Camp Safety Manual

CSC Sail Camp Safety Manual


This safety manual describes the procedures to be followed in order to prevent and respond to the most common sorts of incidents and injuries during Sail Camp.  This includes emergency procedures for weather and violent intruders.  Reminders of first aid treatment for heat related illness and various lessons learned are also included.  All instructors and teaching assistants are required to read and sign this document prior to commencing instruction.

These policies will cover the most common incidents, but there are always new risks cropping up that staff must be aware of and prepared to deal with.  When confronted with a new situation, staff should ask themselves the following questions in order to assess the risk:

  • Why am I doing this at all?
  • What could go wrong?
  • How could it affect me or others?
  • How likely is it to happen?
  • What can I do about it?

Key phrases that should trigger this sort of risk assessment include things like:

  • That’s good enough for now.
  • It’ll be OK just this once.
  • It can wait until later.
  • I don’t feel like it just now.
  • What if we do it this way instead?
  • Watch this!

An incident is defined as an event which is outside normal occurrences and is potentially dangerous to students or staff.  This may include a conflict between campers, a collision between boats on the water, or a bee sting in the playground.  Accidents are defined as injuries to a student or staff resulting from an incident.  Property damage is another possible outcome and may be minor or major.

All incidents require the instructor to file a report on the circumstances surrounding the event.  Additional reports are required for injury or property damage.  Blank forms are included at the back of this manual.  Anything that might be considered “self-inflicted” (blisters, sunburn, dehydration, scrapes from falls, etc) do not require an incident report and should be written up on the first-aid form.

Most incidents are the result of unsafe actions rather than unsafe conditions.  Safety is therefore largely a matter of behavior.  Work as a team to watch each other’s back to keep everyone safe and inform the entire team about possible unsafe activities or conditions so that they can be remedied camp wide.  Recognize that all staff have “stop work” authority whenever they observe unsafe activities.


In modern business parlance, Loss (meaning injury or damage) is caused by an Incident, which has both Immediate and Basic Causes.  Minimizing these causes is a matter of control which is guided by Management Systems.  That’s where these policies come in – to establish a system of controls designed to minimize causes that create incidents and to mitigate the impact of a loss.  Control can be implemented at any of three stages:  pre-contact (prevention), contact (protection), and post-contact (response).  These are the three main sections of this document.  Pre-contact controls include things like maintaining discipline over the fleet, adequately warning campers about possible dangers and providing water for hydration.  Contact controls include wearing sunscreen, PFDs and proper footwear.  Post-contact controls include first aid and emergency response procedures.  Note that Loss includes psychological injury (as from bullying) as well as damage to equipment and the environment (loss of use or functionality).  All forms of loss/injury/damage must be prevented.  Abuse and Reporting Abuse is a special case which is covered separately in the Sail Camp Policy document.

Mitigating Liability

Sailing, like any sport, carries some inherent risk of injury.  Our objective is to minimize this risk, not only for the safety and comfort of everyone involved, but to minimize the financial liability associated with injuries.  CYC/CSC carries sufficient insurance to cover the possible financial liability due to property damage and personal injury.  US Sailing secondary insurance no longer applies to non-US Sailing events (as of Jan 1, 2022).  All staff are considered employees who are covered by Workman’s Compensation Insurance should you become injured yourself.  Each of these, however, assumes that certain minimum standards are continuously met.  Failure to follow your training or CSC policies opens you up to allegations of negligence.  Proof that you are following the rule requires written documentation.

As with day care and other facilities where people pay professionals to take care of their children, the onus is on us to provide a completely safe environment for the campers.  This starts with setting out rules in writing and communicating them to staff and campers alike.  Rules are communicated to staff at the Orientation Meeting prior to camp.  They are communicated to parents at the Parents’ Meeting and in the Parents’ Handbook.  They are communicated to the campers at the first gathering on Monday morning and are reinforced by instructors throughout camp.

The next step in the chain is living up to the rules.  Again, this requires documenting the fact that we are doing so.  Filing detailed Lesson Plans shows that we are teaching according to accepted standards and that we are following our own rules.  Similarly, filling out other seemingly minor pieces of paperwork indicates that we are consistent and conscientious about following ALL of the rules.

