Seating and posture

Seating and posture are important for both personal safety and the ability to take an active part in sailing.

The aim is to build a secure posture from the base up thereby ensuring comfort and enabling movement and generation of force to control steering / sails and self.

Implications for practice and procedures

  • Use a conversation with the sailor to gather information and make decisions about seating and posture. Take advice if needed. Take into account:
    • The person’s experience and competence
    • Skin care (pressure, friction, moisture)
    • Stability of airways, joints and bones
    • Any pain and how it is managed
  • Check that you have got posture right for the person
  • If in doubt, stop the activity, review and change posture early


Thank you for reading. Now return to the start of this guide

Back to the start
A systematic approach to safety

An overview of the key elements of safety systems


Providers of activity have a clear duty of care to keep those involved in the activity safe. People of all ages, with a wide range of impairments go sailing. It is important to consider the person, the situation and the staff / volunteers involved before making safety decisions.

Personal flotation

It is important to get the choice of personal flotation device right each time a person goes afloat, particularly for people who may not be able to actively participate in their own self-righting if they were to end up in the water.

Strapping and harnesses

Strapping and other equipment are used for several reasons including to maintain posture and improve control of sails and steering. Straps and harnesses can be used by a person day to day (for example, in a wheelchair) or as a specific part of sailing equipment.

Self righting boats

Self-righting means different things for different vessels. Experience shows self-righting boats can and do get ‘knocked down’ or capsize, increasing the risk of inversion and entrapment. There are known examples where through a variety of factors they have subsequently inverted, including with the keel or weighted centre board retracted.

Adaptations to boats

Any modifications that deviate from the original design specification may alter the stability characteristics of that vessel and access to the full range of controls (steering and sails).

Recovering boats

When towing vessels participants usually remain in the boat. The seating arrangements in some vessels used for disabled people, and participants’ own limited mobility, may make it harder for the crew to stay out of the way of a tow rope, particularly if multiple vessels are being towed

Recovering people

Explore equipment like slings or wet nets, the importance for having a plan for individuals who may not be able to fully help themselves and the role really good communication plays

Seating and posture

Seating and posture are important for both personal safety and the ability to take an active part in sailing.