Operating Procedures

Note. Text in bold applies additionally to training activities.

1.    Introduction

These operating procedures, associated appendices and evidence trail demonstrate that organisation of activities at Tynemouth Sailing Club (TSC) has been thought through and that by following them activities will be conducted in a competent manner with sensible measures of risk control and accident response to ensure the safety, wellbeing and enjoyment of everyone involved and compliance with the relevant byelaws and regulations.
Most of the procedures are not new. They simply document and reinforce existing good practice which has been developed by members over many years. They also include many of the provisions of the Port of Tyne Byelaws and Guidance for Recreational River Users. Activity has been risk assessed. The control measures detailed in the risk assessments are included in these procedures.
Activity Organisers, Instructors and Volunteers are reminded that documented procedures by themselves are no defence in law unless the weight of testimony, in case of an incident, shows that they were established and followed.

2.    Applicability

These procedures and associated paperwork shall apply to all on water activities of TSC held on the River Tyne estuary and the North Sea. The Club Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy and arrangements shall also apply. Racing is additionally governed by TSC Sailing Instructions. Port of Tyne byelaws apply.

3.    Supervision

A responsible person; an “Activity Organiser” shall be present and in charge of all activities. When racing this shall be the Race Officer. When training it shall be the Senior Instructor (SI) in charge or Chief Powerboat Instructor. All other club organised ad hoc sailing shall be in charge of the member organising it who shall be a member named on the Duty Rota as a Race Officer or an SI. If the Race Officer nominated on the published Duty Rota has to be substituted it shall be by another Race Officer who’s name appears on the rota.
The Activity Organiser should brief those preparing to launch when appropriate. This may be carried out via VHF or phone and a delegated person at the club.
When open meetings or championships are being hosted the organising authority (normally the club) may designate individuals to be separately in charge of safety boat co-ordination and activity and of beach launching and retrieval. The Race officer shall remain in overall charge of the event on the water.
Further guidance on Race Officer duties is given here

When more than one SI is present they shall agree who is in charge at any given time. Current SIs are Mike Shipway, Sarah Kincaid and Chris Mayes (Training Principal)
The Instructors will brief the trainees in their charge before going afloat. (golden rule, sailing area, training exercises etc.)
Instructors and regular Volunteers will be asked to read and sign off to confirm they have read and will follow these procedures.

4.    Responsibility

Whilst the Activity Organiser is in charge of organising and directing on water activity the responsibility for the management and safety of each individual dinghy including it’s seaworthiness and compliance with collision regulations and Port of Tyne byelaws remains that of the helm or onboard instructor.

5.    Solo Sailing

The club strongly discourages members from sailing outside organised activity. The clubhouse, club facilities and club dinghies and equipment are not available for any activity not organised in accordance with these procedures. The club however has no jurisdiction over launching from Prior’s Haven beach.

6.    Preparation

The Activity Organiser shall obtain weather and sea state forecasts which may include Port of Tyne weather feeds. Personal observations (e.g. from the Spanish battery) may also be made. They shall then, also considering the number and competence of the anticipated fleet and safety boats, make a go/no go decision to sail.
Members listed on the Duty Rota should ensure they are familiar with Safety and Committee boat access and operation including Royal Quays procedures.

The SI will complete a Session Plan including a risk assessment and brief Instructors, safety boat crews and volunteers before launching, either verbally or in writing, together or individually. Briefing will include weather forecast, shipping details and training area(s).

7.    Liason with Port of Tyne

At least an hour before dinghies are due to launch the Activity organiser shall contact Port of Tyne VTS by VHF radio (channel12) or by phone. (0191 ) They shall inform VTS of planned activity and ascertain any expected shipping movement. Note that shipping sailing times often change up to the last minute and at short notice so verbal contact is required. Web site inspection is insufficient. Note also that dredgers may be operating at unscheduled times. Port of Tyne require notification of an afloat mobile phone emergency number.
On departure from Royal Quays the Activity Organiser whether in the committee boat or a safety boat should notify VTS of their departure and destination. The mandatory contact required above may be done at the same time