Finally, we need to execute all activities in a manner that maximizes the safety of our campers and staff whether they are documented or not.  Practices such as setting out marks to denote the boundaries of the Fleet’s sailing area, continuously circling the Fleet to provide instruction and a headcount on the water, testing and maintaining safety equipment on a daily basis, monitoring weather conditions and enlisting other instructors to cover your temporary absence from the Fleet are all recommended safety procedures.

Lastly, these procedures must be monitored.  In our case, the Head Instructor is responsible for collecting all of the paperwork, for regularly checking in on classes, and for correcting any practices that do not meet camp policies.

Liability can be adequately managed but it requires pre-planning and conscientious execution.  Sitting in the ambulance is NOT the time to think about safety.  Preparation for a legal defense is NOT the time to fill out a Lesson Plan.

Personal Safety

Instructors are people too.  Before you can protect the campers from harm, you have to be safe yourself.  You can’t enforce safety rules with authority if you ignore them yourself.  You can’t prevent accidents to others if they might just as easily happen to you.  You can’t pull someone back from a dangerous scenario if you are simply pulling them into another dangerous scenario.  You can’t rescue someone if you are incapacitated.  If you become incapacitated trying to help someone else, suddenly we have two victims, which requires a second rescue team with may be twice as far away (if available at all).

And remember to take safety seriously at home too.  In the 12 minutes it takes you to read through this document, 1 person will be killed and 180 disabled by non-work-related accidents.

Incident Prevention Measures

These rules must be obeyed at all times in order to reduce the likelihood of an incident (pre-contact).  They have been broken down into categories for simplicity.  Where these rules apply directly to campers, they must be explained to the campers on the first day of camp and should constitute a specific lesson within the first day’s Lesson Plan.

1. Boundaries

Staff will explain the camp boundaries to all campers.  Boundaries include the shelter on the east side, the parking lot and gravel driveway on the north side and the boat hoist work area on the west side.  These limits are out of bounds.  Campers should never cross the gravel or pavement without staff supervision.  They are prohibited from walking around CYC grounds or on the docks without supervision.

Keelboat docks are also out of bounds.

2. Supervision

Campers are to be under visual supervision of a staff member at all times during camp.  This includes keeping the fleet together as a group while on the water and maintaining a continuous headcount.

During lunch, supervision of campers can be handled by rotating staff with the help of Parent Volunteers.

3. Swimming

Swim tests will be administered to all campers at the start of each week of camp, regardless of previous camp experience.

Swimming is permitted only in the designated beach area and is subject to any special rules posted there.  No swimming from the docks (except swim dock).  During camp hours a lifeguard is available for “free swim time”.  18 students to one lifeguard is the maximum allowable.  Children swimming must be under the supervision of an instructor or certified lifeguard at all times.  PFDs must be worn if the supervisor is not a certified lifeguard.  Water shoes must be worn while swimming as there are hazards such as glass.  Swimming is not permitted within 300ft of any powered dock.  This includes capsize recovery lessons.

4. Responsible Use of Equipment

All boats must be checked prior to departure to ensure proper rigging and safety.

Kill switches will be used on all outboard motors.  Outboards are equipped with prop guards.  Make sure they are in good condition.  Shut off outboards completely when campers are in the water nearby.

All sails, spars, and equipment should be returned to their respective places in a neat and orderly fashion at the end of the day.  A visual inspection of each boat must be made and any conditions should be noted in the Lesson Plan and the Head Instructor/Camp Director should be advised.

Safety boats and instructional equipment should be stored properly at the end of the day.  This is the instructor’s own responsibility.

Staff will dissuade campers from unnecessarily capsizing their boats in order to reduce the strain on (and loss of) rigs, mast steps and blades.

5. Discipline

Campers must be made aware of the inherent dangers of watersports and the fact that staff are there to protect them as much as possible, but they must pay attention and behave in order to stay safe.

Disruptive campers should be dealt with according to the Disciplinary procedures outlined in the Staff Policy document.

Staff should watch for signs of bullying and react immediately to quell them.  Staff not directly involved in teaching classes may be better positioned to watch for this than the Instructor who is pre-occupied with presenting the lesson.  Also watch for this behavior during lunches when campers think that supervision is reduced.

6. Hydration

Staff will stay hydrated themselves and will remind campers to rehydrate at regular intervals.  Specifically, at the start of the day, at lunch, at snacks, and at the end of the day.

Water will be provided at numerous stations around the camp throughout the day.

