The in-person day will be conducted at Roger William University in Bristol, Rhode Island from 7:30AM until 5:00PM and includes coffee and lunch. 

This course is to prepare you for survival offshore in demanding situations and emergencies. As with any training, you get proportionally to what you put into it. What you learn in this course may save your life and the lives of others in an emergency. We encourage you to give the course the effort and time it deserves. If you are interested in the Newport Bermuda Race or any other major offshore event, make sure you and your crew have the required training as a certain percentage will be required to have up to date International Offshore Safety at Sea certificates.

Step 1: Online Training Prerequisite

Students MUST have completed US Sailing’s Offshore Safety at Sea online course and provide their certificate of completion before attending. The prerequisite for most people is the “Offshore” course covering 15 core topics (1-15).

Participants RENEWING their certificate less than ten years after issuance may instead take the “Offshore Upgrade” course consisting of five topics (11-15). There is a nice diagram explaining the different certification requirements on the US Sailing website

US Sailing members get a discount on these courses with the discount code found in your “My US Sailing” account under Member Coupons and a benefits. The online courses cover a broad range of material in depth. We are confident you will find these courses quite valuable. There is an examination after each of the topics and at the end of the course. When you arrive for the hands-on day you will also receive a hard copy textbook that condenses the material in the online course

You must successfully complete the online courses at least 3 days before the date of the in-person portion of the course. If you are not in the US Sailing database as having completed the required courses, you cannot attend the hands-on day. No exceptions.

Step 2: Hands-on Training

The hands-on training is a full day from 7:30AM to 5 PM. Firefighting and emergency signaling (e.g., flares) will be outside. You will also be walking between buildings for various sessions and for lunch. Dress appropriately.

Major topics to be covered in hands-on training sessions are:

Lessons Learned & Updates: Lessons learned from recent incidents. Update on important safety requirements and communications items.

Damage Control and Handling Leaks: The course is divided into two segments one covering typical damage control techniques and equipment and the other uses the CCAs unique leak trainer to  provide hands-on experience handling leaks and pumps in a piece of an actual sailboat hull.

Firefighting:  This session is conducted by professional marine fire fighters. It teaches fire prevention, types of marine fires and firefighting. You will also extinguish a fire with an extinguisher.

Emergency and Safety Equipment: This session will have a display of common emergency and safety equipment particularly personal equipment. We will discuss the use, pros and cons of this equipment. We will emphasize the latest trends and equipment. In most courses, Landfall Navigation and Life Raft Survival and Equipment (LRSE) will have representatives present throughout the day to answer your questions.

Emergency Signaling (Flares): This session shows the difference between various grades of flares and demonstrates commonly available types of flares. Our venue on Mt Hope Bay is unique and allows students to use SOLAS handheld and rocket parachute flares.

 PFDs, Water Survival, and Life Rafts: This session will start with reviewing the proper wearing of your PFD and tether. You will then enter the pool with your foul weather gear and PFD to experience the inflation and use of your PFD. The CCA staff will guide you in the pool in practicing cold water individual and group survival techniques. You will learn the best ways to stay afloat, work as a team, and fight hypothermia. You will practice righting, boarding, and working as a crew in a life raft. COVID protocols may modify how this session is conducted.

 Bring your inflatable personal flotation device (PFD) and tether 

  • This is required equipment for the course. The whole point of this course is realistic hands-on training. If you dont wear a PFD like you would offshore, it isnt realistic.
  • If your PFD is not available or you have not yet purchased an appropriate PFD, the CCA has a limited number of PFDs available to loan. Contact the Registrar at to make arrangements well in advance of the course start date if you are in this situation. Please bring $35 cash (no credit cards) to the hands-on course to cover the cost of the rearm kit for the loaner PFD.


