Additional Safety Information

Equipment

Required by Cdn. Government:

PFD - There are neoprene gel pfd’s that are approved by Transport Canada and claim to offer mobility, but they interfere with use of a harness. There are some models of inflatable pfd that are approved. Canadian Tire has one for around $160.

Fox-40 whistle, available at Marine stores and MEC.

Recommended:

Helmet - so you don’t get knocked out and drown
reflective tape on helmet or pfd, so the helicopter can spot you in your black wetsuit.

Flashing strobe light - to signal for help and to get found in an emergency, especially after dark.

Spare downhaul line - useful as an emergency tow line, to tie broken bits of equipment together or to replace a broken downhaul.

Safety tips

Before you leave the house, let someone know where you will be sailing and when you expect to report that you’re back on land.

1. Never sail in offshore winds, and don’t get caught when winds shift offshore.

2. Never sail alone. In extreme conditions (cold, etc.) a quorum of 3 is useful, so one person can stay to help the injured sailor and one can go ashore to call for help.

3. Dress warmly enough to survive a couple of hours in, not just on, the water. Remember you lose a HUGE amount of heat from your head - it’s a good idea to wear a hood and just fold it down if you get too warm.

4. If your board and sail separate, grab your board FIRST and then paddle over to save your rig. NEVER LEAVE YOUR BOARD - it will float you and make you visible. You can always dump your rig and paddle to shore if absolutely necessary.

5. Realize that if a rescue is necessary it is not likely that your equipment can be rescued. Be prepared to rescue yourself or your buddy, and also to call 911 if it appears necessary.

6. If you call 911 to initiate a rescue, a very important piece of information is the time and geographic location of the “last known sighting”. This info will go directly to the SAR center to guide the search.

7. “The Range” is actually called Cape Antrim. The point of land on the Eastern side of Chezzetcook Inlet is called Storey Head. Rescue personnel won’t know where “the Range” is without those names.

8. Be proactive. If you see someone setting out in dangerous conditions, you should attempt to speak to them and tell them of the danger. This is particularly important if a group of you is going ashore because of darkness or light winds, and the person in question would be left alone.

9. If you are in doubt as to whether or not to call for help, you should call. A rescue can always be called off, and often time is of the essence.

10. It is a good idea to call for help before attempting to rescue a victim. This is because the time for response can be up to a few hours, and also to cover the possibility that you, the rescuer, might need assistance.

Responsibility for Rescue

Just call 911 and explain the problem, your name, location and phone number, and the “last known sighting” of the victim. This should result in a response from:

The Canadian Coast Guard SAR center (Coast Guard boats and helicopters) if the rescue is on salt water.

The provincial authorities if the rescue is on lakes, rivers or land. The helicopters available to the province do not have lifting capability, but can locate victims and direct rescuers to the site. Depending on the situation and location, other assistance can be requested from the SAR center, from the RCMP, and from volunteer fire departments.

Specific Hazards at Sailing Sites

Stoney Beach Strong current from the river when the tide is mid-low. This current tends to flow along the Eastern shore under the Tea House, then spread out and become weaker. Several swimmers have drowned trying to swim against this current. If you get caught in this rip, stay with your equipment, signal for assistance, and eventually you and your gear are likely to circle around to the West and come near Fox Point.

Lawrencetown Beach Shorebreak is deceptively dumpy and strong, posing a hazard to masts and sails. Be careful not to go near surfers or swimmers, and don’t sail anywhere near the flagged “lifeguarded” zone.

The Range Watch for winds that shift from SW to W or NW and become weaker after a system has passed, especially on a falling tide. (This happens a lot because that’s when conditions at the Range are most fun for wave sailing.) Returning to shore on a small board can be tricky, and the offshore current from a falling tide could carry you way offshore. If this occurs, you should sit on your board and give the distress sign, and be prepared to self-rescue.

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