7. Capsize recovery

As part of the safety lesson on the first day of camp, staff will teach a lesson in capsize recovery suitable to the type of boat being used.  In addition to the mechanics of the maneuver, this lesson will reinforce the rules about the Buddy System, careful use of the equipment, and staying with the boat.

Staff will remind campers to stay with the boat at all times.  Swimming away from their assigned boat is not permitted, unless it is part of a supervised fleet activity.

8. Boom Strikes

As part of the safety lesson on the first day of camp, and as regular reminders throughout camp, campers should be warned about the dangers of head injuries from boom strikes.

9. Extreme weather

Extreme weather conditions may take the form of high winds, thunderstorms or tornados.  Instructors are expected to check weather forecasts at the start of each day and plan accordingly.  The Shore Director will monitor weather patterns throughout the day and issue radio warnings as conditions change.  Developing weather patterns can be viewed through a variety of weather apps showing storm cells and proximity of lightning strikes (eg Sparx).  Reactions to extreme weather will be governed by the emergency response actions below.

Extreme temperatures will be monitored using a weather app showing heat index readings.

10. Fire

Fire is most likely to erupt in situations involving the kitchen and the outboards.  The potential for fire in the kitchen is minimized by catering in most meals, but heat sources (stoves, microwave, coffee pot) will be monitored by the Shore Director.

The electrical panel is also near the kitchen and will be monitored as a potential ignition source by the Shore Director.

The potential for gasoline fires relating to outboard operations and refueling will be minimized by keeping bilges free of gas, refueling in the open and away from the boats, cleaning up any leaks or spills, and eliminating spark/ignition sources where gasoline is being used or stored.  All instructors are responsible for these actions.

The gathering point for a fire drill is the flagpole.  Instructors will gather their fleets and conduct a headcount.  Use of the fire pit for burning during camp is prohibited.

11. Intruders

Staff will watch for intruders.  The response to a potential intruder will be to gather the fleet together and conduct a headcount, then radio the Head Instructor and Shore Director about the potential problem.  The HI and SD will then assess the scenario and either approach the intruder together or call police authorities.  If approached, intruders should be asked politely to leave the area since their presence is clearly interfering with the smooth operation of the class.  If the situation devolves into an active shooter scenario, direct campers to run to a specific location and then hide until all clear.

12. Unauthorized removal

If an unauthorized person attempts to leave with a camper, the camper should be secured until the authorized parent or guardian can be contacted and proper authority granted.  This is primarily the responsibility of the Shore Director.  Take a photo of the person to confirm identity with the parent or guardian.  Similarly, a photo of the vehicle with registration plates will be helpful.  If the camper is successfully removed from the club grounds, contact the parent or guardian before alerting local police and state authorities who may issue an Amber alert.  Provide them with any descriptions or photos available.  Alert the Camp Director.

13. Environment

Staff will cleanup all residual debris/waste/litter from the camp immediately as they find it.  Staff will instill a similar environmentally conscious ethic in campers by providing an example and by asking campers to participate in cleanup activities.

Refueling of outboard gas tanks will be conducted with the tank disconnected and removed from the boat to avoid spillage in the bilges or the open water.  All gas supplies will be stored in the gas and engine lockers, located beside/behind the 420 sail loft and in accordance with the Clean Marina Policy.

14. Unsafe Conditions

Staff will monitor the camp environment for potentially unsafe conditions and will either deal with these themselves or report them to the Head Instructor as necessary.  This includes things like the structural integrity of docks, boats and equipment; and biological hazards such as poison ivy, fire ants, wasps, fish/animal remains, skunks or vermin around trash.  Note that the presence of vermin also attracts snakes and larger predators.  Another reason to adequately contain trash.

15. Behavior Monitoring

The Head Instructor is responsible for monitoring staff and camper activities to ensure that these rules are being followed.  Failure to follow them may lead to disciplinary action.

16. Missing Child Search

Should a camper be unaccounted for, all staff will assemble for a search.  The Shore Director will inform the parents that a search is being conducted.  If the search is unsuccessful within 15 minutes, emergency services will be called.  The grounds will be divided into the following four areas:  clubhouse (including restrooms, bathhouse, parking lot, bunker), east lot (including wooded area, Smith’s Shed, swim beach, sail loft, race shed, east docks), center lot (including driveway, opti docks, Dave’s dock, sail loft, engine locker), west lot (boat lift and shed, driveway, west dock, wooded area).  During the search, be sure to call loudly in case the camper is locked or stuck in an unusual location.  Be sure to visually inspect between boats and within the wooded areas in case the camper is unconscious or unresponsive.

