Calling all safety boat drivers

Following reports of a few incidents or close calls involving safety boats and dinghies, the RYA has put together some guidance for clubs.
Following reports of a few incidents or close calls involving safety boats and dinghies, the RYA has put together some guidance for clubs.Driving a club safety boat is vital to the safe running of dinghyracing and sail training within clubs. In an ideal world all safety boatdrivers would be qualified, at the minimum, to RYA powerboat level 2 andRYA safety boat qualified. However, this is not always practical for aclub and its volunteers so, wherever the club can reinforce �bestpractice,� prior to a duty, both to those who are powerboat qualifiedand those who are not, this is a good thing.Remind safety boat crews about your club�s policyWheneverpossible, safety boat crews should be reminded of the club�s policy forsafety boat drivers. This could be as simple as a summary cardreminding individuals of their duties as they sign out the key andkillcord.Some top tips for safety boat drivers Always wear a kill cord. Keep your hands on the throttle and wheel at all times when moving. Always switch your engine off when dealing with a person in the water. Wherever possible keep your boat speed to a minimum so that you do not create unnecessary wake, and make it easier for people anticipate the safety boat intentions. When approaching a capsized dinghy, it can sometimes be best to approach bow first, from up wind, keeping the prop away from the boat hazards and crew. Avoid steering directly astern of those who are racing, in case they capsize, fall out or alter course unexpectedly. If it is necessary to come alongside, it is best to do this when a sailing boat has stopped on a close reach and the safety boat can come in on the windward side of the dinghy and hold the shroud to keep them close. Once in place turn the engine off if necessary for ease of communication. If approaching a moving dinghy let the helm know your intentions, communicate clearly, approach from the windward side. Always have an escape plan up your sleeve, know which way you�re going to turn to get out of a situation before things go wrong - sometimes just dropping into neutral will do it! Above all maintain a good look out around your safety boat at all times!Refresher trainingIt�s worth bearing in mind thatmany safety boat drivers only take to the controls once or twice aseason, so they can often be pretty rusty. One idea is to have apre-season �blowing the cobwebs away� half day or evening followed by aBBQ or curry. Invite club members along and remind them about the club�ssafety boating policy, advising them of any new procedures andrefreshing on-water skills.How does your club tacklethis? What refresher training do you organise? Let Club Room know andwe�ll include your tips in the November issue.PublicationsThereare a number of good resources available to support safety boat drivertraining. Having a copy of the RYA�s G14 The National Sailing SchemeInstructor Handbook and the RYA�sG16 Safety Boat Handbookavailable for reference at your club is highly recommended.