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Offshore Personal Survival Course
2 days
Sail Canada - World Sailing Approved
also known as Safety at Sea - Sea Survival


The Offshore Personal Survival Course (2 days) is for experienced sailors who are participating in offshore and oceanic races and passages, typically Offshore Special Regulations categories 0-1-2.  The course includes classroom and practical sessions.  Topics covered include personal safety equipment, man overboard, emergency communications & signals, search & rescue, weather forecasts, heavy weather & storm sails, damage control & fire, hypothermia & cold water immersion.  Practical, hands-on sessions include using lifejackets and life rafts in a pool environment; damage control; emergency signals.  This 2 day course is Sail Canada - World Sailing Approved.  Participants who successfully complete the course receive an Offshore Personal Survival Course certificate, valid for five years.  Click here for the course syllabus.  

If you are looking for a half day or one day Safety at Sea Seminar, this is not the right page for you.  Please visit the Personal Survival Training page to choose the right course.    




Sailors around the world take offshore personal survival training to prepare themselves and their boats.  Offshore personal survival training courses are offered for sailors in many countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Italy, New Zealand, Sweden, and the United States.  Some sailing event organizers recommend or require offshore personal survival training for participating crews.  World Sailing specifies offshore personal survival training requirements in section 6 of the Offshore Special Regulations, and outlines a model course in Appendix G of those regulations.  

In British Columbia, the Vic-Maui International Yacht Race and the Van Isle 360 International Yacht Race require some crew members to hold current Offshore Personal Survival Course (2 day) certificates, and the Southern Straits Yacht Race, Swiftsure International Yacht Race, and Patos Island Race require or recommend personal survival training (half day, one day, two days).  


Schedule and Registration

Last updated August 24, 2020.  We went into a COVID-19 training hold in March 2020, and are preparing to re-open training for the fall 2021.  More information should be available by August 30, 2021.  

Please check back here occasionally for updates.  

  • The classes are popular and tend to fill up quickly. 
  • Classes are usually scheduled in the October-to-April time-frame in order to minimize schedule conflicts with sailing events.  
  • We announce in advance – below - the dates and times when registration will open.  
  • We use an online registration system with credit card payment processing.  
  • Advance registration:  For some classes, we offer advance registration opportunities for crew members of boats participating in events that require this type of training.  Examples include Vic-Maui and the Van Isle 360.  Please ask your event skipper for information about advance registration opportunities.  
  • General registration:  For all classes, there is always some space available when general registration opens.  Links to the online registration system are provided below, when general registration opens.  

Second Half 2021 Classes

  • Information on dates and locations for classes for the second half of 2021 should be available by August 30, 2021.  When it is available, it will be posted here.  



First Half 2020 Classes

    • Offshore Personal Survival Course (2 day, Sail Canada - World Sailing Approved)
      Vancouver area, Friday-Saturday April 3-4, 2020
      Click here for general registration 
                (opens at 7:00 am PT on December 15, 2019)
                When the linked page says that the class is full, it is.  

    • Offshore Personal Survival Course (2 day, Sail Canada - World Sailing Approved)
      Vancouver area, Sunday-Monday April 5-6, 2020
      This class is currently open only for advance registration 
      - ask your 2020 Vic-Maui skipper for advance registration information

      The general registration link will be posted here when available
               (general registration opens at 7:00 am PT on March 15, 2020)
               When the linked page says that the class is full, it is.   


Recent classes

    • February 28-29, 2020, Vancouver
    • November 24-25, 2019, Vancouver
    • November 22-23, 2019, Vancouver
    • May 4-5, 2019, West Vancouver
    • March 30-31, 2019, West Vancouver
    • March 23-24, 2019, Victoria
    • February 16-17, 2019, Vancouver
    • November 17-18, 2018, Vancouver
    • October 13-14, 2018, Vancouver
    • April 28-29, 2018, West Vancouver
    • February 24-25, 2018, Vancouver
    • November 25-26, 2017, Vancouver
    • October 13-14, 2017, Vancouver
    • April 23-24, 2017, Vancouver
    • March 19-20, 2017, West Vancouver
    • March 17-18, 2017, West Vancouver
    • January 13-14, 2017, Victoria


Price and Terms

    • The Offshore Personal Survival Course is $400.00, plus taxes, in Canadian funds.  
    • Early bird (-10-20%) and renewal/upgrade pricing (-25%) options are offered for most classes.  When available, these options are automatically presented by the online registration system.  
    • Price includes advance material, course participation, refreshments and lunches, and upon successful completion a course certificate valid for five years.  
    • Registrations are non-cancellable by the participant, and non-refundable.  
    • Transfers, within the same class on the same dates, from one person to another may be permitted under circumstances acceptable to the organizers.  There is a transfer administration fee of $72.00.  Permission for transfer must be requested in writing by email to sas@bcsailing.bc.ca, not less than 14 days prior to the class start date.  


Renewals & Upgrades

The Offshore Personal Survival Course (2 day) has been offered in BC since 2011.  Certificates are valid for five years from the class date.  We do not currently offer a specialized course specifically for renewals.  The course evolves and participant memory changes over time.  New practical drills have been added, the damage control and pool drills have evolved, and refined/new content and knowledge has been incorporated.  Knowledge and skills need to be refreshed and practiced to be useful when needed most.  People whose training was several years ago, and/or whose certificates are expiring, should consider taking the training again.  

