Risk Assessment

Hazard / ConsequenceHaz Severity/Probability/RiskControl Measures
Swinging booms/facial or head injury. (Note; two members have suffered facial injury and permanent scaring.) H / M
= H
Ashore ; hoist mainsails (Especially Enterprises) only at water’s edge with rudder and tiller already fitted and boat into wind. Leave kickers slack until afloat. Attach Laser and Topper clews at water’s edge when wind over force 3.
Participants may choose to wear safety helmets.

Instruct students to keep clear of arc of boom.
Afloat : instructors emphasise “ducking” during shore drills and afloat until it has become habitual.
Inverted dinghy and rigging/ entrapment leading to drowning
(Note Nationally there have been a small number of fatal entrapment incidents in recent years.)
VH / VL
= M
TSC have very few trapeze dinghies or dinghies with lower shrouds ( i.e. types which have typically been involved in entrapment incidents)
Trapeze harnesses should have a modern quick release hook.
Lower shrouds may be fitted with tubes of larger diameter than hook openings.
TSC safety boat crews should act as follows : If a small boat with an unstayed mast e.g. a topper is inverted and the crew cannot be seen the stern of the boat should immediately be lifted on to the side of the safety boat to create an air gap. This should also work with a laser.
If a boat with a stayed mast has inverted and the crew cannot be seen, if the dinghy is an Enterprise it is likely that the crew will have their heads inside the airspace and will be OK. Shouting should make contact with them and they may be assisted to duck out and be brought into the safety boat or the dinghy may be righted by one of the methods below to release them.
If the dinghy is of a double bottom type without an airspace righting is urgent and must be attempted as speedily as possible. Four methods may be used
a) Right the boat by getting on to it and using the centreboard / daggerboard in the conventional manner. Two people should be used to do this as quickly as possible.
b) Position the safety boat with it’s bow at the bow of the dinghy and the two boats forming a right angle. Pass the safety boat painter round the forestay of the dinghy and clip it into the bow D ring. Motor ahead firmly keeping the boats at right angles or slightly more. This should bring the dinghy to a position with the rig horizontal. Note that this must not be attempted with anyone visible in the water and is likely to damage the dinghy but has been found to be the quickest method and works with the centreboard retracted.
c) Go bow to amidships of the dinghy, pass a line over the hull and round the far shroud, secure the line and motor as hard as possible in reverse keeping the safety boat at right angles to the dinghy. This should bring the boat upright. i.e. RYA Safety Boat method.
d) Go bow to bow with the boat, grab the bottom of the forestay and work your way up it hand over hand to the mast and then work your way down the underwater shroud. This should bring the boat upright.
Methods b), c) and d) should be used if the centreboard/daggerboardd has retracted or been lost.
Initial training of children is carried out with instructors. Masthead floats should be used for all initial capsize training and should be considered for childrens’ training depending on student ability and conditions. Note that use of a masthead float does not guarantee inversion prevention.
Commercial shipping/ contact and injury, potentially fatal.VH / VL
= M
Activity Organiser (Race officer or Training Senior Instructor or Social Sailing Organiser) contacts Tyne VTS before boats launch and checks shipping. (N.B. this must be by VHF or phone contact not a web site check.)
When shipping is expected during racing time courses are not laid across the fairway. Open Day, Beginner & intermediate training takes place outside the fairway. Organising Committee boat / Safety Boat monitors channel 12 and re-checks timing of any predicted shipping. A lookout is kept upsteam and to seaward. When shipping is approaching safety boats position just outside the fairway on the same side as dinghies and run parallel to it and turn back any dinghies approaching the fairway.

