SOP 03 Health and sefety


  • Before any boats are launched on the water the SI & Shore Master to check the weather conditions and confirm any special requirements, i.e. reefed sails, clothing etc. The safety boat is on the water, has been tested and safety boat driver on station, duty first aider and tow vehicle driver recorded, and sufficient helpers available to maintain a safe method of operation.
  • All helpers involved on water based activities, working in the water, on the slipways, pontoon or close to the water’s edge, where able to swim must wear a correctly fitted buoyancy aid at all times, and non-swimmers to wear a lifejacket.
  • All Sailors (clients) and carers involved on water based activities, assisting on the pontoon etc. Must wear a correctly fitted lifejacket at all times.


Peterborough Sailability has an on-going policy of training for all the voluntary, both initial and refresher training, whom are qualified in the following areas;

  • Senior Instructors (SI); their role is to provide overall guidance regarding safe sailing and sailing training, having a RYA SI sailing qualification
  • Dinghy Instructors (DI): their role is to assist the SI and provide guidance to the AI’s
  • Assistant Instructors (AI); their role is to assist the SI in development training of buddies, having a minimum RYA Assistant Instructors qualification for sailing on Gunwade Lake
  • Sailing Buddies; their role is to take out un-experienced sailors on the water, having a minimum RYA Level 2 dinghy qualification or equivalent, suitable for the boat type being used.
  • Safety Boat Drivers; Their role is to drive the safety boat when required to assist or rescue a boat requiring assistance, having qualified to RYA Powerboat Level 2 with safety boat endorsement and are qualified to RYA First Aid certificate standard or equivalent.
  • First Aiders; qualified to RYA First Aid certificate standard or equivalent

Weil’s Disease

Weil’s disease is a form of a bacterial infection known as Leptospirosis carried by animals, most commonly in rats and cattle.  It can be caught by humans through contact with rat or cattle urine, most commonly occurring through contaminated fresh water.  Although human infection in the UK is minimal it is still worth taking some preventative measures to decrease the possibility of contracting it.

Those who participate in water sports, and come in contact with untreated water are at a higher risk than others, as it is most commonly passed to humans through water contaminated by rat urine.  Infection of humans usually occurs where open wounds are immersed in relatively stagnant water; it does not usually result from swallowing water.  Preventive measures when coming in contact with untreated water can include covering open wounds such as cuts & scratches with waterproof plasters, wear protective clothing such as gloves, wash thoroughly if you have entered the water, carefully clean any open wounds obtained during time in untreated water.

Cont’d Weil’s Disease

Symptoms can occur between 3 & 21 days from the time of infection, and are similar to those of the flu, including high fever, severe headache, chills, muscle aches, and vomiting, and may include a rash, and can suffer fatigue and depression for some time afterwards.  These can reoccur with further symptoms including jaundice, red eyes, abdominal pain and diarrhoea.  If symptoms occur, seek medical treatment and explain to the GP that you have been in contact with open water, early treatment of Leptospirosis can prevent more severe cases of infection.

Waders; Use by Volunteer Helpers

The safety of waders by Volunteer Helpers in carrying out their duties at Peterborough Sailability has been considered as follows;

·         Practical Wader Test;

On the 10 July 2014, Senior Instructor John Coppenhall (JC) in conjunction with the safety boat carried out a submersion test wearing waders with integral wellington boots and a buoyancy aid.  The waders filled with water, but this did not cause the swimmer to sink.  As water has the same density inside the waders as the water outside, they have largely neutral buoyancy.  Therefore you won’t sink just because your waders fill with water.

·         Buoyancy

If the wearer of chest / leg waders falls in past the horizontal, there is a potential to trap air in the bottom of the waders, this makes the legs very buoyant and a swimmer can struggle to keep their head above the water.  Solution; person must wear a buoyancy aid / lifejacket at all times

·         Climbing Out

Waders full of water will not make the wearer sink, but they will make it harder to swim.  The real issue is when you come to climb out of the water. Now, all the water trapped inside the waders becomes cumbersome and heavy as you climb out. Clearly chest waders have more potential to hold water than leg waders, but both will impact upon the casualty’s agility and ability to climb out.  This will cause difficulties in getting the casualty into the safety boat, which alternatively might mean supporting the casualty and towing them to shore, with the shore crew giving assistance.  Trying to stand-up with waders full of water is very difficult

·         Risks in Moving Water

Another potential issue, more so for chest waders, is if you get entrapped in moving water – stuck on a fence or vegetation, etc. In this scenario the waders can fill with water flowing from behind you and balloon out. Now at best you have big “sea anchors” on your legs and at worst it can be impossible to escape.

Solution; waders are not to be used in flowing water.

Recommendations for the use of Waders

  • When entering the water, working adjacent to the water or sailing in waders the wearer if they can swim, must wear a buoyancy, correctly fitted at all times, a non-swimmer must wear a lifejacket, correctly fitted at all times.
  • Waders are not to be used and are extremely dangerous in moving water.

This copyright information compiled by Peterborough Sailability ©

SOP 03 Health & Safety Appraisals Version 03 dated 23 Mar 2023