dosc race day safety manual

The most recent edition of the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club (DOSC) Race Day Safety Manual: Roles & Responsibilities for Volunteers, is available for your reference below. 

Dubai Offshore Sailing Club provides safety cover at weekends throughout sailing season. The season commences in September and terminates in June. The exact volunteer and safety duties are scheduled by a week to week basis, via an email from the Sailing Administrator.

The Sailing Department requires certain levels of safety cover for events to take place. The numbers required are taken from RYA (Royal Yachting Association) guidelines. If the required safety cover is not available events will be cancelled for health and safety reasons.

When you have signed up to perform safety cover, remember that you must perform this duty to the best of your ability. Experienced members of the volunteers are asked to embrace new volunteers and pass on experience to these new helpers.

DOSC Sailing Department have the authority to decide whether the safety boat crew can provide cover to sailors, dependent on weather/tidal conditions and if sufficient crew numbers are in attendance, with the relevant qualifications.

All information pertaining to arrival and briefing times shall be included in the Sailing Department Volunteer Request email.

Training is available for members and non-members via the Sailing Department. Courses for Power Boat Handling, First Aid and VHF Radio license are available throughout the season. To find out more information regarding these courses please refer to the Learn to Sail section of our website, or send an email to the Sailing Administrator. Places are limited on training courses, so early booking is recommended.

Publications in regard to all aspects of safety cover, from Powerboat, Safetyboat, VHF and First Aid Manuals are available for purchase from the Sailing Department.

The safety boat cover provided by DOSC is limited to the expertise we can provide and it should be noted we are not a professional rescue service.

In the event that a rescue is beyond the scope of the safety boat crew then the Race Officer of the day must be notified immediately. The Sailing Department will then action local emergency services.

  • Report to the Sailing Office for duty
  • Attend the Volunteer Briefing at the advised time – this takes place outside the DOSC Sailing Office
  • Pick up VHF Radio and Buoyancy aid
  • Check the Safety Boat has all the required equipment; if you believe something is missing please contact the Sailing Office.
    • Fuel
    • Tow line
    • Anchor
    • Safety Pack, including: First Aid Kit, Flares and Tool Kit
    • Killcord (must be worn at all times whilst driving)

The following procedures and requirements are needed to ensure the safety boat crew are fully prepared to perform their duties. An incident may occur at any time – you will get no warning. So please make sure that you work as a team at all times, are well organised and stay fully alert for every minute that any sailor is on the water.

The following abilities are required:

  • To be physically fit enough to lift people from the water on to the safety boat
  • To be able to communicate clearly with competitors and organisers alike
  • To be able to follow instruction
  • To have a good awareness of other water users
  • To be able to tie:
    • A bowline
    • Figure of Eight Knot
    • Round Turn
    • Two Half Hitches

The following actions are required of the safety boat crew:

  • To always wear the killcord whilst driving
  • For a Buoyancy Aid to be worn at all times
  • One hand steering, one hand on the throttle at all times


  • Only assist a racer if you feel he requires help or the sailor specifically makes a request for assistance 
  • Priority is given to sailors before equipment; check the number that were on board immediately if possible
  • Notify the Race Committee of any issues with sailors or any boat retiring from the race
  • If a person is unconscious notify all stations and return to shore immediately at speed


  • Be aware of your propeller and where it is pointing and going
  • Kill the engine when you have hold of any sailor in the water
  • Watch speed limits in the Marina area
  • Check with the Race Committee that boats are returning to shore: do not return to port until told to do so by the Race Committee
  • Clear all rubbish from the Safety Boat upon returning to the dock
  • Notify the Sailing Department of any breakages, problems or missing equipment that may have occurred during the day.
  • Return Radios to the Sailing Office
  • Dunk Buoyancy Aids in the rinse and hang on the Buoyancy Aid Rack
  • Fill out the accident book for any accident witnessed or assisted; this is located in the Sailing Office

In order to offer practical and efficient safety boat cover, it is necessary for the Race Committee to assign specific areas for you to pay most attention to on the race course.

This is not a hard and fast rule; if the safety boat crew can see sailors in distress beyond their specified area, they should assist and notify other safety boats of the issue and location, via VHF radio.

Each boat on the water will have a VHF Radio.Each boat has an assigned name that is written on the boat; this is the call sign. Ensure to make yourself and the crew aware of this name as it will be used in all communications while out at sea. Try to familirise yourself with the other safety boats on the water as you will be communicating with them.

The VHF Channel used shall be notified on Race Day by the Race Officer for the day. This is usually VHF Channel 08 or 22a.

Please speak to the Race Officer before going afloat if you have any queries about how to operate the radio.

Procedure Words:

“I SAY AGAIN ” – I am repeating my transmission

“SAY AGAIN ” – Repeat your message

“OVER ” – You have ended your transmission and are expecting a reply

“OUT ” – You have ended your transmission and are not expecting a reply

DO NOT SAY “OVER & OUT” – it is never used

“RADIO CHECK ”- To check the quality of your transmission and to check other stations

TRANSMISSION RULES (remember that anyone can be listening):

  • Always transmit to a CALL SIGN, never to a personal name
  • DO NOT make unnecessary transmissions (e.g. Football / Rugby results), broadcast music or programs as this will block the frequency to others
  • DO NOT transmit profane, indecent or obscene language
  • Only use the allocated frequency unless otherwise advised by the Race Committee
  • Before transmission, ensure you do not interfere with any other communication already in progress
  • Always ensure that you do not transmit continuously (Open MIC) – check regularly that nothing is causing the VHF to be constantly transmitting

Mark boat duties vary slightly from safety boat duties. You are required to understand how to use the Club GPS, be able to lift anchors in and out of the water and communicate clearly.

Mark boat crew will receive a separate extended briefing by the Race Officer. The Race Office will explain the GPS, the use of bearing, distance and reciprocal bearing and their use on the race course. The course of the day shall also be explained.

Once mark laying duties are completed, the Mark Boat may be asked to station themselves at the Pin-end of the Start Line to inform the Race Committee of any boats that are over the line prior to the start of the race.

The Mark boat must be on hand at all times to adjust the course at the Race Committees request. When these duties are not required, the Mark Boat must act as additional Safety Cover and not leave the Race Course without the prior consent of the Race Committee.

A Beach Master (appropriate to dinghy racing) ensures the orderly and systematic launching of boats and retrieval upon their return.

Sailors must sign out and back in with the Beach Master, who is responsible for all sailors having signed on to the race sheet. They must then be reminded to sign off once they return ashore. This is a safety issue and is necessary of all competitors.

Please ensure your availability for the launching and return of boats. Duties for the Beach Master generally start from 4.30pm onwards.

Please ensure that all faults, lost or broken equipment are immediately reported to the Sailing Department. Reports may be made to Instructors, Bosuns or the Sailing Department Office Staff.

Upon accepting to volunteer for specific roles on race day, the Volunteer agrees that they are in the required physical and mental state to complete all necessary duties to the required standard, as described by this Manual. Failure to complete the duties required as a result of negligence and/ or a false declaration of physical and/or mental health will result in the Volunteer not being accepted back for future duties.