17. Bloodborne Pathogens

Should first aid measures involve blood or other bodily fluids there is a potential for the spread of bloodborne pathogens such as HBV and HIV.  Vaccinations for HBV and smallpox are recommended for all staff but are not required or tracked in the medical documentation.  Potential exposure is expected to be limited to treating minor cuts and scrapes prior to bandaging.  Pathogens may be present in liquid or dried blood (HBV can survive in dried blood for up to 7 days).  Pathogens are typically contracted through broken skin (open cuts or sores) or through unprotected mucous (eyes, mouth) of the responder.  It is recommended that treatment of blood injuries wait until the patient reaches the first aid station.  Responders are responsible for judging the severity of the injury and determining if direct pressure or resuscitation is required immediately or can wait for donning PPE.

Treatment of blood related injuries will be conducted at a dedicated first aid station.  Patients with open wounds will not be allowed in the kitchen for sanitary reasons.  The primary first aid kits will be moved from the kitchen to the first aid station during camp.  During treatment, responders will wear gloves.  After treatment, responders will use hand sanitizer and sterilize the surfaces of the first aid station and any other materials used during treatment.  The use of sharps (other than scissors for cutting bandages) is not anticipated or permitted.  Contaminated materials (gauze, gloves, etc) will be enclosed in a zip-lock bag and disposed of with the regular waste.

18. Airborne Pathogens

Airborne pathogens include viral diseases such as flu or COVID.  All staff will self-monitor their health throughout camp.  This includes checking for flu-like symptoms such as fever over 100.4F, cough, shortness of breath, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.  If you experience any of these symptoms, please notify the Camp Director immediately and stay home.

Each day before camp starts, each staff member and camper will check in with the Shore Director and have their temperature taken with an IR thermometer.  Anyone with a temperature over 100.4F will be rechecked.  If the temperature is repeated, or if flu-like symptoms are reported, the camper or staff member will be sent home for the duration of camp, or until a negative test result is produced.

If any camper or staff member needs to be sent home, all staff and parents will be notified so that they may take additional measures as appropriate. This may include quarantining a specific fleet from the rest of camp for the rest of the day. If a staff member needs to be sent home, the parents of the previous week’s campers will also be notified.

All communal surfaces in the kitchen, bathrooms, clubhouse and bunker areas will be sterilized with bleach-based cleansers every morning. This includes the door handles and drinking fountain. This will be repeated by parent volunteers after lunch. Hand sanitizer will be provided in all restrooms and checked or refreshed daily. All volunteers and staff will wash hands after each trip to the restroom. Water jugs will be provided with sanitizer wipes for periodic cleansing.

Fleets will practice social distancing as much as possible, but masks are not required. If three unrelated people demonstrate high temperatures in a single week the camp will be closed for the remainder of the season, on the assumption that the staff have also been infected.

19. Drone operations

In the event that drones are used to collect photo or video footage of camp activities, campers must be alerted in advance and warned not to interfere with the drone.  There is a risk of physical injury due to the high-speed rotors.  Remind them that the movement of the drone may be unstable or erratic given the wind/gust conditions.  These warnings must be given out in order to comply with FAA Part 107 operations.

Protective Equipment

Protective equipment is designed to mitigate the impact of an incident should preventative measures prove insufficient (contact).

1. Lifejackets

All staff, campers, and visitors must wear USCG certified PFDs while on the docks, beach or in boats.  Loaner PFDs are available if necessary.

2. Sunscreen

Staff will wear suitable sunscreen themselves and will remind campers to reapply sunscreen at regular intervals.  Specifically, at the start of the day, at lunch, at snacks, and at the end of the day.  Reminders after swimming are also recommended since most sunscreen will wash off quickly.

Staff should supervise campers to ensure sunscreen is applied, but should not apply it to campers directly.  If a camper requires assistance, another camper should be enlisted to help.

3. Footwear

Staff should inspect campers’ footwear for suitability.  This includes an ankle strap at a minimum and ideally closed toes.  Footwear should be worn at all times, including while swimming at the beach.

