International Offshore Safety at Sea with Hands-on Training course


This course is to prepare you for survival offshore in demanding situations and emergencies. As with any training, you get proportional 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.

The course is taught by experienced, lifelong sailors. It is designed for sailors of all types and levels – cruisers, racers, novices, and experts. It is appropriate for a wide range of boats – small, big, monohulls, multihulls, powerboats – that are sailed both near and offshore. The subject matter reflects the accumulated knowledge and lessons learned of the world-wide sailing community.

The course has two parts. The first part is the Online Offshore Safety at Sea Course. It is extensive and comprehensive. The online course will provide you with an excellent level of knowledge and is the starting point for the second part of the course.

The second part of the course is a full day of practical training. You will be updated with the latest information on key topics and then spend most of the day in hands-on training covering damage control, firefighting, emergency signaling, survival equipment, use of personal flotation devices, and life rafts

Part 1: Online training

This portion utilizes US Sailing’s Online Offshore Safety at Sea Course. Soon after you register, you will receive an email that will provide you a pre-paid code and instructions for how to use it. You will also receive a handbook to accompany the online course.

The online course covers a broad range of material in depth. We are confident you will find this course quite valuable. There is an examination after each of the topics and at the end of the course. It is our goal to insure you have a good understanding of the material because the second part starts at this level and further builds your knowledge. Please allow 12 to 16 hours to complete the online course. You must successfully complete the online course before the date of the in-person portion of the course. You must complete both the online course and the one-day hands-on course to receive the World Sailing approved Offshore Personal Survival Course certificate.

The online course is available for your review for three months after you complete the course


Part 2: Practical Training

The practical training is a full day from 8 AM to 5 PM. Firefighting and emergency signaling (e.g. flares) will be outside. If the USCG leak trainer is used, it will be outside. You will also be walking between buildings. Dress appropriately

Boarding a Raft

Bring your inflatable personal flotation device (PFD) and tether This is required equipment for the course. If your PFD is not available, the CCA has a limited number of PFD’s available to loan. Please contact the course administrators to make arrangements well in advance of the course start date if you are in this situation.

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. If you have a set of old foul weather gear, we recommend bringing that rather than your newest gear for going in the 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. 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


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

Registration is open from 0730 – 0800 at the Sailing Center. The course starts promptly at 0800.


Depending on the time of the year, there are several coffee shops located nearby on the campus

There is a large amount of free parking available.

Lunch: There will be a break for lunch where you can select food from one of the many food stations in the food court in The Commons. Lunch is included in your course fee.

WiFi: WiFi is available throughout the campus and is included in the course fee

Typical course schedule:

  • 0730 – 0800 Registration at RWU Sailing Center
  • 0800 – 0830 Lessons learned from accidents and incidents
  • 0830 – 0900 Update on safety requirements, regulations, and offshore communications
  • 0900 – 1000 emergency signaling (flares)
  • 1000– 1200 Pool session: PFD’s/water survival/life rafts
  • 1200 – 1300 lunch at the Roger Williams University food court
  • 1300 – 1400 firefighting
  • 1400 – 1500 damage control
  • 1500 – 1530 emergency and safety equipment
  • 1530 – 1630  Principles for handling emergencies at sea
  • 1630 – 1700 team exercise/exam
  • 1700 – 1800 (optional) CCA staff is available to answer questions and discuss any topic


Major topics to be covered in practical training sessions are:

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

Damage Control: The course covers typical damage control techniques and equipment.

Firefighting:  This session discusses fire prevention and firefighting. You will actually extinguish a fire with an extinguisher.

Emergency Signaling (Flares): You will ignite various emergency signaling pyrotechnics

Emergency and Safety Equipment: This session will have a display of common emergency and safety equipment, particularly personal equipment. We will discuss the use, pro’s, and con’s of this equipment. We will emphasize the latest trends and equipment.

PFD’s, 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.


  • The curriculum is certified by US Sailing
  • The moderator meets the qualifications and training required for certification by US Sailing
  • You will receive certification that you have completed a US Sailing sanctioned Offshore Safety at Sea course with hands-on training which complies with World Sailing’s Offshore Personal Survival Course guidelines.
  • This certification is good for five years


Contact information:

For any questions regarding the 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.