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Dinghy Support Boat Guidance

Support Boat Driver Dates can now be found on the Dinghy Sail Programme.

• Support Boat Guidance pdf

Island Yacht Club – Support Boat Duty

These notes are for guidance only and do not form part of sailing instructions

The primary purpose of the rescue boat is to help people, not boats. Only tow dinghies. Once you are absolutely sure that know one else needs your help. If you start to tow, leave the boat if other boats capsize.

Crew  to be 2 in number and over 16. Alternatively one may be younger if a holder of a  RYA Power  Boat  Certificate.  No passengers allowed except for rescued crew.  The Boat is slower with more people in.  Sailing club members only are allowed to Crew, as they are covered by club insurance.

Buoyancy aids must be worn at all times while afloat. Preferably one of the boat crew should wear a wet suit in case they need help in righting a capsized boat or help a Competitor  in the water.

If the boat is not active use of the motor should be stopped to save petrol. In all cases, Capsizes should be checked, if only to ensure the crew’s safety and the rescue boat Is not  needed. Whilst attending one capsize, keep a watch out for other capsizes.

Support Boat Safety Wear the “kill-cord” round your wrist and ankle at all times. If you fall out of the Boat you will not be run over with the propeller running! Never leave the driving position when the engine is in gear. Remember that the propeller is a sharp cutting tool that can severely damage people in the water. It must be kept clear at all times. Propellers are expensive and should be kept clear of the bottom at all times. This includes launching and moving in and out of the container. Lift the engine up! 

When driving the boat fast, keep one hand on the throttle level to ensure that you can shut down fast. Emergency stops are best made by cutting power and immediately turning through 90 degrees. When the boat is broadside on to its previous course, put the motor into neutral.

The required skill for the rescue boat crew is slow speed manoeuvring. Practice picking up a buoy without hitting it or using reverse gear. Remember that the engine will not help  you steer when the throttle is shut right down. Always approach from downwind, heading upwind, to slow the boat down.

When near to people in the water the engine should be turned off to avoid risk of injury. When recovering sailors from the water it MUST be turned off. Never approach head on to swimmers in the water as this is very frightening to Swimmers.

When helping a boat in difficulties or capsized bear the following points in mind:

1. It is often enough to be near a boat, with the engine off to offer verbal help and assurance.

2. If further help is needed, you can either hold the capsized boat‘s mast to avoid total inversion, or hold the hull and bow.

3. When helping an inverted boat come along side pointing in the same direction. When the boat is righted to 90 degrees it will be possible to help turn it   head to wind. Lifting the mast of the boat will help the crew right it.

Again, the prime reason for the rescue boat is to help people. It is your responsibility to help them, not their boats.  If you have to rescue exhausted or cold sailors, help them out of the water, if needed with a rope under their arms, or get into the water to help them out.

Get them back to a warm place as fast as possible but keep them down in the boat out of the wind. In winter, or even on extremely cold days in the summer, remember that risk of hypothermia and get to people in difficulty fast. Watch them to ensure that exhaustion does not set in.   



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