Risk Management

What are your risks?

There is a degree of risk associated with sailing and volunteering at Hamilton Yacht Club (HYC).  The club does its best to look after members and guests involved in club activities by anticipating and preventing possible harm or injury to participants. However, yacht racing involves rigging up and operating a racing dinghy surrounded by others doing the same thing. It is not possible to remove all risk from this sport. The club is a learning environment - for fledgling sailors, patrol boat skippers, race officers and others. As a club, we need to find a balance between letting members learn by their mistakes and maintaining safe standards. A culture of anticipating problems, looking out for yourself and for others contributes to an environment of safety.

HYC’s sailing activities have identifiable areas that need to be attended to consistently. Any variation in them can affect the risk to participants and their enjoyment of the club’s activities.


HYC is an Incorporated Society. Its activities are run for members, by members who acquire the necessary skills in race management, patrol boat rescue, regatta management in addition to the general skills of maintaining a club house and membership. HYC’s skill base and ability to manage some risks varies with the availability and ability of its members. Roles and responsibilities for the season’s activities, assigned and published pre-season, cannot always be adhered to as the season progresses. Members who come forward to run the club, or are prepared to cover and assist on an ad hoc basis, contribute to the “reliability” of our club safety environment.

On Land Risks

Parking, Rigging area and Club House activities

Boats are stored in lockers at the club, or brought by road. They are unloaded and rigged with other sailors doing similar things. The main risk is in being hit by masts, booms, sails etc as they are assembled parked in the rigging area or on launching and retrieving them. Risks are reduced by physical separation of boats, rigging them head to wind, securing them to trolleys. Launching must be done in an orderly fashion.

On the water activities

Race Management

Sailing is an independent, largely unsupervised activity. Racing is governed by the Racing Rules of Sailing issued by an international body. Sailors are expected to have a working knowledge of the rules, but this can vary with novices. Races are controlled by a Race Officer who is responsible for a range of on-water activities - setting the race course, starting and finishing the races and assisting disabled competitors by directing the Patrol Boats. Race Officers are encouraged to attend Yachting New Zealand Race Management Seminars.