Safety Training Workshops

SFYC Safety at Sea Training Courses are designed for racers and cruisers alike. This training is full of important curriculum including Basic Navigation, Weather, Celestial Navigation and Sea Survival. SFYC training courses are relevant to racers and cruisers. Classes are taught by Ashley Perrin, Merfyn Owen, and other experienced members of The San Francisco Yacht Club.

Questions? Email [email protected]


2024 Safety at Sea Course Information 

In 2003 World Sailing introduced a standard basic syllabus for the training of safety courses in order to establish an internationally recognized qualification. The training requirements form part of the World Sailing Offshore Special Regulation. These courses are run and established by World Sailing Member National Authorities and conform to World Sailing minimum standards. 

Course topics include:
Emergency procedures
Liferaft operation and in-the-water training
Flare use and training
Fire extinguisher training
Preventative maintenance checklists
Coast Guard communications


The following courses are also offered (as noted) at SFYC, in conjunction with the Safety at Sea week.

CCA Safety for Cruising Couples - NOT CURRENTLY OFFERED

The Cruising Club of America’s Safety for Cruising Couples course will be presented by Ashley Perrin and Moe Roddy, members of both CCA and SFYC, on April 19-20 from 5:30–8:00pm. This course is free of charge with free drinks and snacks. Plus, your Cruise Committee will provide a free course book to the first 10 couples who register!

The course covers a range of essential safety practices, with emphasis on completing a safe voyage with a small crew or a less experienced first mate. Topics include Skipper and Crew Partnership, Position and Navigation, Communications in an Emergency and Dealing with Emergencies. Pre-course learning and documents will be sent out to registered persons a week before the course. For more, check out the CCA’s Course video



The Short Range Certificate is the minimum qualification required by law to control the operation of VHF and VHF Digital Selective Calling (DSC) equipment fitted with a radio. This includes both fixed and hand held equipment using International channels outside US territorial waters.

A radio is an important piece of safety equipment on board and it is vital to understand the correct procedures. Unnecessary transmissions could block out a Mayday distress call. All new VHF sets are either fitted, or can be interfaced, with DSC allowing calls to specific vessels.

Course topics include:

  • Basics of radio operation
  • Correct frequencies (channels) to be used
  • Distress, emergency and medical assistance procedures
  • Making ship to shore telephone calls
  • Digital Selective Calling (DSC) using simulators
  • Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS)
  • Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB)
  • Search and Rescue (SART)

The course will be taught using radio simulators.


Not Currently Offered

Many boats increasingly have radar on board. The International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea state that if you have radar, you must know how to use it.


Not Currently Offered

COLREGs are published by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Learn the "rules of the road" or navigation rules that must be followed by ships and other vessels at sea in order to prevent collisions between two or more vessels. Whether you are a cruiser or racer, you need to know these rules and follow them out on the water.


Not Currently Offered

  • One day course from 8:00am - 5:00pm in the Sailing Center (Eldridge Room -upstairs) Maximum enrollment is 8.
  • Course fee: $130 per person
  • No refunds after October 24.
  • Register here
  • Registrant list (only paid registrants will be shown here)

In a medical emergency a little first aid knowledge and immediate action can save lives, especially in remote locations. This one-day course is designed to provide a working knowledge of first aid for people using small craft and to support skippers.

It fulfills the requirements for:

  • professional skippers of small craft working within 60 miles of a safe haven, including Boatmasters;
  • the Senior First Aid certificate needed by offshore racers subject to ISAF's regulations on first aid training (OSR 4.08.4).
  • The course is recommended by the MCA and HSE.

The subjects specific to boating include:

  • the recovery position in a confined space
  • CPR, including the drowning protocol
  • cold shock and hypothermia from immersion and/or exposure
  • seasickness and dehydration
  • medical assistance or advice by VHF
  • helicopter rescue

Basic Navigation/Day Skipper - NOT CURRENTLY OFFERED

Not Currently Offered

Prerequisite is the Sea Survival course. (Can be signed up to take prerequisite during the training week or can have already taken prerequisite at SFYC.)

The course will be taught over four evenings. The prerequisite is the Sea Survival course. If you haven't taken the prerequisite, you can sign up and complete it at SFYC during the training week. The first evening is on a Friday allowing people the weekend to get up to speed if they need. There are two exam papers.

Course topics include:

  • The basics of seamanship
  • The essentials of coastal navigation and pilotage
  • Chartwork
  • Electronic charts
  • Position fixing
  • Plotting a course to steer
  • Weather forecasting and meteorology
  • Tides
  • Collision regulations


Not Currently Offered

  • 5 - 9 pm each evening.
  • No refunds after October 2
  • Fees: $120

Advanced Navigation - NOT CURRENTLY OFFERED

Not Currently Offered

  • Register here
  • Registrant list (only paid registrants will be shown here)
  • Prerequisite: Basic Navigation Course
  • Course fee: $350 per person (8 student maximum)
  • No refunds after October 3rd.

Advanced training for more experienced skippers building on the Basic Navigation course. This course equips you to navigate safely on coastal and offshore passages concentrating on advanced navigation skills. All students are tested and evaluated at the conclusion of the course.

Course topics include:

  • Position Fixing
  • Course Shaping and Plotting
  • Tidal Knowledge
  • Electronic Position Finding Equipment
  • Collision Regulations

The course is taught from 5:30 - 9:30pm for four nights in the Eldridge Room in the SFYC Sailing Center.

Celestial Navigation - NOT CURRENTLY OFFERED

Not Currently Offered

Four day course on Saturday, March 5th - 9am - 5pm, Monday, March 7th, Tuesday, March 8th, and Wednesday, March 9th - 5:30 - 9:30pm

This is a course in astro-navigation revealing the mysteries of the sextant. Subjects covered include:

  1. The earth and the celestial sphere Using Sun to fix a position: " Use the Nautical Almanac and quick method tables, to fix a position line from an Altitude obtained by a sextant and time obtained from a chronometer."
  2. The PZX Triangle
  3. The Sextant
  4. Measurement of Time
  5. Meridian Altitudes - Determining latitude by celestial means: " Calculate the Latitude by meridian altitude of the sun or planet." " Calculate the time of meridian altitude of the sun or planet."
  6. Sun sights
  • Fee: $350
  • No refunds after February 3

Equipment required: Normal navigation plotting instruments and pencils. Note books/paper for calculating and making notes of lesson.

Prerequisite: Have a good understanding of lat/long, 3 point fixes etc. basic navigation.