Advice for all sailors

Personal risk assessment

Before setting sail from Shoreham Sailing Club we advise all individuals to carry out a risk assessment taking into account the following (for themselves, their crew and anyone they are responsible for);

  • The weather forecast and tides (before leaving home and at the club);
    • Wind strength – What wind strengths are you comfortable and confident sailing in?
    • Wind direction – Does this affect launch and recovery and where you intend to sail?
    • Tide times – When will this change (usually 1 hour before published time at sea)?
    • Tide direction – Will this affect the sea state in relation to the weather conditions?
    • The weather conditions at club – Are they as expected? Should you change plans?
  • Boat: Check all fixtures and fittings to ensure that your boat(s) is/are seaworthy and can cope with the conditions you plan to set sail in.
  • Useful safety equipment to consider carrying on board
    • EPIRB, VHF or phone in a waterproof bag – consider using the Safetrx App.
    • Long towline and anchor
    • Paddle
    • Water and food
    • Spare clothing
  • Clothing: Make sure you, your crew and those you are responsible for are wearing personal flotation devices and are suitably dressed for the current and forecast conditions.
  • Temperature: Take into account the temperature of the air and water in what you wear so as to avoid the extremes of hypothermia and sunstroke.
  • Sunscreen: The sun may not appear strong but it is always adviseable to wear sunscreen on exposed skin.
  • Make a plan for your sailing based on;
    • Tide direction and strength – Best practice is to sail up-tide first
    • Wind direction and strength – Best practice is to sail upwind first
    • Weather forecast – Is there a front coming in which will limit your sailing time?
    • Temperature (of air and water) – How long do you intend to sail for?
    • Distance from shore – How far out are you comfortable with?
  • Tell someone of your plan to sail and the timing of your return – see Coastguard Watch (opposite) who can be contacted if the station is manned.
  • Have a launch and recovery plan, taking into account wind direction and tide. For single handers a long painter or tow line may be useful to hold onto or for tying off if the conditions are right.
    • Launch either side of high tide as shorter distance to move trolley
    • How will you move your trolley after launching boat?
    • How will you recover your trolley when boat is on the water?
  • When on the water always stay alert for;
    • Changes to weather patterns and sea states – should you cut short you sailing plan?
    • Shipping – particularly when in the Port. Keep clear of all commercial traffic. The light on the middle harbour arm (opposite the club) will flash when a vessel is coming in or out of the Port
  • On return, inform your nominated person.


In advance of going afloat make sure you familiarise yourself with the RNLI’s advice on Calling for Help and further safety advice. When coming ashore in an emergency you may want to consider alternative landing locations like Kingston Beach.

The first aid kit in the club is on the upstairs landing by the entrance to the clubroom.

The RNLI are sea safety experts and have collected together all their advice in one place. They have put together a comprehensive guide to coastal safety, so you know what dangers to look out for when you head to the coast.

Coastguard Watch

The National Coastguard Watch are based in the Shoreham Coast Watch Station overlooking the harbour entrance.

When manned it keeps a watch over all vessels entering and leaving the harbour and will call for assistance if they see a vessel they consider to be in trouble. The station has a high-powered optical scope and binoculars giving a visual horizon of 5.5 nm and radar with a horizon of 6 nm.

  • Tel: 01273 463292
  • VHF channel 65 (Call sign: Shoreham NCI)