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March 9-10, 2019

University of Massachusetts, Boston Campus

University Hall - 100 Morrissey Blvd, Boston MA 02125

saslogoThe Blue Water Sailing Club, in association with the Marion-Bermuda Race and Marblehead-Halifax Ocean Race biennially offers a Safety at Sea Program that helps to prepare skippers and crew for the race and further offers safety at sea training for members of the BWSC and the public. The innovative two-day program being offered March 9-10, 2019 at University of Massachusetts Boston includes a one-day classroom program and a full- day hands on session. The hands-on program has been approved by US Sailing to meet the requirements for World Sailing International Offshore Safety at Sea Training Certification.

Courses and Certificate Qualification Outcomes

CourseCourseQualifies ForValidity **
2015 or 2017 In-person SAS Symposium 2015 or 2017 SAS Practical Add-ons (Medical/Weather/Pool) * US Sailing Offshore Safety at Sea Certificate * 2020 or 2022
2019 In-person SAS Symposium     US Sailing Offshore Safety at Sea Certificate 5 Years
2019 In-person SAS Symposium 2019 Practical Courses (Pool/Fire) World Sailing Offshore Personal Survival Training Certificate Thru 2025 Marion Bermuda Race
US Sailing Offshore Safety at Sea Online Course 2019 Practical Courses (Pool/Fire) (365 Day Limit on Online Course) World Sailing Offshore Personal Survival Training Certificate Thru 2025 Marion Bermuda Race
US Sailing Offshore Safety at Sea Online Course Not connected to any practical course offering   Not valid for 2019 MBR
Note * The practical courses offered in 2015 and 2017 did not meet the new World Sailing requirements.
Note ** This table refers to courses offered by the Marion Bermuda Race in 2015, 2017 and 2019. Courses taken elsewhere will have their own validity dates.

2019 Safety at Sea Symposium and Practical Training Sessions

 DescriptionDateTimeCost
 On-Site Registration - University HallSaturday March 9, 20197:00AM - 8:30AM 
 On-Site Registration - University HallSunday March 10, 20197:00AM - 8:30AM 
SAS1Safety at Sea Symposium
Seminar / Break-out Sessions
Includes continental breakfast and lunch
University Hall
Saturday March 9, 20198:30AM - 5:30PM $ 150.00
SAS2Practical Training Courses
Fire/Pool
Clark Athletic Center
Saturday March 9, 20198:30AM - 5:30PM $ 250.00
 Repeat of Saturday Sessions/Courses
SAS3Safety at Sea Symposium
Seminar / Break-out Sessions
Includes continental breakfast and lunch
University Hall
Sunday March 10, 20198:30AM - 5:30PM $ 150.00
SAS4Practical Training Courses
Fire/Pool
Clark Athletic Center
Sunday March 10, 20198:30AM - 5:30PM $ 250.00
 Combined Sessions
SAS1 +
SAS4
See SAS1 + SAS4 $ 350.00
SAS2 +
SAS3
See SAS2 + SAS3 $ 350.00
Note that for additional crew for the combined sessions for the third and more crew there is a $50.00 discount on those registrations.

Marion Bermuda Race Safety Requirements - Skills

4.3.1 Safety at Sea Training: At least 30% but not fewer than two members of the crew, including the Person-In-Charge and Navigator or a Watch Captain shall have attended a one-day or two-day US Sailing Offshore Safety at Sea Seminar. At least two members of the crew must hold a World Sailing Approved Offshore Personal Survival Course Certificate. Any certificate obtained more than five (5) years prior to the start of the race or as a result of exclusively internet-based training will not be acceptable for the purposes of this paragraph. For Double Handed yachts, both members shall hold a World Sailing Approved Offshore Personal Survival Course Certificate.

Note from Race Administration: We also recommend that the majority of your return crew, especially those who have never sailed offshore, attend. It is not required (currently) that return crew attend, but we strongly recommend it. Safety is just as important cruising home from Bermuda as it is racing to Bermuda.

For other Symposiums scheduled see http://www.ussailing.org/education/safety-at-sea/.

This symposium features a very experienced group of speakers to address a series of topics which are of vital interest to all serious sailors. In addition to the safety topics there will be breakout sessions for the Marblehead to Halifax Ocean Race and the Marion Bermuda Race

Overview of One-Day Classroom Curriculum (SAS1 and SAS3)

Module A: This classroom program is designed to build from basic knowledge of offshore safety to preparation for offshore voyaging and application of the newly acquired knowledge in simulated scenarios drawn from real-life experiences.

