CCA/NBR burgees

The Cruising Club of America, The Bermuda Race Foundation, & The New York Yacht Club

International Offshore Safety at Sea with Hands-on Training course

CCA NYYC burgees


The in-person day will be conducted at Roger William University in Bristol, Rhode Island and includes 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.

Step 1: Online training

This portion uses US Sailing’s Online Offshore Safety at Sea Course part one (units 1 – 10) and part two (units 11 – 15). Soon after you register for an option that includes one or both courses, you will receive an email that will provide you a pre-paid code and instructions for how to use it. When you arrive for the hands-on day you will also receive a hard copy textbook that condenses the material in the online course

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. It is our goal to insure you have a good understanding of the material because the hands-on training starts at this level and further builds your knowledge. Please allow 12 to 16 hours to complete the online course part one and 3 hours for part two.

New students must complete both online courses. Students that already hold an International Offshore Safety at Sea with hands on certificate and are renewing it must complete part two (units 11 – 15) of 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 8 AM to 5 PM. Firefighting and emergency signaling (e.g., flares), and possibly the leak trainer (in good weather) 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.

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Description automatically generatedDamage Control: The course covers typical damage control techniques and equipment. The CCA’s unique leak trainer provides hands-on experience handling leaks and pumps in a piece of an actual sailboat hull.




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Description automatically generatedFirefighting:  This session is conducted by professional marine fire fighters. It teaches fire prevention and firefighting. You will extinguish a fire with an extinguisher.

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.

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Description automatically generatedEmergency 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. In most courses, Landfall Navigation & Life Raft Survival and Equipment (LRSE) will have representatives present throughout the day to answer your questions.




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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. COVID protocols may modify how this session is conducted.


Bring your inflatable personal floatation device (PFD) and tether 

  • This is required equipment for the course. The whole point of this course is realistic hands-on training. If you don’t wear a PFD like you would offshore, it isn’t realistic.
  • If your PFD is not available or you have not yet purchased an appropriate PFD, the CCA has a limited number of PFD’s 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 or check (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 don’t 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: We will be rearming our loaner PFD’s during the course. If you would like to rearm your personal PFD during this session, you may either (1) bring your own rearming kit or (2) order a rearming kit from Landfall Navigation at a 10% discount. If you wish to order the rearming kit, please email the Registrar the make and model of your PFD.

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 or check 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 of this writing, all staff, volunteers, and students will be required to provide evidence of full vaccination for COVID-19 before attending the in-person day. There are no exceptions. Masks will be required for all indoor activities. We are using a 200-person classroom for 50 students to give social distance. Lunch is served as box lunches in our area away from the general student population at Roger Williams University. 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 Arts & Sciences building. Coffee and refreshments will be available. Come early to avoid the rush, meet the staff, and view the safety equipment on display. You will receive the US Sailing textbook that accompanies the course. 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.

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. Pick up textbook, loaner equipment if applicable

0800 – 0900 Introduction and lessons learned

0900 – 0930 Firefighting classroom portion

0900 – 1030

      Group 1 & 2: Leak trainer

      Groups 3 & 4: Firefighting & flares

1030 – 1230 water survival and life rafts

1230 – 1:00 lunch

1:00 – 2:00

Group 1 & 2: firefighting and flares

Groups 3 & 4: Leak trainer

2:00 – 4:00 Life jackets & life jacket servicing. AIS MOB device & navigation system demo

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 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 next three consecutive Newport Bermuda races)

 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.