4. Helmets

The use of helmets while sailing is an option that is left to the discretion of individual parents.  US Sailing research indicates that helmets provide protection against fractures but not against concussion.  They also make the head a larger target and provide additional points for lines to snag on.  If a parent provides a helmet for their child, the Instructor will ensure that it is worn at all times while on the water.

5. First Aid PPE

Latex gloves and hand sanitizer will be provided for use at the first aid station.


Students requiring medication will provide their own.  Instructors should acquaint themselves with the medical information of their students.  No other drugs, including over-the-counter medication such as Aspirin or Tylenol, may be administered without verbal approval from the parent or guardian of record.  This approval must be noted in the accident report.  Topical remedies (cold compress, aloe gel, direct pressure, etc) are permitted.

Emergency Response

If prevention and protection aren’t enough and an incident causes injury or damage, then it’s time to take action (post-contact).  In the event of an incident, the first response is always to protect yourself and other nearby persons from injury, and to immediately treat any injuries with first aid according to your Red Cross training.  In addition to your previous training, Sail Camp specific emergency procedures for extreme weather and fire are provided here.

After the immediate response has been handled, an incident report must be completed to record and provide evidence of your response to the incident.  These reports may be used to assist a doctor with information and to help improve the effectiveness of our safety measures.

1. Communications:

All initial emergency communications are assumed to be handled by radio.  Backup signals, should an instructor fail to check in by radio, will be made by air horn or whistle as available.

  • 3 blasts – weather warning, return to shore immediately and do head count
  • Continuous blasts – emergency, I require assistance

2. Extreme Weather Response:

The Shore Director will monitor weather patterns for lightning using a mobile app designed for such a purpose.  With reports of lighting within 10 miles or audible thunder Instructors will prepare to return to shore.  The Shore Director and Head Instructor will then provide a timetable for fleets to return (eg “Optis first” or “everyone now”).  A visible report of lightning will initiate an immediate return to shore for all fleets.

Upon returning to shore, instructors will conduct a headcount and all boats will be secured for extreme weather including derigging sails.  Sails and blades may be left in the boat depending on the expected immediacy, duration and timing of the storm.

Issuance of an official tornado watch will initiate an immediate return to shore for all fleets, with campers gathering inside the clubhouse.  Instructors will conduct a headcount of their fleet prior to entering the clubhouse.  Prepare the kitchen for potential tornado warning by removing all materials from countertops.  Keep campers calm and quiet (so that further instructions can be announced).  Do not allow “drama” to escalate.  Upgrading to a tornado warning will gather all campers and staff inside the kitchen/hallway/bathrooms with the doors and pass-through counter closed, or as far from the picture windows as possible.  Reassure all campers until the all-clear is given.

Fleets may return to the water 30min after the last report of audible thunder, or 30min after the last strike within 10 miles.

Extreme temperatures (heat index >87F) will require reduced activity levels up to 100F where activities will be reduced to sitting in the shade or clubhouse.

3. Fire Response:

Evacuate all campers from the area immediately.  They are your responsibility, not the fire.  For fires in the Opti/420 area, evacuate to the clubhouse.  For fires in the clubhouse, evacuate to the beach pavilion.  Open fires should be extinguished immediately by the nearest available staff.  A second person should immediately call 911.  Fire extinguishers can be found at the following locations:

  • 420 sail loft
  • Engine locker
  • Kitchen
  • Bunker
  • Pontoon boat
  • Whaler bow locker

Since the most likely sort of fires to be encountered are gas/grease/electrical in nature, NEVER use water to attempt to extinguish any fire at camp.  Remember that gasoline floats on water and will spread quickly to cover a large area with a thin film of flammable material.  Remember that gasoline vapors are explosive.  Remember that you are not a trained fire-fighter.  If a fire threatens a gas supply, evacuate all remaining personnel immediately.

Incident Reporting

Depending on what responsible party witnessed the incident or accident, it is their responsibility to record the event.  If an incident occurs during an instructor’s “watch”, they must record the event after taking care of the injured party(ies).  They then pass the report to the Head Instructor, who informs the Shore Director and Camp Director.  The Shore Director is responsible for personally informing the parent or guardian of the affected party when the camper is picked up at the end of the day.  The parent or guardian must sign the incident report to acknowledge that they have been informed.  If the incident occurs during shore activities, the Shore Director is responsible for filing the report and informing the Head Instructor.

