Four volunteer coaches from the Indiana Sailing Association participated in the US Sailing certified “Safety at Sea Seminar” April 20, 2013 at the Chicago Yacht Club Belmont Station on Lake Michigan with the help of the Chicago Yacht Club Foundation.
Taught by immensely experienced, lifelong sailors who included some of the top names in sailing and safety on Lake Michigan, the day long seminar followed a core curriculum of required topics that included personal safety equipment, crew overboard prevention and recovery, search and rescue procedures, and emergency communications.
Additional topics included hypothermia and medical issues at sea, fire precaution and extinguishing, weather forecasting, storm tactics, and vessel/crew preparation.
The Chicago Yacht Club Foundation provided a majority of the funding for the Indiana Sailing Association volunteer coaches to participate in the special safety seminar this year.
Walter G. Vartan, President of the Chicago Yacht Club Foundation and Past Commodore of the Chicago Yacht Club, greeted members of the Indiana Sailing Association at the start of the event.
Vartan expressed, “The Chicago Yacht Club Foundation is pleased to provide the opportunity for 4 members of the Indiana Sailing Association to participate in the US Sailing Safety at Sea seminar. It is hoped the coaches attending will be able to strengthen their teaching programs and provide a safer outcome for on the water activities.”
Christopher Kosovich, seminar participant, volunteer coach, and acting chief operating officer of the Indiana Sailing Association explained, “We are proud to extend our relationships and add the Chicago Yacht Club Foundation to our long list of supporters.”
He added, “For years the Indiana Sailing Association has had strong support from many local partners, such as the Foundations of East Chicago, to provide quality, safe youth sail training experiences. This recent support from the Chicago Yacht Club Foundation provides further validation of the good work our association is doing and illustrates their commitment to youth development, safety, and education as well.”
The safety training helped mark the informal launch of the the 2013 season for the Indiana Sailing Association.
Michael Brizic, a volunteer coach with the association who attended the seminar, plans on carrying the knowledge he gained into the season ahead.
“I intend on reviewing the most critical of safety practices again on my own and using information I’ve learned in required basic briefings before any youths are invited to board sailing vessels this season,” said Brizic. “I feel this will have an immense impact on increasing my credibility as a coach and improve the confidence parents have in my ability to care for their children.”
Another volunteer coach participating in the seminar, Matt Tirpak, recognizes the commitment to safety and education. “This shows the Chicago Yacht Club Foundation is actually dedicated to safety training and the most up-to-date techniques and products making the sport what it should be, an enjoyable experience by using education to prevent problems and deal with them if they do happen.”
Geoffrey Barrow, executive director of the Indiana Sailing Association, supported the efforts to obtain the grant from the Chicago Yacht Club Foundation to help extend the expertise of the volunteer coaches who participated.
According to Barrow, “I think there is no denying the truth that a sailing ship is far more dependent on individual human effort than any powered vessel.”
Barrow added the safety seminar reinforces core values. “The consequences of failure of responsibility or judgement can be severe, so sailors are trained to pay attention to many drills, routines and checks to keep the water out, the people on board, and to make port safely.”
Participants of this special seminar will receive a US Sailing Certificate of Attendance, valid for five years. The seminar also meets the training requirements of most sailing races conducted in the United States.
The Safety at Sea Seminar in Chicago was sanctioned by US Sailing and sponsored by the Chicago Yacht Club, Cruising World, Sailing World, West Marine and Landfall Navigation.
The Chicago Yacht Club Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization that promotes an awareness and appreciation of the nautical arts and traditions to the Chicagoland community through education and activities as well as through the support of like minded charitable organizations.