Safety Seminar

The English Bay Safety Seminar was developed for users of the Jericho Sailing Centre to help keep them safe at play on the waters of English Bay. The seminar covers basic water safety fundamentals along with user specific information drawn from the logs of the Jericho Rescue Team who have intervened in thousands of “sea disasters” over the past 37 years.

Why make your own mistakes when you can learn from the mistakes of others? Don’t challenge Darwin’s theory, make sure your water safety knowledge is the fittest it can be. Your survival may well depend upon it. Find the missing links and fill in the gaps in your water safety knowledge by attending a FREE English Bay Safety Seminar. Note that during the pandemic we will be moving this course online.

Our event schedule can be viewed here

While the course is often tailored to those in attendance, basic course content is outlined below:

English Bay Safety Seminar

Be Prepared – Before you Launch always do a pre-departure inspection from a checklist and have a float plan which someone close to you knows about.

Download the English Bay Safety Seminar PowerPoint presentation PDF here.


  • English Bay and Burrard Inlet are among the busiest waterways in Canada. Familiarize yourself with the marine chart for this area (3496).
  • Familiarize yourself with the Port of Vancouver’s Port Information Guide.
  • Know where the shipping lanes are and use them for transiting only, once you are sure they are clear. Large ships in the shipping lane are deceptively fast, are not easily maneuverable, and take a great distance to stop. There is a very large blind spot in front of ships with aft bridges.
  • The water north of Siwash Rock extending to the North Shore and east of the Lions Gate bridge is a hazardous and restricted and no-go zone for small naturally powered craft – learn more about TCZ-1 (Traffic Control Zone 1) in the Port of Vancouver’s Port Information Guide.
  • Stay at least 50m away from ships at anchor.
  • In general the area south of ships at anchor is the safest for recreational users.
  • Tug boats coming and going to and from False Creek have special dispensation from the Port to come close to the south shore of English Bay. If you see a tug, assume there is a tow. It is illegal and extremely dangerous to pass between a tug and tow.
  • Be aware of other navigational and geographic hazards: other vessels-commercial and recreational; Jericho Pier and fishing lines; Albatross; rock groynes; RVYC breakwater; Spanish Bank and shallow rocky shorelines; wind shuts off an hour before sunset.
  • Be aware of the latest marine weather forecast posted on the Weather Board at the entrance of the JSC building. This information is also available on Jericho’s website: and at Environment Canada.
  • Know what the tides are relative to your on water session (also on the Weather Board). 
  • Know & observe the marine Right of Way rules; keep a constant watch for other vessels.
  • The water space north of the Jericho Sailing Centre, marked by the orange can buoys, is exceptionally busy and frequently full of beginners. Please use this area for transiting to and from shore only; do not remain in this area.


  • Ensure your craft complies with the Minimum Safety Equipment Requirements for your vessel.
  • Check rigging and equipment carefully (bung plugs, pins, shackles, clips, harnesses, lines, foils, mast, step, centerboard and wells).
  • Make sure your mast is properly sealed if designed to be so.
  • Unless you are a windsurfer, carry a paddle.
  • Always sail with a knife.
  • Make sure you have a “quick release” from your harness.
  • A sound signaling device is required by law – carry a whistle.
  • Monohull sailors should ensure positive floatation for their hull; it will always keep them afloat
    no matter what!
  • Check buoyancy compartments and hatch covers to ensure they are sealed.


  • Wear a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) or lifejacket. Ensure it is in good condition (zippers, buckles and fabric not damaged) & the correct size.
  • Wear appropriate attire (wet/dry suit). Hypothermia can strike on the hottest of days.
  • Know your physical limits, skill and endurance.
  • Wear UV protection: sunglasses, sunscreen, hat, and clothing.
  • Know the various distress signals.
  • In an emergency do not panic.


1.  A port tack vessel shall keep clear of a starboard tack vessel.
2.  A windward vessel shall keep clear of a leeward vessel.
3.  A vessel clear astern shall keep clear of a vessel ahead.
4.  Any vessel overtaking another shall keep clear.
5.  A vessel tacking or gybing shall keep clear of a vessel on a tack.
6.  When two vessels are both tacking or gybing at the same time, the one on the other’s port side
  shall keep clear.
7.  All non-commercial vessels shall keep well clear of commercial vessels.
These are the rules of the sea; remember not everyone may know them, so practice “defensive sailing technique”.


Hypothermia is a clinical term for exposure to intense cold, or a long duration in cool elements, which causes the core body temperature to lower. In 20 degree Celsius water or lower, the body cannot generate heat as fast as it loses it and body temperature drops rapidly.

  • Primary symptoms include numbness in the fingers and toes, loss of strength and co-ordination followed by violent shivering and palling of the face.
  • Secondary symptoms include slow, slurred speech, confused actions and bluish lips.
  • Final stages of hypothermia before death are dilated pupils, blue skin and unconsciousness.

Prevent hypothermia by always wearing proper attire on the water. Hypothermia can occur even on the hottest days.

Reference Material

Transport Canada Safe Boating Guide

Port of Vancouver Port Information Guide

Canada Shipping Act, Collision Regulations,_c._1416/FullText.html

Cold water boot camp (hypothermia resources)

Emergency Contact

Canadian Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Centre
Cell *16 
Phone 1-800-567-5111

Victoria Coast Guard Radio
VHF Channel 16

Non-Emergency Contact

Jericho Sailing Centre
Office (604) 224-4177
VHF Channel 80A Call sign “Jericho Base”

Current Weather and Tides