YES, we really do mean an inflatable PFD, NOT a rigid device (Type I inherently buoyant) or something you would wear in a dinghy or paddleboard. The PFD should be for offshore sailing – i.e., have an integral harness, 33lb/150 newton buoyancy, etc. WE ARE SERIOUS. The PFD is one of the most vital pieces of personal safety equipment. We dont cut corners. Neither should you. Bring a PFD that you would bet your life on – you just may have to someday.



 Rearming your personal PFD: You will have an opportunity at registration and at the end of the day to have your PFD examined by Landfall Navigation and LRSE to ensure your PFD is properly armed.

Flying with a PFD? Yes, you are allowed to fly with a PFD. You will find information on how to do that here.

You will need a set of foul weather gear (jacket, pants, boots/shoes). Bring a change of clothes and bath towel because you will be going in a pool. The purpose here is to make the training realistic and give you the confidence to handle the added weight of the wet sailing gear. Again – realistic hands-on training.

If you have a set of old foul weather gear, we recommend bringing that rather than your newest gear for going in the pool. If you do not have a set of suitable foul weather gear, the CCA has a number of sets available for loan. There is a fee of $10 for use of a set paid by cash on the day of the hands-on course. Please contact the Registrar well in advance of the date of your hands-on session to reserve a set.

There are showers available. We will provide you with a plastic bag for your wet clothing. We recommend that you bring a duffle bag for the wet gear.

COVID protocol:

The health and safety of our participants and instructors are our top priority. To promote that, we're following the advice of our Fleet Surgeon and experts in the field as well as well as respecting the college’s protocols.

Lunch is served in the college Commons, but if conditions change it may be boxed lunches in our area away from the general student population at the college. Some elements of the course have been modified to insure social distancing.

We will be working with our venue, Roger Williams University, and our fleet surgeon to determine what additional procedures may be necessary to safely conduct these courses.

Location: Roger Williams University 1 Old Ferry Road, Bristol, RI  02809

Check in is open from 0700 – 0800 at the Marine and Natural Sciences Building. Coffee and refreshments will be available. Come early to meet the staff, and view the safety equipment on display and receive the US Sailing textbook. You will also have an opportunity to have your PFD examined by Landfall and LRSE so come early to avoid the rush. If you have reserved a loaner PFD and/or foul weather gear, you will pick it up here. Please allow extra time for fitting the PFD and/or foul weather gear. The course starts promptly at 0800.

There is a large amount of free parking available. We recommend parking in the lot by the swimming pool/athletic building if its available. Signs will direct you depending on events at Roger Williams University and our registrar will also send you a map.

Coffee and Refreshments: Will be available upon arrival.

Lunch: There will be a break for lunch. Lunch is included in your course fee.

WiFi: Complimentary WiFi is available throughout the campus.

Typical course schedule:

0700 – 0800 Check-in. PFD examination, pick up textbook, loaner gear.

0800 – 0900 Introduction and lessons learned

0900 – 0930 Firefighting classroom portion

0900 – 1030

      Group 1 & 2: Leak Trainer & Damage Control

      Groups 3 & 4: Firefighting & Flares

1030 – 1230 Water Survival & Life Rafts

1230 – 1:00 Lunch

1:00 – 2:00

Group 1 & 2: Firefighting & Flares

Groups 3 & 4: Leak Trainer & Damage Control

2:00 – 4:00  Demonstration of Safety Equipment e.g. PLBS, AIS MOB device & navigation system.

4:00 – 5:00 Handling emergencies at sea and training your crew


  • The curriculum and your moderator are certified by US Sailing
  • You will receive a certificate by email that you have competed a US Sailing sanctioned International Offshore Safety at Sea course with hands-on training that complies with World Sailing Offshore Special Regulations (OS) section 6.01. You certification can be checked online here.
  • This certification is valid for five years and for the Newport Bermuda Races in 2024, 2026 and 2028.

 Contact information:

For any questions regarding the CCA International Offshore Safety at Sea with Hands-on Training course, please email

Our staff are all volunteers (most have day jobs) and we all sail, so please allow an appropriate amount of time for our response.

We look forward to seeing you there.