The Coast Guard demonstrates a rescue during a Safety at Sea seminar. Photo by John Stefancik.

Cruisers Invited to Hands-On Learning

Boaters can learn how to prepare for emergencies from sailing experts during a workshop in Annapolis next month. The 41st Safety at Sea Seminar, sponsored by the Marine Trades Association of Maryland, will focus on safety and seamanship suitable for inshore and offshore racing and cruising sailors. 

Held April 1 and 2 at the U.S. Naval Academy, part of the seminar is a requirement for racing sailors, but the course offerings also include beneficial safety lessons for any mariner. While the racing seminars are full, the general boating public is invited to join the Cruising Course which includes presentations by some of the foremost personnel in the field. Learn about such topics as voyage preparation, crew health and emergency medicine, marine weather, safety gear, man-overboard prevention/recovery and electronic navigation.

Saturday highlights include a helicopter rescue demonstration by the Coast Guard and a man overboard simulation performed by midshipmen. The public can observe both demos Saturday at 11:50 a.m. in the Severn River adjacent to the Glen Warner Soccer Facility near Santee Basin. 

On the second day of the seminar, attendees may choose either hands-on training with life rafts, tethers, and other practical safety tools in the pool on campus or they can attend a Safety for Cruising Couples presentation created by the Cruising Club of America (CCA).

Past CCA Commodore Sheila McCurdy teaches the course for couples or any two people who boat together, where one person has more experience than the other, designed to be taken by both. The course expands on communications and navigation topics taught in the Saturday classes and focuses on other basics, like starting the engine, turning off the autopilot, furling/dropping sails (or slowing down for power-boaters), making a call on VHF 16, determining the vessel’s position, and personal safety tips.

Man overboard demonstration at Safety at Sea. Photo by  Renee Mehl.

Originally designed for academy midshipmen 41 years ago following the tragic 1979 Fastnet race, the Safety at Sea Program has been credited with saving countless lives. The US Sailing Safety at Sea programs have become required attendance for those participating in ocean races. Whether racing or cruising, power or sail, the Safety at Sea program is helpful training to anyone spending time on boats. 

The two-day Cruisers Course is $320 per couple and begins Saturday, April 1 at 8 a.m. in Alumni Hall. Advanced registration is encouraged: call 410-269-0741.