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Version control: Original 1986 / Updated 1999 / Updated 2003 / Updated 2015



You must refer to the Requirements for All Sport and Physical Activity (PDF 466KB) to understand your overall compliance responsibilities.

Parents or caregivers must be informed of full details of the location, supervision to be provided and activities to be undertaken when seeking their written permission.

Guidelines for sailing need to be considered in the context of the venue to be used. Open water sailing, i.e. ocean sailing, is not considered. Venues must comply with Australian Yachting Federation (AYF) rule 1.3 (safety) addendum A.

Students are to be instructed to use adequate sun protection, e.g. as a minimum an SPF50+, broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen reapplied regularly and a hat and shirt.

Students should be encouraged to obtain their Assistant Instructors’ Certificate and to participate in the AYF’s AUSSAIL AWARD scheme or the AYF’s TL1 NATIONAL PROFICIENCY scheme.

Where inter-school racing is being considered, approved sailing instructions and regulations should be sought from the NSW Combined High Schools Sports Association sailing convener.

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Teacher/Instructor Qualifications and Experience

The teacher-in-charge or the instructor must be the holder of AYF Sailing Assistant Instructors Certificate (TL1) or has equivalent qualifications and experience.

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Principals in conjunction with organising teachers and/or qualified instructors should take into account such factors as age, experience and maturity of the students, prevailing conditions, boat design and experience of the adult supervisors when arranging supervision.

The teacher must have recognised current training in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and emergency care.

In very sheltered waters where sailing is conducted as a leisure activity, for example sailing activities undertaken at Department of Sport and Recreation camps, a teacher to student ratio should not exceed 1:20. A maximum of ten boats and twenty participants are to be on the water at any time.

Under mixed fleet sailing conditions, a ratio of 1:15 applies for experienced participants. This ratio must be reduced for inexperienced students.

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A Personal Flotation Device (PFD2) complying with Standards Australia specifications must be worn at all times when on the water. A sailboard harness may be worn but must comply with the specifications or a PFD2 must be worn over the harness.

A wetsuit or warm clothing is recommended. The AYF recommends that crews ensure that clothing suitable to the local conditions is worn while on the water. It is always colder on the water than ashore. On elevated inland waters or in winter time in temperate climates, woollen pullovers, long trousers, wind jackets, full wetsuits or dry suits are likely to be required to reduce the danger of hypothermia. The wearing of wet or dry suits or any other type of garment does not take the place of a PFD. Boats and other equipment must be of an approved design and meet AYF specifications.

Boats and equipment may be owned by a local club, a reputable organisation or a private person.

Boats must have marine liability insurance cover or similar.

Listed below are dinghy classes already established in NSW:

Two Person Dinghies

Sabot, Manly Junior, Mirror, Cadet Dinghy, Enterprise, Heron, VJ, Pacer, Northbridge Junior, GP14, Lazy E, Flying Ant, Flying Eleven, 125, 420, 470, 505, Hobie Hawk, Flying 15, NS14, Cherub, Laser 11, Tasar.

Singlehanded Dinghies

Moth, Topper, Spiral, Micron 3, Sailfish, Laser, Sabre, Sabot, Skyrider, Northbridge Junior. Sailing need not be restricted only to the above classes, as there are numerous other dinghy classes, fixed keel boats and multi-hulls that are suitable. A well-equipped medical kit must be readily available.

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The teacher-in-charge must have first hand knowledge of the area to be used and be certain of its suitability for the program and the group.

Protected waters may be suitable including lakes, harbours, estuaries, rivers and dams, provided that the sailing area is defined, clearly marked and Waterways Authority approved. The venue must comply with AYF rule 1.3 (safety) addendum A.

Protected waters are those protected from the extremes of the sea by reefs, headlands or islands and can include harbours, estuaries and lakes. This would infer the ocean swell is broken and that there is limited fetch.

The teacher-in-charge must check with the Waterways Authority or with any other appropriate authority as to whether there are any restrictions on the use of the chosen location.

If schools are conducting their own sailing program they should obtain a Waterways Aquatic Licence. If using a sailing club or commercial sailing school they should sight this licence, particularly where a racing program is conducted requiring a registered course to be set.

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The instructor or leader is to check all rigging, PFD fittings and clothing requirements when participants have completed their checks and prior to any participant going onto the water.

All boats used must meet the safety requirements as specified by the AYF safety regulations Off The Beach Yachts for dinghies, catamarans and sailboards. For fixed keel yachts, trailable yachts and multi-hulls they should hold the appropriate Safety Compliance form as specified in the AYF safety regulations.

Students must be instructed to learn the Rules of the Road as set out by Waterways Authority before being allowed onto the water.

Students must only sail within the defined and marked area. It is recommended that the area for sailing not exceed a one (1) km radius and reduced according to the experience of the participants and the prevailing conditions.

A suitably equipped rescue boat (motorised with an appropriate propeller guard), with an experienced operator holding a current power boat licence, must be provided in a ratio of one (1) rescue boat for ten (10) sail craft or part thereof. This ratio may need to be reduced where circumstances warrant. A two-way communication back to shore is recommended.

Students are not to participate in sailing unless they are capable of demonstrating an ability to handle an emergency situation on the water at that venue. In very sheltered waters where sailing is conducted close to shore, a participant must be able to swim, as a minimum, 50m with the aid of a PFD.

Under normal school sailing conditions with a mixed fleet, a participant should be able to swim 200m with the aid of an approved PFD or 100m without a PFD. They must also be capable of supporting themselves in the water with a PFD for at least ten minutes.

In singlehanded dinghies, the participant must be an experienced sailor or be supervised by personnel in an approved rescue boat. In two-person dinghies at least one of the two participants must be an experienced sailor or be supervised from an approved rescue boat.

Sailing must only continue where wind speed accords with the sailing class rule with leaders/instructors assessing the suitability of prevailing winds and conditions for the less experienced participants. It is incumbent on the teacher to check the local weather forecast (available over the phone from Telstra Weather line) to determine that conditions are acceptable for the duration of the sailing activity. Sailing must not continue when wind speeds exceed 25 knots.

A head count or roll check is to be made every time students enter and leave the water.

Students must be instructed to stay with their boat in the event of a capsize and signal or wait for help or assistance if necessary.

A direct means of communication back to a base must be available to the leader of the activity. This could be a mobile phone or two-way radio. The leader must allow for the fact that mobile telephones may not operate in all locales.

A waterproof bag similar to a "drysac", or any other waterproof container, must be available to ensure the safe working condition of the communication devices.

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