organised Open Water Swimming session with appropriate Safety Cover being provided.

b) Intermediate or advanced level windsurfers wearing a windsurf harness; note that wearing a harness does not provide buoyancy, and the wearing of a harness is not an alternative to being at a suitable intermediate standard (i.e. if you are not yet using a windsurf harness effectively, you should still wear a buoyancy aid as well).

c) Persons offering assistance on the beach who do not intend to go afloat, however such assistance should only be offered in water up to knee-depth, and persons offering this assistance should be aware of the risks of falling over into the water whilst fully clothed and not wearing buoyancy.

d) Other activity approved by the WSM or Committee, only where it is usual for participants not to wear buoyancy for safety reasons, such as Sprint Kayakers and Rowers with appropriate additional safety cover.

For clarification, Stand-Up-Paddleboarders are required to wear suitable buoyancy, in line with NGB guidance; a 50N category approved inflatable buoyancy belt is deemed suitable.


Wet suits, dry suits, or effective thermal protection shall be worn whilst afloat between the months of November and March inclusive. They are strongly recommended during the months of April, May and October. Thermal protection of the torso is advisable throughout the year (i.e. a 'shorty' wetsuit is a good minimum in summer months where cold water shock is still a realistic concern).

For clarification, 'effective thermal protection' should consider the likelihood of immersion in the water. Participants should wear a wetsuit or drysuit whilst participating in any activity where immersion is a realistic risk (e.g. dinghy sailing, windsurf & SUP present risk of immersion. Powerboat driving & sailing 'Challenger' Tri-mirans do not represent a realistic risk of immersion).

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