Policy for Risk Management and Reporting of Shark Sightings 


Yachting SA expects that Club Officials will ensure that all safety procedures for on-water activities are reviewed regularly to ensure that our sailors and their families can be confident that every effort is being made to supervise their safety.

Yachting SA are satisfied that in general our standard safety procedures are appropriate, but remind clubs that adequate safety boats, commensurate with the number of sailing boats racing at your club should be on the water to supervise racing and provide a rapid response to capsized boats.

We recommend that if possible additional safety boats be recruited over weekend when shark activity has been reported by the Police and Surf Lifesaving groups or in the media.

Yachting SA recommends the implementation of additional safety efforts also when major regattas are being conducted at these times, particularly for youth and junior classes.  In particular we propose that Clubs should increase the number of safety boats available.  This may be achieved partly by utilising the boats of other state and overseas coaches, who will be in attendance at the event. 

We also seek the support of those clubs, which are not hosting regattas to assist.  We ask that all Clubs offer to provide one of you club boats to complement the rescue fleet of the regatta host clubs in the interest of our whole sailing fraternity.

If your Sailing Club Race Management craft sights a shark.

General shark sightings (non threatening) should be reported to Fishwatch on 1800 065 522

When any shark is assessed to pose an immediate threat to the safety of persons in the vicinity and to request assistance,
please call the police (SAPOL) on 000

Shane Daw from Surf Life Saving Association has advised that when there is a sighting along any of the beaches, the pilot will sound a siren and attempt to coax the shark away from swimmers or sailors and out to sea.

The plane/helicopter crew will also contact SA Police, who will then forward information on to the Water Police who take control in this situation.  It is their responsibility to get one of their vessels down to the sighting area and if the shark remains in the area, to use any of the volunteer organisations, Surf Life, Sea Rescue, Coastguard or even a sailing club (if they have rescue craft on the water in the vicinity) to assist under the supervision of the police officer in charge.


Yachting SA strongly recommends that all sailing clubs develop a policy and implement a safety procedure, which provides for rescue boat crews to pick up boat crews and return them to their boats without penalty.  This would be appropriate in case of shark sightings, potential hypothermia, exhaustion and other situations where the safety of sailors is a primary concern.

This will require an addition to your Club Sailing Instructions to provide for that action to occur. Refer to the Yachting SA - Sailing Instructions for Class and Association Events, Rule 2.2 for an example of the modification required or you may use the following statement:

The racing rule(s) will be changed as follows:
Rule 41 - Outside Help is changed to read, ?Race officials and safety boat crews may pick up boat crews and return them to their boats for safety reasons.  The sail number of a boat which receives outside help will be notified to the Race Committee with details of the incident and a hearing may be held (if required) to determine any penalty.  The penalty for Rule 41 shall be at the discretion of the Race Committee.?


Other Links
  Surf Life Saving SA