July 6, 2020

Jr. Safety at Sea 2020 – a free blended learning approach for young sailors

And, we will offer special sessions for Intercollegiate Sailors

For more than 20 years, the Storm Trysail Foundation/Club Junior Safety-at-Sea program has trained thousands of young sailors in essential skills to sail safety in all conditions and to transition from small boats to larger ones.  One of these skills is the ability to adapt when faced with new circumstances.  The COVID-19 situation clearly poses a new kind of safety risk for sailors of all types.  Accordingly, JrSAS in 2020 will not be using its traditional format of a group setting coupled with several hours of on-the-water practice.  

Instead, we will offer our curriculum on-line in a self-study format that allows students to study at a time of their own convenience and progress at their own rate.  We will also be expanding the program to include intercollegiate sailors.  Best of all, we will be offering this free of charge. Lessons will consist of videos and PowerPoint presentations prepared by Storm Trysail Club experts with thousands of miles in offshore experience.  These will be augmented with a variety of self-directed exercises that can be done at home or on a family or club boat using safe distancing principles.  We will also be offering optional Zoom sessions that allow students to ask questions, learn additional material, and participate in group exercises to strengthen their understanding of the material.  

Assuming sufficient enrollments, intercollegiate sailors will learn additional advanced material and have their own Zoom sessions.  The safety curriculum will be offered as a series of modules, each with a test at the end for students to demonstrate proficiency.  Students completing all sessions successfully will receive a certificate of completion from the Storm Trysail Club.  The curriculum is shown at the end of this document.

A hallmark of the JrSAS program has always been the quality of its on-the-water training.  On-the-water activities this year will be offered in separate sessions, as it becomes safe to do so, applying area-specific regulatory guidance and strict safety protocols developed by the Storm Trysail Club.  These protocols include (but are not limited to) shorter duration of sessions, smaller group sizes , and cleaning of boats between groups of students.  We will announce these sessions as they become available.  Local STC stations may charge a nominal fee for these sessions.  For students in areas where there is no Storm Trysail on-the-water session available, or where parents choose not to have their children participate in group on-the-water training, we will offer a series of parental-directed activities and drills that may be completed on a family, club, or college-owned boat.  We will provide parents with instructions for performing the drills safely.  Parents can make video recordings of students performing their drills and submit them to STC for review and coaching by instructors.  Intercollegiate sailors may use peer coaching.

Schedule/How to Register:

STC plans to make the on-line materials available in early July via a portal that parents/participants first must register for access at stormtrysail.org/jrsas. Any questions, they may contact Kelly Robinson, director of the Junior Safety-at-Sea program for more information at: [email protected].    


Module 1: Weather and Pre-Boarding Preparation.  Includes basic weather training and discussion of weather resources; crew organization; packing for a trip.  Intercollegiate material will include advanced weather and crew organization topics.     

Module 2: Crew Overboard Prevention and Recovery.  Includes methods to minimize crew overboard emergencies, quick-stop recoveries, use of Lifesling and other methods of COB retrieval.  

Module 3:  Safety Gear:  How to select and maintain a personal flotation device (pfd) appropriate for big boat sailing; tethers and jack lines; winch use; engine use; and, other common safety gear.  Intercollegiate sessions will include AIS and EPIRB material.

Module 4:  Health Maintenance: Includes prevention and treatment of common sailing maladies such as seasickness, sunburn, hypothermia, and exposure to air and surface born viruses and microbes on a boat.  

Module 5: Communications:  VHF and cell phone use for safety purposes; what happens when you call the Coast Guard;  making and responding to emergency calls. Intercollegiate sessions will include single side band and satellite communications. 


Students completing both the on-line and on-the-water portions of program will receive a certificate of program completion that is identical to what has been offered in the past at our group seminars.  Students certified in 2019 will automatically have their certification extended through 2020.  Jr/Intercollegiate certification is not a substitute for US Sailing or World Sailing Offshore certification, except in specific races where organizers have allowed such substitution.  In practice, certification may not be a big issue for 2020, because so many races are being cancelled.  But participants should check the NOR and SIs for training requirements related to any race they intend to enter.