Minor “self-inflicted” injuries requiring first aid treatment only will be recorded in the First Aid Treatment Log.  This includes things such as minor scrapes, stings, blisters, sunburn.  This log is for injuries that are not necessarily caused by a single identifiable incident, or by interaction with another camper, or when the incident did not have even the potential to cause a more serious injury.  While the injuries may be minor, these records are important because, as with the Incident Reports, examination of the trends may uncover deeper systemic problems that can be addressed in the future.

Reports should also be made of property damage.  These may require incident reports or may be simply summarized in the equipment maintenance logs.  Either way, they need to be recorded.  An incident that causes damage could just as easily cause injuries.  Think of the slight difference in timing and luck it takes to remove your hand from between two boats as they collide.  Tracking damage can help us minimize incidents that can cause injuries.

Top Hazards Summary

Based on an analysis of past incident reports, the top 3 hazards encountered at sail camp can be divided into the following categories: dehydration, struck-by incidents and slips/trips/falls.  Dehydration is by far the most common occurrence and is detailed separately below.

Struck-by incidents are less common but are potentially more dangerous.  This is usually associated with being hit in the head by the boom.  Campers need to be made especially aware of this danger.  In addition to possible concussion or skull fracture, this may also lead to unconsciousness and drowning.

Slips/trips/falls are also quite common but are generally far less dangerous.  These usually only require minor first aid.

Biological hazards such as bites, stings and poisonous plants are common hazards but usually result in near-miss events rather than actual incidents.  Let’s work to keep it that way.

Heat Related Illness

Individual reactions to extreme heat depend on several factors including fitness, hydration, acclimatization, activity level, clothing, cloud cover and wind speed.  Air quality levels may also complicate personal health matters.  Determining your own status can be difficult.  Judging the effects on campers is even more so.  Instructors are expected to monitor all of their campers for heat stress and to take appropriate action.  Along with other weather phenomena, heat will be monitored by the Shore Director to alert staff when the heat index begins to rise above 87F.  At such times, activities should be altered to compensate for the heat.  This may include more swim time, less energetic field games or more classroom time.  At a heat index of 100F outdoor activity should be restricted to resting in shade.

Staff should monitor themselves and their coworkers for signs of heat stress.  Remain hydrated and pace your activity level to maintain your focus throughout the entire day.  If you find that you need a break, let the team know so that they can pick up your responsibilities until you are back.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion results from a reduced blood volume due to excessive sweating, which causes blood to pool in the arms and legs, causing one to feel faint or dizzy.  If left untreated, Heat Exhaustion may lead to more severe and life-threatening Heat Stroke.


  • Stay out of the heat, especially when doing vigorous physical activities, if possible
  • If not possible, take multiple breaks in order to replenish oneself with fluids
  • Do not drink liquids that cause dehydration such as alcohol or caffeinated beverages
  • Wear hats and lightweight, light-colored, loose clothes

Signs and Symptoms:

  • cool, moist, pale, ashen or flushed skin
  • headache, nausea, dizziness
  • weakness, exhaustion
  • heavy sweating


  • Move person to a cool environment
  • Remove clothing soaked with perspiration and loosen any tight clothing
  • Apply cool, wet towels or sheets to the body and place an ice pack behind the head
  • Give the person 4 ounces of cool water every 15 minutes or 16 ounces of water/ sports drink for every pound of weight lost
  • Call 911 if the person’s condition shows no improvement

Heat Stroke

In the case that prevention is not taken or does not help, some symptoms of heat stroke are as follows.  Call Emergency Medical Services if you suspect someone to be a victim of heat stroke.

Heat stroke is when a body’s systems are overwhelmed by heat and stop functioning.  Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition, so prevention is a must.  If symptoms have progressed to this state, it can only be treated with hospitalization.


  • red, hot, dry skin
  • changes in level of consciousness
  • vomiting
  • strange behavior – hallucinations, confusion, agitation, disorientation, seizure


  • At this stage the condition can only be treated at a qualified medical facility
  • Call emergency services immediately – 911
  • Move person to a cool environment
  • Loosen tight/wet clothing
  • Apply cool, wet towels to the skin and fan the victim
  • If the victim is conscious, give him/her small amounts of cool water to drink
  • If the victim refuses water, vomits or starts to lose consciousness, place person on their side and continue to cool them (place ice packs on their wrists, ankles, groin, neck and both armpits
  • Check for breathing and pulse

Lessons Learned

Consider teaching some safety lessons to campers on no-wind days.