N.B. In the event of a capsized dinghy in the fairway ahead of a ship the crew are to be taken off and Tyne VTS immediately informed that the crew are safe and the dinghy is unmanned.
Safety boat propeller/ contact and physical injury. H / L
= M
Safety boats always approach personnel in the water at controlled speed keeping them well away from the stern of the boat and recover personnel over the forward quarters.
Motor stopped when recovering except when quick action to avoid hazards may be required. Kill cords fitted and worn to enable immediate motor stop.
( Note that in some circumstances e.g approaching a person near to the pier or rocks in high winds/seas stopping the motor is not advisable, in these circumstances standing off and using a heaving line should be considered.)
Deep water/capsize followed by loss of contact & drowningVH / VL = MActivity Organiser obtains weather forecasts, observes wind, sea state and surf conditions and makes go/no go decision to sail depending on experience of participants and safety boat availability, ratio and crew expertise.
Participants wear buoyancy aids at all times.
Safety boats in attendance at all times.
Buoyancy aid fit checked by instructor before going afloat.
Boats reefed to suit wind conditions.
Students instructed in capsize “Golden Rule” stay with the boat.


Open Day visitors assessed for size, agility and consequent capsize/recovery risk and assigned to dinghies accordingly including possible exclusion from sailing.
Surf on beach/ uncontrolled boats injure students.M / M
= M
Activity Organiser decision to sail as above.
Boats launched / recovered one by one with experienced and adequate assistance, without
use of trolleys in significant surf. Safety boat instructs sailors to come in one by one and wait for preceding boats to be recovered.

Adults recover boats at junior training sessions; taster sessions for young children not to be conducted with significant surf.
Cold water immersion/ hypothermiaL / M
= M
Participants are encouraged to wear wetsuits or drysuits in almost all conditions and as a minimum windproof clothing and a hat.
Safety boats carry survival bags and will transfer sufferers to shore.
Warm showers are available under supervision as necessary.

Provide wetsuits for all open day and training participants.
Instructors check students regularly for cold / hypothermia symptoms.
Capsize drills are conducted inshore at the end of the day with immediate transfer ashore available.
Contact with pier/ rocks / bodily injury.L / M
= M
Activity Organiser decision to sail as above.
Safety boats with tow lines in attendance at all times, prepared to rescue students without
boats if necessary.
Pinch point between Safety boats and Dinghies/
Trapped/crushed/bruised Hands.
L / M
= M
Warning to keep hands inside boats. Grasp/fend off dinghies using mast/handles/shrouds.
Weight of Safety Boats and Dinghies and beach obstructions/ manual handling injuries L/M
=M
Adjustment and securing of boats on trolleys ( boats in balance) is to be done using sufficient people to divide loads safely
Use of the winch should be considered.
Children and young people supervised to ensure they do not overstrain.
Specific tasksHoisting /recovering boats from boathouse racking.
Fall from height/ Serious injury H / L
= M
Use ladders in good condition. Foot ladders. Hold the ladder / racking with one hand and use the other hand to carry out the operations i.e. insert / remove racking safety pin and engage / disengage racking beam from uprights.

Keep silent and comply with the instructions of a single operations leader appointed at the outset.
Hit by falling boat or beam /leading to injuryH / M= HDo not enter spaces under boats during hoisting. Only enter when support beams are in place and pinned and then except when positioning inner ladders

Note: Hazard Severity and Probability are judged according to the guidance “Risk Memoir” below. Hazard Severity is based on what is known to have happened and if in doubt should be “worst case”. Probability is also based on known statistics or experience.

For example: TSC has had at least two people who have been injured by swinging Enterprise booms, in one instance causing a permanent quite visible facial scar and in the other a black eye which could easily have been a serious eye injury. Hence the hazard severity is High. However these two incidents occurred during a 30 year timespan so the probability is Medium i.e. quite possible. Risk is then taken from the matrix below. In the above case High.

The methodology is common in workplaces and there are many examples on-line including a similar matrix on HSE’s web site. For risks of High or Very High control measures must be implemented and they should be devised / improved for any risk of medium or above.

M J Shipway

NEBOSH Diploma Occupational Safety and Health

RYA Dinghy Senior Instructor and Powerboat Instructor

Onetime member Courtaulds Ltd Risk Assessment methodology working group.

Chief Safety Advisor International Paint 1995 -2005

TSC Training Principal 2006-2018