May lead to reducing fleet size / increasing safety cover / reducing sail area or other controls to be implemented on the day
Captures all those elements that are unknown in advance
It can be useful to record the assessment so you can account for key decisions.
Each organisation will have their own requirements on what to include within a daily assessment.
The following is a guide of the factors that may be considered
Activity type and session plan
Supervisor / Officer of the day / Safety lead / Coach / Lead instructor
Number of participants
Number of participant’s vessels
Number of safety boats
Start / finish time
Sailing area and sea state
Time on the water
Safety cover ratio
Individual with specific needs that may need close supervision and monitoring.
Additional control measures
Signature of decision maker.
Confirm all returned ashore
Any issues / lessons learned.
You may choose to establish a scoring matrix for the daily assessment, considering each factor on a scale from low risk to very high risk. The person or committee responsible for safety on the water can establish a framework for sail / no sail decisions – above certain levels of risk you may require evidence of additional controls that have been put in place or confirm a no sail decision.
The advantage of a matrix and decision-making framework is that you are balancing the judgements of a competent person with a process that has been agreed by the organisation and that everyone accepts as part of the agreed operations.
Questions to ask - Daily risk assessment
Do you have a process for daily risk assessments?
Does anyone check the daily risk assessments to ensure they are being used properly, and to identify any trends or lessons?
Do you know the factors that are most important for you to assess for your operating area(s)?
Do you know who has been deemed competent to carry out daily risk assessments?
Dynamic risk assessment
Dynamic risk assessment is a continual monitoring and communication process by all those involved in managing safety on the water. It is about keeping your head out of the boat, spotting situations, and controlling them before they become problems. It:
May lead to abandoning or shortening sessions / activity / events
May lead to requesting additional support
Is usually not written, though there may be means of logging or noting key decisions / communications in case there is a need to account for what happened later
Participants and their individual need.
Questions to ask - Dynamic risk assessment
In observing a session on the water, can you see evidence of dynamic risk assessment taking place?
Do you have a process for noting key decisions taken as part of dynamic risk assessment?
Participants and their individual needs
The Sailability community has a collective knowledge about issues specific to sailing with disabled people and the good practice that emerges from these issues. The knowledge to date has been collated in a safety on the water guidance note.
The knowledge in this guide has been gathered from testing and observations as well as learning and recommendations from previous incidents. The guide discusses a number of issues and the implications for practice, including risk assessment practice.
If you have knowledge or practice to share, please get in touch.
Individual risk assessment
Some people may have health conditions that mean the risks involved need to be individually assessed so you and the individual concerned can make decisions based on:
the risk factors
the support that can put in place to keep all involved safe
people agreeing to participate with a clear picture of the risks involved.
It is always difficult to navigate situations where a person’s health or fitness is fluctuating or deteriorating, and they are unable to do things they used to be able to. It can be the case that the different parties involved will have different perspectives on the person’s health, capabilities and capacity, so there will be different views on what is possible and what is sensible.
If we have the capacity to make decisions (to go sailing or not) we have the right to make unwise decisions, or decisions that others would consider foolhardy. An organisation has to balance this with the duty of care they owe to keep others involved as safe as reasonably practicable.
So an individual risk assessment allows you to
Consider the context
Undertake a fact find
Identify the hazards and assess the risks
List all the available controls
Jointly (with the participant) decide on the controls to be used (the support needed)
Regularly review the controls – session by session if needed.
Through such a process, a vision can be shared (e.g. keep being involved for as long as possible), steps taken to achieve the vision but also an acknowledgement that there may come a time when either more controls (support) are needed or that the activity may not be possible.
An individual risk assessment is
A joint exercise
Involves the person with the health condition, any parents or carers they want to involve and the organisation – recognising the person is an expert in their health condition, the organisation is focussed on delivering safe activity on the water
Conditions for sailing change, health conditions progress or fluctuate; perceptions of what is possible vary – it is likely that the controls / support required to keep everyone safe will also vary over time, and may be added to or reduced session to session.
Questions to ask - Individual risk assessment
How do you recognise when a person’s health, fitness or capabilities might be an issue for ongoing involvement?
Do you have a process for assessing the risks involved, identifying the support possible and making decisions about future involvement?