Be sure STAFF wears appropriate GLOVES when treating a “patient”.

Bee/Wasp/Ctaerpillar Stings – Always clean area pre & post dressing because lots of bacteria around could make it worst.

Splinters – Remove splinter, clean wound, apply disinfectant & bandage.

Head Cut, “goose egg” knot – clean, cold compression.  Do not administer Advil or Tylenol without obtaining approval from the parent or guarding.

Blisters on feet – new shoes? Clean & cover.

Cut Feet – inside boats on hiking strap attachments & in water around docks etc.  Running around barefoot in the grass.  Clean, apply antibiotic cream, waterproof bandage.  WEAR SHOES!

HEADACHES – Lots of these during camp.  Are they getting dehydrated?  Heat exhaustion?  Are heads covered? Sunglasses being worn? Get to cool area, lie down, apply cool compress, hydrate, REST.

Ankle sprains – Clean, elevate, apply cold, wrap in ace bandage & avoid pressure on ankle, rest.

Hit in Head with Dead Catfish – cut on head.  Eww!  Talk about bacteria.  Where’s the supervision?

Boom Hit – cut & swelling – stop bleeding, clean, evaluate (stitches?) cover – cold compress – baots too close together when tacking for their skill level – boom swings over & hits other boat crew … call parent.

Boom Hit 2 – dizzy, blurred vision – call 911, call parent, cold compress.

Hand Smashed on gunwale – so, collisions not only hurt boats, but can crush fingers!  Don’t use your hands as bumpers!

Camper is thrown down & hurt – horseplay should not be permitted, it escalates and in heat folks lose control of tempers!  Don’t push off docks, no jumping on one another etc.  This was a very scary incident for all parties & had great potential for lawsuit.

FIGHT 2007 – During free swim, 2 boys got in fist fight.  It had been escalating during the week within their fleet.  One boy was throwing “fake punches” at the other and the other boy got irritated and threw a real punch back.  Cussing ensued & adult staff member had to separate them and took to Head Instructor for time out.

BROKEN WINDOW in BUNKER 2005 – horseplay by TA’s.

BROKEN WINDOW in BUNKER 2008 – water balloon play near bunker.

JY 8 hit a moored private boat 2008 – a puff of wind came & these were advanced students but too close to moored boats and they rounded up into the stern of this boat and put a 6″ long scratch on stern – of course this was a historic wooden Herreshoff boat.

Tornado watch 2013.  Radios failed and backup sound systems (horns, whistles) were not in place.  All staff reacted well in spite of this and brought campers indoors.  Do not allow “drama” to escalate in closed quarters.

CAMPER PUSHED OFF BOAT 2014.  Camper fell off original boat and picked up by another fleet, instructor told them to return him to his boat, campers had been rough-housing and heard “push him off the boat”, they panicked and eventually did this, camper was traumatized and swam to shore UNOBSERVED.

Camper expelled 2017.  Young camper consistently bullied her fleet mates and others.  This was not addressed or reported quickly enough because the camper was a prominent member’s child and eventually escalated to physical hitting and expulsion.  Address bullying quickly and document it.

Campers expelled 2019.  Two older campers made obscene remarks to and about a younger female camper.  They felt this was just horseplay and that expulsion was extreme.  If this had been done by a staff member they would have been fired.  If this had been done by an adult they would have been arrested.  When addressing this sort of issue, make it clear that the punishments only get harsher as they get older and they need to stop now.

Missing camper 2022.  One camper went missing at the end of the day when his mother arrived to pick him up.  His instructor was approached and responded with a “Oops, sorry” and continued on his way.  The camper was found swimming unsupervised off the end of the dock outside the swim area.

Second degree burns 2022.  One camper neglected his sunscreen and received sever and extensive blisters across both shoulders and back.  These eventually burst and he had to be bandaged like a mummy before he could even put on a shirt.

RIB capsize 2023.  Near miss event.  TA rev’d the engine too quickly forcing the stern under.  Nearly fell out and onto the prop.  Use Kill Switches!

Group Exercise.  Take a few minutes to imagine a few specific tasks, walk through the steps involved and identify all the possible hazards associated with them (AHA/JSAs).  Example: rigging a boat, group game on shore or swim area, classroom activity, landing at a dock, launch/recovery from a dolly, rafting up.  Assess Probability vs Severity.  Consider mitigation possibilities.