This year’s Safety at Sea Seminars are once again a smashing success in terms of quality and educational value. The expanded participation adds new excitement!

Offshore racers know that World Sailing requires high-quality hands-on safety at sea training for many participants. In the Pacific Northwest, this training has long been presented annually by The Sailing Foundation, a local 501c3 non-profit whose mission centers on “the promotion of sailing in the Pacific Northwest.” 

Participants get first-hand knowledge of how difficult it is to get into a liferaft in all your sailing gear. Photo by Margaret Pommert.

In large part due to its good reputation as immensely valuable education, demand for this training has grown as more cruisers discover this is also the training that they want for their adventures. Last year, The Sailing Foundation’s offering of the US Sailing International Offshore with Hands-on Safety at Sea Training (“SaS” for short) sold out in less than an hour, leaving many sailors disappointed. Responding to the demand and the need, this year The Sailing Foundation scheduled two SaS courses: one on Bainbridge Island that took place in early March and one in Vancouver, WA that is

Instructor Haley Lhamon demonstrating the use of a tether. Photo by Mike Visser.

 taking place this weekend. In total, 180 sailors will participate, from newer boat owners to expert offshore racers. Part of what has enabled more access this year is a shift to a hybrid format. Prior to the hands-on training days, the participants completed a rigorous online Offshore course provided by US Sailing.

One exciting and notable aspect of this year’s trainings in the Pacific Northwest, in addition to the participation of more cruising sailors, is the fact that the percentage of women involved as both instructors and students has also increased to about 50%. These numbers have been growing over several years, and it’s great to see equal representation.

One aspiring offshore sailor summed it up simply after his first SaS training, “This is the most useful sailing education I’ve ever experienced.” While these classes have been described as top quality “next level” training, they are also a lot of fun, as you can see from the March 5, 2023, training on Bainbridge Island. 

Practicing in-the-water formations. Photo by Katie Jennings.
Safety at Sea Moderator, Bruce Brown, demonstrating the use of a flare. Photo by Mike Visser.
Fire fighting training with instructor Eric Hopper. Photo by Mike Visser.

Title background photo by Mike Visser. 

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