Coastguard Safe Boating

The Safe Boating Programme is an initiative designed to provide practical, boating and water safety experience for children – regardless of their confidence in the water.

The programme includes in-water survival techniques, essential safety equipment (e.g. correct lifejacket selection and fitting), the importance of communications, and taking responsibility for personal safety. Boating activities are taught in a fun, controlled, and safe environment.

Learning Outcomes


1.1 Safety Briefing

  • Alert candidates to dangers/hazards at site
  • Discuss/show different types and purposes of life jackets & PFDs
  • Lifejackets - correct fitting and the importance of correct size (Life jackets to be worn at all times during the Safe Boating programme, including the instructor)

1.2 Equipment

  • Cell phone - Advantages/disadvantages/111 – ask for police; waterproof bag for cell phones/cell phone is unlikely to float
  • VHF – CH 16 – May not float
  • VHF Radio/EPIRB/flares/horn/torch/SOS/whistle/lowering and raising out-stretched arms

1.3 Skipper & Crew

  • Skipper: safety of boat and all on board and complying with all Maritime rules
  • Crew: recognising who is in charge and why, being able to assist as crew, ensure personal safety and that of peers, responsibility to alert skipper to any danger

In the water

2.1 Confidence in floating whilst wearing a life jacket

  • Water entry (stepping in) - Hand behind head/or holding nose and other hand holding life jacket. The pool must be a minimum of 1m deep.
  • HELP (Heat escape lessening posture) - As an individual
  • Huddle position – As part of a group, wearing life jackets, importance of staying together and maintaining eye contact, calling for help

On the boat

3.1 Boat Safety

  • Three points of contact at all times
  • Boat capsize (by instructor) to be done in a minimum of 1m of water. Once in water, get into the HELP position, calm down and assess the situation. Look for other people and safety equipment, Huddle, look after each other, look for additional sources of flotation from the boat (squabs, chilly bin, upturned buckets, etc.) Make a plan.
  • Get body out of the water, huddling on the hull, stay with the boat, calling for help i.e. VHF, mobile, whistle or raising and lowering arms.
  • Capsize reversal/righting as a team, ocean to boat rescues/ head back to shore/across pool in boat using any available means ie paddles, hands, bin lids
  • Bailing the boat
  • SCUBA exit

3.2 Hypothermia

  • Discuss the effect of wind and water


4.1 Regroup Students

  • Ask students: what is the best thing they have learned today? What things they will go home and teach their family? Did they have fun?
  • Reiterate the importance of preparation and team work when boating