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Resolving To Make 2018 Safer

Sheila McCurdy and David Brown

Teamwork and Preparedness Emphasized in
Cruising Club of America’s Safety for Cruising Couples Seminars

With the season for making resolutions in full force, we know it would be hard to find a sailor who hasn’t included “spend more time on the water” on their 2018 to-do list. Among the 1300-strong membership of the all-volunteer Cruising Club of America (CCA), the number one resolution is to help those like-minded boaters make 2018 their safest year on the water. As an organization, the CCA has renewed its efforts to share their collective experiential knowledge with a particular focus on safety preparations for cruisers of sail and power vessels.

In a 2017 survey of nearly 1500 offshore sailors, respondents indicated that safety and seamanship training was the top priority of sailors planning a passage. A previous survey of the sailing partners of many CCA members – while competent sailors themselves – had revealed they had significant concerns about safety aboard which inhibited their enjoyment of sailing offshore or on longer inshore passages. The CCA has addressed the topic in a new video public service announcement that was informed by the experience of several well-known sailors and their partners.

The video illustrates how discussing safety topics (i.e. knowing how to put a fix on a chart or how to get their partner out of the water in a man-overboard situation) to benefit the less confident/competent member of a couple ultimately reaps rewards for both. To build the confidence of the less-experienced member of the duo in the event of an unexpected test of their skills, the CCA developed the Safety for Cruising Couples Seminar which can be customized by hosting clubs using materials from the CCA.

Well-Known Sailors Sheila McCurdy and David Brown Make the Case for Preparedness in CCA PSA

Geared to cruising couples and short-handed sailors who are increasingly active on coastal or local waters, whether aboard sail or power boats, the typically day-long seminar is generally structured with a morning classroom session covering the fundamentals of VHF radios, the basics of navigation, engine operation, medical situations, safety equipment and man overboard recovery. An afternoon session can take those topics a step further with on-the-water hands-on training, including chart plotter fundamentals and a demonstration of how to use a life sling in a man overboard situation.

To date, seven Safety for Cruising Couples Seminars have been scheduled by sponsoring clubs for 2018: Royal Canadian Cruising Sailor's Squadron at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, Toronto, CAN (February 25); Annapolis Yacht Club, Annapolis, Md. (April 21); Stamford Yacht Club, Stamford, Conn. (May 20); Camden Yacht Club, Camden, Maine (May 27); The Oakville Club, Oakville, CAN (June 2); Sail Newport, Newport, R.I. (early June); and Ram Island Yacht Club, Noank, Conn. (July 7). 

Additional clubs from Florida to California have expressed interest in hosting a seminar, with dates to be confirmed. The CCA provides presentation materials for free (workbooks can be provided at cost), and will collaborate with host yacht clubs to provide experienced CCA members to run the seminars. Whether you wish to attend, or host, a seminar, obtain a copy of the workbook or updated materials, or have general questions, please email:

The most current schedule of seminars may be found here:


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