8.    Radios & Radio Monitoring

All safety boats are equipped with fixed or hand held VHF sets. These should be turned on and checked before departing Royal Quays or the beach. Although TSC (and SSSC) operate on channel 37a/M1 the Activity Organiser shall monitor channel 12. This will keep them informed of any shipping movements and allow them to alert safety boats to approaching shipping. Note that Tyne VTS and pilot boats may attempt radio contact via channel 12. They will under no circumstances use channel 37a/M1. In default of contact via channel 12 they will attempt mobile phone contact. Crews should also know how to access Channel 16 the emergency / coastguard channel. Radio operation and usage guidance is detailed here (still being generated) and emergency Mayday call procedure is detailed on cards in the boats.
Mobile phones may be useful in some emergency situations. It may be quicker to summon an ambulance to TSC by using a mobile and calling 112 or 999 rather than calling the coastguard using VHF. The coastguard may also be contacted via 112 or 999.
Procedures in sections 7 and 8 conform to the Communications Protocol for Sailing Events on the River Tyne. Other contact numbers e.g. SSSC, Coastguard are given here.

RIBs being primarily used as Instruction or Coaching boats should also carry radios.

9.   Fairway Safety

When shipping is expected a race course shall not be set across the fairway or round any of the channel marks. (An adjacent mark clearly outside the channel may be laid.) Buoys must not be placed in the channel at any time. Further advice on setting courses is available on laminated sheets in the committee boat.
Immediately an outgoing ship is in sight at the ferry landing bend or an incoming ship is in sight aligned to the fairway outside the piers any dinghies in the fairway should be instructed by the safety boats to vacate it. The safety boats should then patrol just outside the fairway and parallel to it in advance of the ship. They should display flag F (red diamond on white background) and should turn back any dinghy approaching the fairway.
Note that sailors may perceive the pilot boats to be highly manouverable and unconstrained by draught relative to large ships. Port of Tyne regard the pilot boats as commercial craft and dinghies should keep out of their way. Commercial fishing boats such as those that operate from the Fish Quay should also be kept clear of.
In the event of a capsized dinghy in the fairway with an approaching ship in sight the crew should be taken off and the dinghy left. Tyne VTS shall be immediately notified on channel 12 that there are no crew on board so that they may notify the ship.

Training will be held in areas outside the fairway as detailed in paragraph 21 below and shown here : Note that since the chart made, a new notice from Port of Tyne announced that a swimming area between groyne and brigade has been introduced, not shown on chart

10.  Safety Boat Arrangements

The safety helm in charge of the boat should be drawn from those named as safety helms on the Duty Rota. The boat’s fuel state and equipment should be checked before leaving Royal Quays or launching from the Haven. Safety boat equipment is detailed in this checklist in accordance with the RYA / MCA training guidance checklist. At least one safety boat must be afloat and manned before dinghies launch. It should initially position off the Haven and launching should not take place until it is seen.
During activity the safety boat should position outside the course area /area of activity preferably upwind/ up sea of activity in a position where all the dinghies can be observed without having to look behind. If shipping is expected it should also position so as to observe the fairway upstream or to seaward as appropriate.
At the end of activity the safety boat should position off the Haven to see all dinghies safely ashore and the helm in charge should satisfy themselves that there are no vacant trollies left on the beach and everyone is ashore safely before departing to Royal Quays.

When Instructors are needed to assist launching of training dinghies (e.g. Friday Night) their instruction boat(s) should be launched and anchored inshore and the launching of each group of dinghies should be covered by the first RIB safety boat. The additional safety / instruction boats will be manned when directed by the SI. They shall be manned by at least one adult and one other person who has the strength and ability to assist with a rescue and shall be at least 14 years old. Boats used for instruction and not needed to fulfil safety boat ratio requirements may be single manned.
Crew will be allocated to safety/instruction boats by the SI who shall nominate the person in charge of the boat who shall hold an RYA Powerboat Level 2 or Safety Boat certificate or be recognised by the RTC Training Principal as competent by personal observation of their boat handling and his awareness of their knowledge, experience and judgement. See Appendix 20.
14ft and 16ft aluminium boats “tin boats” and the small white Highfield beach launched RIB will not normally be used for RYA courses which will be covered by the Searider or VSR RIBs and the Committee Boat. If they are needed to substitute for a RIB because a RIB is unserviceable the RIB flare pack shall be transferred to the substitute boat. When used for Friday Night training the tin boats must be used in conjunction with the RIBs. Tin boats (Except the 18ft “Big Tin” mark lay boat) must never be used outside the harbour training areas.
The maximum number of dinghies shall be (Not including free sailing adult club members)
1 safety boat 6 dinghies
2 safety boats 15 dinghies
3 safety boats 30 dinghies

11.  Launching

Launching of dinghies should not take place until a safety boat is present in the lower harbor.
When training, boats must not be launched by students until permission has been given by the Instructor. Instructors shall check that the boats in their charge are seaworthy and properly rigged and equipped. (Bungs, buoyancy, reefing, rig settings etc)
The mainsails of dinghies (especially Enterprises) should only be hoisted at the shoreline with the boat into wind and the rudder and tiller already fitted. Students should be warned of the danger from swinging boom ends and reminded to keep clear of the arc of a no-go area round the stern of the boat particularly in higher winds.
The clew attachments of Laser 1s and Toppers should similarly be made at the water’s edge when the wind is over force 3.