Session A1: 08:30-09:30 The Essentials: Things Every Sailor Needs to Know to Safely Head Offshore

This session covers all topics deemed mandatory by US Sailing for ensuring safety for ship and crew offshore, including personal safety gear, safety communications, crew overboard procedures, search and rescue procedures and giving assistance to other vessels in distress. Through presentations and facilitated discussions, participants will learn about personal safety equipment, safety communications at sea, search, signaling, vessel preparation and real-life emergency navigation, even without GPS. The learning objective is to ensure that all crew members will be able to manage fundamentals and secure assistance in the event of a life- threatening emergency offshore.

Faculty: Bill Biewenga, Steve Ricci, Ronald Wisner and Members of the Blue Water Sailing Club

Session A2: 09:30-10:30 Tools & Techniques for Managing Unexpected Challenges Offshore

This session builds on and extends presentation and interactive discussion of topics introduced in the preceding session including several of the topics recommended by US Sailing. The learning objective is to prepare offshore skippers and crews for unexpected challenges at sea by knowing their gear and avoiding or managing threatening situations. Topics covered include care and maintenance of safety equipment, basic fire prevention and safety, heavy weather management, storm sails, life rafts and survival, hypothermia and drowning, giving assistance to other vessels.

Faculty and Facilitators: Eric Pierce, Roy Greenwald, Ed Stott and Members of the Blue Water Sailing Club

Session A3: 10:45-12:00 Voyage to Hell (& Back!)

Dealing with Tough Problems in Tough Situations

Facilitators: Bill Biewenga, Betsy Allison, Greg Koski, Steve Ricci and Participants

Session A3 further develops and applies knowledge gained in the first two sessions through a facilitated interactive discussion of a simulated offshore voyage in which several serious challenges are faced and solved by the audience, building on, reinforcing and applying topics covered in other sessions, including A1 and A2. These discussions will be further reinforced in the hands-on (Modules C and D) and race-preparation sessions (Module B). The scenarios are based in part on real-life experiences of the moderator and participants. Topics emphasized include boat preparation for safety offshore, personal safety gear including harnesses and jacklines, heavy weather management, damage control and jury rigging, deployment and use of life rafts, giving and receiving assistance to/from other vessels, etc. The learning objective is to ensure that all skippers and crew have a practical working approach to using their newly acquired knowledge in simulated emergency situations

Module B: This module is specifically intended to prepare skippers and crew to safely participate in the Marion-Bermuda and Marblehead-Halifax ocean races, and is also suitable for all sailors who plan extended passages offshore.

The topics covered in the three sessions of Module B, include race specific weather, currents, strategies and tactics, and will also cover general aspects of personal safety gear, crew selection and training, crew health, vessel preparation and emergency management in the setting of preparing for an actual offshore race or passage. These sessions further reinforce the knowledge and lessons covered in Module A.

Session B1: 13:30-15:00 Preparing the Boat and the Crew for Offshore Racing and Passagemaking

Faculty: Anne Kolker (invited), others TBA

This session will be invaluable for skippers and crew, whether racing or cruising, as it illustrates and instructs how the knowledge gained in Module A can be applied specifically for their boats and crews for an offshore passage or ocean race. Topics to be discussed within the context of preparing for their races or offshore passages include: crew election and training, crew health, provisioning, vessel preparation and inspection, fundamentals of marine weather and planning.

The discussions will be supplemented with lessons learned from participants in previous races and offshore passages.

Session B2: 15:15-16:00 Goin’ the Distance....

Overview of the Races: Course, Weather and Currents

Breakout sessions for Skippers and Crew

B1-Marion to Bermuda Race (TBA)

B2-Marblehead to Halifax Race (TBA)

Session B3: 16:00-16:30 And the Winner Is....

Race Strategy and Tactics

Breakout Sessions for Skippers and Crews

B1-Marion to Bermuda Race

Roy Greenwald and Chip Braddish

B2-Marblehead to Halifax Race TBA

Overview of One-Day Hands-On Field Based Curriculum (SAS2 and SAS4)

Module C: Safety and Survival in the Water. Personal safety gear, preparing to abandon ship, in water life raft experience.

Module D: Fires, Signals and Disaster Management. Understanding fires and extinguishers, flares and emergency signaling devices, hands-on experience with real fires and incendiary devices.

