The terms of the Civil Liability (Personal Responsibility) Act 2002 make it appropriate for us to give you the following warning about the risks inherent in sailing.
Sailing is a sport that involves interacting with the uncontrollable and difficult to predict elements of nature, and therefore involves a degree of risk. Many of the risks inherent in the sport are intuitive. Without seeking to list all possibilities the following are bought to your attention.
- There is a significant risk of bruises, cuts, scratches and other injuries resulting from contact with the boat or collision with other boats. Flapping sails or unanticipated changes in wind direction or in the direction of the boat can cause a spar to bump the head or other part of the body or cause a rope flick injury. These injuries can occur both afloat or while near a boat on land.
- When launching or coming ashore, hard surfaces below the high tide line can become slippery, resulting in slip and fall injuries. Oysters and other sharp marine creatures can also grow on these surfaces. Sharp objects can be hidden in sand or weed below the water which can cut or pierce feet or other parts of the body. Proximity to the elements makes it more likely for nails or splinters to be raised in wooden decks and floors and these can also cause foot injuries and trip hazards. The wet feet of sailors can make surfaces slippery.
- Because of reflected glare, sunburn will occur more rapidly than normal on unprotected skin. Dehydration or hypothermia can occur in those who do not heed and prepare for the conditions.
- Most injuries are relatively minor. However on occasions the injury can be more significant.
- When sailing dinghies on inshore waters, really serious injuries of the type that can cause permanent disablement or even death are statically very rare but can and do occur. As with any water sport, the possibility of drowning is also present. While for many sailing activities a patrol boat might be present, the boat cannot be everywhere at once, can not observe every incident that occurs and may not always recognize an observed incident as being a serious one requiring immediate response.
You can help reduce risk to yourself while sailing by always following the following guidelines.
- Always wear footwear while sailing or on club premises
- Always wear a life vest and adequate sun protection while sailing
- Always examine launching ramps before using them to see how slippery they are
- Always check the weather forecast before going sailing. You are responsible for the decision of whether to sail or continue sailing and for ensuring the people on your boat are competent for the conditions.
- Do not run or skylark when around clubs, especially on decks and on launching ramps
- Beware of flapping sails
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