12.  Coming Ashore/Retrieval

When there is surf on the beach safety boats should instruct dinghies to come ashore at spaced intervals. The first participants to come ashore can then assist later boats.
Instructors should ensure that singlehanded boats come ashore at intervals, not all together and that there is appropriate assistance available to pull boats clear of the sea depending on the experience and physical abilities of students and the wind direction and sea state. Mainsails should be dropped / clews detached and sails furled as soon as practicable.
Boats should come ashore on Friday Night in time to allow de-rigging before it is dark.
Safety boats and dinghies should be retrieved using sufficient manpower (and the winch) to divide the load safely.

13.  Changing

If crews are cold get them to change first and then de-rig and put boats away.

14.  Head Count

For club racing a check shall be made at the end of sailing that no trollies are left on the beach and thus all boats and personnel are accounted for. This may be done by the Safety Boat just off shore or the crew may request someone ashore to carry it out and confirm the result by radio.
For Open Meetings and Championships a sign out / sign in procedure will be used with the option of a tally board.

At the end of training the SI will check that all participants are safety accounted for. Intermediate checks should be made (e.g. at any break when everyone should be ashore) and Instructors will regularly check singlehanded students when on the water.

15.  First Aid and Accident /Incident reporting

All safety boats carry a first aid kit and there is a first aid cabinet just inside the club. Qualified first aiders are listed inside the cabinet door and here.
Accidents and “near miss” incidents of all kinds should be written up in the accident book kept in the first aid cupboard and reported to a committee member or the training principle. See this procedure. The First Aid cupboard contents are listed here.

Instructors should check at regular intervals that novice students are “OK”. If a student appears unwell or possibly injured e.g. is shivering, suffers a knock to the head from a boom, capsizes or cuts themselves, the Instructor should satisfy himself that they can safely continue afloat. If not they shall be returned to shore. A student under 18 must be placed under supervision of an adult ashore. (Their parent or guardian if present or person acting “in loco parentis”, School Staff if present, a First Aider or a responsible adult nominated by the SI in charge beforehand.) An adult “casualty” should not be left unaccompanied until they are sufficiently recovered to safely do so.
The Instructor should be satisfied that adequate first aid can be rendered ashore before sending a student ashore or should accompany them and render it themself, even if they have to bring other students ashore to ensure their safety.

All injuries/accidents and treatment shall be logged in the accident book kept in the First Aid cupboard and shall be reported to the SI.

16.  Emergency Procedure

In the event of a serious accident or life-threatening illness e.g. contact with a propeller/suspected heart attack the safety boat crew should;
• Administer Cardiac/Pulmonary Resuscitation if necessary. If cardiac massage is required get the casualty into a safety boat to allow compression against the floor of the boat.
• Staunch any bleeding.
• Call VHF Channel 16 or phone 112 or 999 and ask for the Ambulance Service. Request an ambulance to attend TSC immediately.( By mobile phone or call Humber Coastguard by VHF and they will arrange.)
• Get the casualty to shore. If they cannot easily be transferred from a dinghy then tow the dinghy. (Alongside is likely to be quickest.) If this cannot be accomplished with resources to hand call Humber Coastguard (by VHF or by mobile 112 or 999) and ask for assistance. i.e. RNLI.
• Transfer the casualty to shore; it may be easiest to bring the boat ashore with them in it. If a swell is making beach landing difficult and time allows (e.g. a broken leg rather than a heart attack) the casualty may be taken upriver and landed at the ferry jetty.
• Make the casualty comfortable.
• Transfer the casualty to the care of the Ambulance Service.
• Immediately alert the Activity Organiser who will take charge of post incident family information / statement taking and police and press arrangements in accordance with post incident procedures.

The location to give when calling is NE 30 4 DD or Lat 55deg 1min N Long 1deg 23min W
If a single safety boat is in use arrangements should be made to bring dinghies ashore or re-establish safety cover as soon as possible. However unless others are at significant and serious risk (e.g. in danger of contact with a pier with a high swell running) the casualty must be given priority and they may be temporarily left. (Boats can always be left.)