Safety at Sea Symposium Presenters and Bios for 2019

Bill Biewenga - Moderator

Bill BiewengaBill Biewenga is an offshore sailor who has accumulated over 400,000 sea miles in virtually every ocean of the world. His experience includes 41 transatlantic crossings, several TransPacs, numerous record attempts, deliveries and races, as well as participation in four round the world races and multiple listings in the Guinness Book of Records. He has experience as skipper, navigator, weather analyst/router, watch captain, helmsman, deck hand, and project manager. He uses his extensive marine background as a photojournalist and weather routing consultant while continuing his participation aboard a variety of vessels in the world’s major offshore events, delivering vessels throughout the world and mentoring individuals and crews. Bill also has offered educational weather seminars in cooperation with North U., and has presented a series of online seminars through his website at http://www.weather4sailors.com and provides other learning tools through his site at http://www.WxAdvantage.com. Email:

Edward J. Stott

Ed StottEd has logged over 60,000 ocean miles via numerous Caribbean deliveries on private yachts as well as his own Swan 44, cruising in the Caribbean and South Pacific, and racing offshore to Bermuda and Transatlantic. He has served in leadership positions as Skipper, Watch Captain and Navigator. Ed is knowledgeable in passage-making, preparation for an offshore voyage, mechanical repairs at sea as well as meteorology. He has authored articles about sailing preparation, safety and boat maintenance which have appeared in Cruising World and Blue Water Sailing magazines.

Ed is a member of the Blue Water Sailing Club, one of the sponsoring clubs to the Marion Bermuda Race, where he has served on the Board of Governors as the Offshore Chair and a member-at-large. Since 2010, Ed has served on the Safety at Sea committee and Marketing committee for the Marion Bermuda Race. Ed currently serves on the Marion Bermuda Race Executive Committee as the Safety at Sea Chairman.

He has spent his career in sales and marketing within the Insurance, Software Technology and Marine industries. Ed is currently the owner of Stott Marketing, a business to business marketing strategy and consulting company. Ed is also an accredited business counselor for SCORE.

Michael Jacobs MD - Speaker & Medical Seminars

Michael Jacobs, MDDirector, Annual MedSail Educational Conferences “Medicine for Mariners and Safety at Sea” 2003-present; U.S. Coast Guard licensed Captain 100 Ton; co-author of “A Comprehensive Guide To Marine Medicine,” author of chapter “Survival At Sea” in the textbook of Wilderness Medicine (past three editions). Speaker at “Safety At Sea” conferences and “Wilderness Medical Society” (WMS) conferences. Practicing physician on Martha’s Vineyard. Life long sailor with extensive ocean and coastal sailing experience. Winner of Multihull division Newport to Bermuda race aboard trimaran “Moxie.” Medical consultant to Adventure Medical Kits.

The two hour session will consist of presentations by Dr. Jacobs on topics that include sea sickness, hypothermia, dehydration, extremity injuries, head and neck injuries, surgical problems, medical conditions, the dangers of sun exposure, pain control and suggestions of appropriate medicines to have on board, followed by an open question and answer period. Handouts will be available.

  • Seasickness: cause, prevention, treatment
  • Health Maintenance at Sea - Discussion of the “Fearsome Five:”
    Food (Energy), Fluids (Dehydration), Fahrenheit (Sun exposure, hypothermia), Fatigue (sleep deprivation, watch schedules), Fitness (Illness and injury)
  • Marine Medical Kits - Discussion of some essential supplies, goals of on-board care, and discussion of common medical problems.
  • Telemedicine - Concept of telemedicine and how to report a medical problem.

Chris McNally - Communications

Chris McNallyChristopher J. McNally Esq,- Lives in Newport RI, and is a member of the Cruising Club of America. He holds a USCG 500 Ton Ocean Masters license and a 200 Ton RYA Yacht Master upon Oceans certificate. Christopher is a practicing Maritime and Ocean and Coastal Law attorney at Sayer Regan & Thayer, LLP in Newport, RI.
Christopher has tens of thousands of ocean miles sailing on a multitude of vessels, many thousand of which came from his time as mate, captain and educator of the sailing school vessel GERONIMO, the sail training platform for St. George’s School. He also launched and developed a maritime training program in Southern California for Orange Coast College with the goal of bringing talented young men and women into the professional maritime industries.
Christopher is the Chair of Communications and Emergency Management for the Newport to Bermuda Race and remains active in the New England maritime community.

Will Keene - President Edson International

Will KeeneWill Keene has worked at Edson, designing and specifying steering systems for boat builders and naval architects from around the world, for the past 35 years. He has served as president for 25 of those years for the 155 year old marine manufacturer of sailboat steering systems, marine pumps, electronics mounts, and related marine products. Before starting at Edson in 1979, Will worked for Cape Dory Yachts as a manager in the quality control, customer service, and inventory control departments. Will has restored numerous classic sail and power boats, concentrating on creating functional, safe, yet elegant cruising vessels from boats that are otherwise “diamonds in the rough.” Will makes his home in South Dartmouth, MA and is an avid boater and salt water angler.