Participants who have previously completed a Safety at Sea Seminar or the Offshore Personal Survival Course, with a certificate issued by BC Sailing, are eligible for a 25% reduction in the registration price.  Have your expired/expiring BC Sailing certificate number ready when registering, as you will need it to select the renewal/upgrade option.  


Student Requirements and Advance Information

Fitness (2 day classes):

The Offshore Personal Survival Course (2 day) includes classroom and practical sessions.  Practical sessions include in-the-pool training with bulky wet clothing, life rafts and lifejackets.  Participants will enter the water in wet weather gear, swim with and without lifejackets, inflate, right and board life rafts, and assist other participants.  The training is physically and mentally demanding, requires the ability to swim, and may be stressful.  

It is the responsibility of participants to be fit for the training.  Participants who have any doubt about their ability to participate safely should consult their doctor and obtain medical approval in advance of the course.  

Liability waiver - release agreement and personal information consent forms:

Participants will be required to sign a liability waiver - release agreement prior to participation. 

Click here to review the liability waiver - release agreement

For the benefit of participants and event organizing authorities, BC Sailing and Sail Canada may maintain a publicly-searchable database listing participant names, certificate numbers and certificate expiry dates. Participants will be requested to sign a personal information consent form. 

Advance reading material (2 day classes):

Advance reading material will be delivered to the postal mailing address you provide during online registration, usually between one and two weeks prior to the class start date. Participants are expected to review the advance material prior to the start of the course.

Clothing and personal safety equipment:

For classroom and practical sessions other than the pool session:  

  • casual clothing is suitable
  • some practical sessions are conducted outdoors;  dress for the prevailing weather conditions
  • participants are required to bring a functional lifejacket or PFD, ideally meeting the requirements of the intended race or passage

For the practical pool session:  

  • participants are required to bring a foul weather outer layer, sailing footwear, and a functional lifejacket or PFD, ideally meeting the requirements of the intended race or passage
  • wearing a layer of clothing - at least swim shorts and a shirt (and some people will want more) - under the foul weather outer layer is recommended, for heat retention and chafe protection; the pool session is about 2 hours and the pool temperature is typically about 27°C / 80°F
  • using the same clothing and personal safety gear that you plan to sail offshore with is strongly recommended
  • all clothing and gear must be scrupulously clean and suitable for using in a public swimming pool
  • a change of clothing, a towel, and a bag suitable for carrying wet clothing and gear are recommended
  • shower and change facilities are provided
  • participants will need a re-arm kit for their PFD after the course (if using an inflatable PFD)

Refreshments and meals:

Light refreshments (water, coffee, tea) and lunches will be provided.


Location Information and Map Links

Royal Vancouver Yacht Club – Jericho Clubhouse

3811 Point Grey Road
Vancouver, BC V6R 1B3
Royal Vancouver Yacht Club – Jericho Clubhouse Location Map - click here
Free Parking – park, then request guest parking at reception desk


UBC Aquatic Centre

6080 Student Union Boulevard
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
UBC Aquatic Centre Location Map - click here
Pay Parking:  UBC North Parkade, 6115 Student Union Boulevard


UBC War Memorial Gym

6081 University Boulevard
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
UBC War Memorial Gym Location Map - click here
Pay Parking:  UBC North Parkade, 6115 Student Union Boulevard


West Vancouver Yacht Club

5854 Marine Drive
West Vancouver, BC V7W 2S2
WVYC Location Map - click here
Free Parking


Royal Victoria Yacht Club - Cadboro Bay

3475 Ripon Road
Victoria, BC V8R 6H1
Royal Victoria Yacht Club - Cadboro Bay Location Map - click here
Free parking


University of Victoria - McKinnon Pool

3800 Finnerty Road
Victoria, BC V8P 5C2
University of Victoria - McKinnon Pool Location Map - click here
(Pay parking; use lot #2, access from Gabriola Road)


Organization and Instructors

The Offshore Personal Survival Course is offered by BC Sailing in conjunction with local yacht clubs. The course was developed by the Safety at Sea Working Group, comprised of representatives of four distance races and their organizing authorities:

Southern Straits Yacht RaceWest Vancouver Yacht Club

Vic-Maui International Yacht RaceRoyal Vancouver Yacht Club

Swiftsure International Yacht RaceRoyal Victoria Yacht Club

Van Isle 360 International Yacht RaceBlast Performance Sailing

Offshore Personal Survival instructors are accredited by BC Sailing and Sail Canada.


Testimonials (from participants in 2011-2018 classes) 

  • "Thank you so much for the certificate and for running such an informative and professional course."

  • "I wanted to say thank you for the excellent course. I thought the course was extremely informative and was very impressed with the way it was presented."

  • "Just wanted to thank you and the other instructors for an excellent course. Really well-organized and communicated. The hands-on exercises (cutting rigging, flares) and time in the pool were particularly valuable... could be lifesavers!"

  • "Thanks again for the excellent course.  I particularly found that the real life examples drove home some messages. …  Up to that point in your course I had questioned the crotch strap concept a bit as my life jacket had not ridden up in the pool.  That story really hit home."

  • "Regarding the differences between this training and STCW / MED training … it’s not just about 'safety at sea' but 'sailing safely at sea'." (commercial ship’s officer)



For Personal Survival Training information that is not covered on this website, please send an email to sas@bcsailing.bc.ca



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