17.  Equipment

It is a member’s responsibility to ensure their dinghies are maintained to a seaworthy standard at all times. Club committee members and instructors may request a buoyancy test on behalf of the sailing secretary and should point out any significant safety critical defects observed in members’ boats.

Club dinghies shall be maintained to a seaworthy standard under the supervision of the training principal. Defects should be notified as they occur to the SI in charge at the time and additionally should be noted in the book kept for the purpose next to the phone by the clubhouse door. If necesary the SI or Training Principal shall ensure by notification to others and/or by obvious removal of critical equipment that an unseaworthy boat cannot be used.
All club boats shall receive a full annual equipment check which shall be recorded.
Members’ boats which are to be used for training shall be inspected at least annually by the Training Principal or by the SI in charge of the first session at which they are used before being used for instruction. They shall satisfy themselves that the boats are seaworthy and record the inspection in writing for retention by the Training Principal.

18.  Clothing and Changing: Buoyancy Aids

Bouyancy aids (or lifejackets) shall be worn by all participants at all times.

Inexperienced students will be told in advance what clothing to bring. See What to wear – adults and – Children. Waterproofs and wetsuits will be provided where available from club stocks.
Club buoyancy aids will be provided for non-club members. Buoyancy aids (or lifejackets) will be worn by all persons afloat at all times in accordance with club rules.
Instructors shall check that inexperienced students are adequately clothed and that their buoyancy aids are of the correct size and properly worn.
Changing will normally be carried out after any initial classroom instruction. The club Child Protection Policy shall be observed.

19.  Administration

Application forms for RYA courses and Friday Night Childrens’ Training are shown at appendices 26 and 27. They may be made on line. Adult trainees will provide medical and next of kin details using this form. Parental permission & medical details for minors to participate will be obtained by the club using this form prior to participation except that in the case of school groups the school will perform this function. The SI will check any medical risks with school groups. This may be carried out electronically but a hard copy of any medical conditions will be kept ashore and available during courses. At the end of each course participant feedback will be collected.

20.  Instructor Arrangements

New instructors will be vetted as detailed in Child Protection self- disclosure process and will be briefed and inducted as detailed in Instructor Induction

Instructors will be allocated to boats and training groups by the SI.
Each Instructor present shall be responsible for a maximum of 6 training boats and a maximum of 9 students. E.g. 6 singlehanded toppers or 3 double handed toppers plus 3 singlehanded lasers or 4 double handed Enterprises plus one singlehanded Laser. “Instructor” includes those holding the appropriate RYA certificate for the instruction taking place including a club assistant instructor certificate. On Friday Nights boats being free sailed by adult club members with informal coaching from uncertificated club members will not be classed as training boats.
Instructors are required to adhere to the RYA Instructors Code of Conduct.
Current Instructors are listed here. A payment policy exists if we run out of club volunteers

20.  RYA Course Content and Training Areas

RYA course programmes are shown at appendices 35,36 and 37.
Sailing training will normally take place within a triangle whose corners are the North Pier lighthouse, No 1 buoy and the Clubhouse. Boats should keep well clear of the Spanish Battery rocks and the pier to seaward of the “four poles.”
Exceptionally when (north) wind or (southeast) swell make this area unsuitable training may take place within a quadrilateral whose corners are Herd Sands Buoy, Groyne Tower, South Shields Life Brigade House, and a point halfway along the South Pier. Transit across the fairway channel to reach this area shall take place with Instructors at the helm or in case of singlehanded boats under close safety/instruction boat supervision or under tow. Transit of the fairway channel shall not take place if commercial shipping moving towards the crossing point is visible either upriver or to seaward.
The areas are shown on the estuary training chart.
Training areas for advanced courses may be varied by the Training Principal referencing the names of the club racing marks.

Powerboat training will take place inside Royal Quays Marina (for slow speed work, and coming alongside etc.) and in the Tyne estuary i.e. the area to the east of Groyne lighthouse, west of a line between the pier lighthouses and bounded by the piers themselves (for high speed work, anchouring etc). The transit between Royal Quays and the estuary will only be used for training correct river navigation in accordance with the syllabus and Port of Tyne byelaws as will the shipping channel in the estuary itself. A passage from Priors Haven to Cullercoats harbour may also be made. The point of departure for training is Tynemouth Sailing Club.