Frank Bohlen, Professor of Oceanography Emeritus - Speaker & Weather Seminars

Frank BolhlenFrank Bohlen - Saturday speaker & Sunday with Ken McKinley March 12, 2017 Understanding Weather & the Gulf Stream is a Professor of Oceanography Emeritus in the Department of Marine Sciences at the University of Connecticut. For the past forty years he has been studying ocean and near-shore currents and transport using a variety of field and laboratory techniques. He is currently part of the team maintaining the Long Island Sound observatory (MYSOUND.uconn.edu). In addition to his scientific work he is an experienced ocean sailor and navigator and has sailed transatlantic four times and participated in 16 Newport Bermuda races and 10 Marblehead-Halifax Races. He received the Mixter Trophy as navigator of the winning yacht in the 1986 Newport Bermuda Race (Puritan - IMS). Since 1998 he has been presenting Gulf Stream Tutorials for the Newport Bermuda Race. Past editions of these can be obtained at Bermudarace.com.

This session will be presented by Ken McKinley, a professional meteorologist specializing in forecasting for ocean voyaging yachts, both cruising and racing, and Frank Bohlen, an oceanographer, Marine Sciences professor at the University of Connecticut, and an experienced offshore racer/cruiser and navigator.

The weather portion of the session will start with an overview of some basic meteorological concepts, then will focus on the formation and development of mid-latitude lows and their fronts, the types of wind and weather they produce, and how they affect the coastal waters of the U.S. and Canada and the western Atlantic. Information about the weather charts which are available and how they can be used will be presented, and a discussion of typical weather patterns which prevail over the waters between New England, Atlantic Canada, and Bermuda will take place.

The Gulf Stream portion will include a discussion of the factors governing the Stream, and similar warm water ocean currents, its structure and dynamics, characteristic variability in space and time, and the use of a variety of satellite data for trip planning purposes.

For portions of the session, both presenters will be working together to present information about how weather systems and warm water currents, such as the Gulf Stream, interact and the conditions that can result.

Ken McKinley, Locus Weather, Camden, Maine - Speaker & Weather Seminars

Ken McKinleyKen McKinley - Saturday speaker & Sunday with Frank Bohlen March 12, 2017 Understanding Weather & the Gulf Stream - earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Atmospheric Science from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY in 1980, and did graduate work in meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA. He has owned and operated Locus Weather, based in Camden, Maine, for 20 years. A significant portion of his meteorological consulting work involves providing custom weather forecast services to ocean voyaging yachts worldwide, both racers and cruisers. He has supported clients in the Marion Bermuda Race, the Newport Bermuda Race, the Marblehead Halifax Race, the Bermuda 1-2, the Chicago-Mackinac Race, the Caribbean 1500, and the Fastnet Race as well as other local and regional races. He is also involved in meteorological training and education, serving as a USCG certified instructor at professional maritime schools in Florida and Maryland. He has taught undergraduate meteorology courses at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, ME. He has also presented several two day weather courses to recreational mariners. He has published several articles in Ocean Navigator and Ocean Voyager magazines.

Dan O'Connor- Speaker & In-Water Training

Dan OConnorDan O’Connor - In Water Training - Saturday March 9, 2019 and repeated Sunday March 10, 2019 Clark Athletic Center - has been involved with US Sailing’s Safety at Sea Seminars since 2002 due to his expertise in marine safety equipment. Since that time Dan has been a key person in the development of the “hands on training” component for the Safety at Sea Seminars and provided the first ISAF personal survival course in the US. In the intervening period Dan has crammed over 1000 sailors into life rafts during the hands on portions of the Safety at Sea Seminars.

In addition to providing practical training for offshore sailors, Dan has developed and taught other marine safety training programs for a wide variety of mariners. As a USCG approved marine safety instructor Dan has worked to develop national standards for commercial fishing vessel safety training, and has also designed and delivered other training programs for a wide variety of mariners.

Dan has been a board member of the United States Marine Safety Association since 2006 and a director since 2011. He also serves as an advisor to US Sailing’s Safety at Sea Committee. Dan lives in Little Compton RI with his wife, and two boys. He was very excited to sell off his boat last year, and swears that he will never get another one, but is known to continually be looking at used boat listings.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Emergency responses and seven steps to survival
  • Survival Kit necessities
  • Immediate and delayed onset emergencies
  • Cold water survival skills
  • PFD care and usage
  • Boarding a life raft
  • Abandon ship preparation
  • Proper release, righting, and boarding survival craft
  • Improving life raft stability
Pool attendees should come prepared with a towel, change of clothes, and drinking water. In addition they should be prepared to enter the pool with their full foul weather gear including their boots, as well as their life jacket and tether. For those who cannot bring their life jacket a few will be available to borrow. Trash bags will be provided to stow wet gear in after the conclusion of the pool work. Please let me know if you have any further questions. Dan O’Connor, email: .