CCA/Bermuda Race Safety Seminar to be held in March at Newport

Registration is open for the Cruising Club of America’s biennial US Sailing-sanctioned Safety at Sea Seminar, March 19-20, 2016 at the Marriott Hotel in Newport, RI.  This seminar addresses the needs of participants in the 2016 Newport Bermuda Race. Like all sanctioned Safety at Sea seminars, it welcomes (and offers considerable information for) cruisers, racing crews and skippers, and delivery crews. The offshore environment is the same for the race and the delivery home, and both boat and crew require advance preparation. 

Gulf Stream squalls ahead. (Rousmaniere)

Gulf Stream squalls ahead.

The following rules concerning safety training apply to boats entering the 2016 Newport Bermuda Race: “A minimum of 30% of all crew members shall have attended a US Sailing-sanctioned safety at sea seminar within five years of the start of the race.  The captain and either the navigator or a watch captain must be included in the required 30%.  In addition, two members of each crew must hold a First Aid/CPR certificate.”  (In 2018 the race will require two crew in each boat to have ISAF certification.)

Many providers of safety at sea services and products will be on hand Saturday with exhibits.

BruceBrown demonstrates a life raft at a safety seminar. (Rousmaniere)

Bruce Brown demonstrates a life raft.

Saturday Safety at Sea Seminar

Bruce Brown will moderate Saturday’s Safety at Sea Seminar as well as the Sunday Practical Hands-On Training Session.  Bruce has extensive experience working on the West Coast with sailors, and moderating seminars for Pacific Cup crews as well as commercial fishermen.

Speakers and topics:

  • Larry Huntington,  heavy weather.
  • John Rousmaniere, lessons learned from recent incidents.
  • Ron Trossbach, changes in offshore regulations, Bermuda Race safety regulations, and new safety equipment.
  • Frank Bohlen, marine weather and sea state.
  • Christopher McNally, offshore communications.
  • Jeff Wisch, seasickness, dehydration, and hypothermia and their effects on seamanship.
  • Bruce Brown, MOB prevention and recovery, rescue at sea and the ethics of giving assistance.
  • Karen Prioleau, crew preparation and training.
  • Will Keene and Bruce Brown, essentials of damage control and abandoning ship.
  • Henry Marx, personal safety equipment and life rafts.

Materials will be sent by email in advance of the seminar.

Saturday ISAF Offshore Personal Survival Refresher

The Refresher allows attendees to renew ISAF certificates and other experienced sailors to acquire their certificate in one day.  An online training option is anticipated to be available (for an additional fee) from US Sailing early in January 2016 to allow sailors to test their knowledge and be qualified for the ISAF refresher.  ISAF Refresher attendees will attend the morning SAS session before being transported to an afternoon pool session. All certificates are valid for five years.

Sunday Practical Hands-On Training

In the pool. (Rousmaniere)

In the pool. (Rousmaniere photos)

Combined with the Saturday seminar, this yields the coveted ISAF Approved Offshore Personal Survival Course certificate.  This certificate is highly recommended for the 2016 Newport Bermuda Race and required for such races as the Fastnet, the Sydney-Hobart, and races in Mexico and Canada.  ISAF certification includes hands-on training with your PFD and inflation, as well as pool time with your inflated PFD in offshore clothing. Attendees will gain knowledge in the use of life rafts, boarding, and righting skills from experienced instructors.   Flares and fire-fighting skills will also be covered.  An exam (passing grade of 80) is part of the certification process.

Sunday Newport Bermuda Race Preparation Seminar

This is aimed at sailors planning to participate in the Newport Bermuda Race, organized by the Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and starting on June 17, 2016. Moderated by Kenyon Kellogg, this seminar will include a discussion of the race and its prize structure led by Jim Teeters.  Others will present on the Gulf Stream, preparing the boat, sail selection, and developing a pre-race strategy. A question and answer session will follow.

Sunday Medical Seminar

Dr. Jeff Wisch (Bermuda Race Medical Chair) and Dr. Barbara Masser (ER specialist and Bermuda Race consulting physician) will focus on the duties of the boat’s medical officer and the unexpected accidents and events this person may face. Scenarios will be presented to allow attendees to discuss their options as they interact with “medical control.”

Click here to register for the March 19-20 CCA/Bermuda Race Safety at Sea Seminar.

Questions regarding the seminar:  safety

For more information about the Newport Bermuda Race, click on this brief description or go to the race website,


The Cruising Club of America views safety at sea as an important part of its mission and encourages sailors to access articles written by members and posted on the CCA’s public website:  




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