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HomeSkipper Guidelines

Skipper Guidelines

rev 10/6/2014

As a boat owner/charterer and skilled sailor, you can be a valuable asset to the club. In return, the club can provide you with crew and camaraderie. However, there are certain things skippers must do in order for the club to be successful. This paper gives some guidelines.

-- Skippers should also know the Member and Crew Guidelines document. --

Initiating an Outing

The SSA fire is fueled by the skippers. When you start something, members will join in to build it bigger. If you don’t go, the club will smoulder.

At least twice per year, you are expected to either join an arranged sailing event, or organize one, and commit to taking out some crew.

Inviting Crew

Our club organizers recognize that our skippers have a right to be particular about who goes on their boat, and who doesn’t. You should recognize that SSA won’t work unless skippers provide sailing opportunities for the members. Stretch yourself from time to time by inviting crew members you normally wouldn’t.

Teaching Crew

SSA encourages, but does not require that you teach crew. Many of our members join because they want to improve their sailing skills. Please consider setting aside some time during the day to teach. Having competent sailing crew will make ours a stronger club


The Crew Expectations document requests crew to communicate with you when they are invited. Skippers need to uphold their end of the communication. Respond to phone calls and check e-mail regularly prior to your trip.

Provide your crew with the following:

  • phone number or email address so that they can contact you.

  • anticipated departure and arrival times.

  • any extra requirements or expectations that are specific to you and your boat

 Calendar Events and Forum Based Sails

Events are those sails shown on the Calendar. Both Skippers and Crew register for the event and the host assists the skippers with placing crew on their boat. If there is no host then the skippers work amongst themselves to place the crews.


Impromptu sails are originated typical by a skipper by posting to one of the three sailing forums. Communication between potential crew and the skipper are handled by direct email or through the forum (but in all cases the originating skipper gets an email about each reply, no matter how handled).

Cruise Departure and Return Times

When you invite crew to go out for a sail, provide an approximate departure and return time. As a skipper, you should strive to adhere to schedule. Just like you don’t want crew spoiling your sailing plan by unexpectedly announcing they need to be back early, you should return your passengers to the dock as promised. Getting back much later than planned can spoil plans the crew has made for the evening.

Likewise, if you surprise your crew by changing your sailing plans, it can present problems. For example: You decide to go out of the Golden Gate Bridge unexpectedly. Blair wasn’t expecting this and sometimes gets seasick in the ocean. However, she goes along with the plan so as to not spoil the fun. Exactly 1 mile out of the gate, Blair - seasick from the swells - vomits on your new custom cockpit cushions!

Sailing Report

Report to the host after every scheduled outing. It only takes a few minutes to call or e-mail. We want to know the following:

  1. That you went out

  2. How many crew went

  3. Your perception of crew members skills – tell them directly if you think they have underrated themselves

  4. The highlights or mishaps of your trip

Be Cool

Don’t yell unless it is really necessary. Our sailing is done for the purpose of having a good time. We are usually not racing. You should plan your rigging and maneuvering to allow extra time for inexperienced crew.

Don’t be creepy. Skippers, especially men, should be careful not to corner or touch inappropriately a crew member. Statements or jokes with sexual overtones should generally be avoided.

Sailing Conditions

When sailing with crew you are not familiar with, and who are not familiar with your boat, you should sail in conditions well within your comfort zone. Take out only advanced crew when taking on challenging conditions or unfamiliar water.

Vessel Condition

It is expected that your vessel will be reasonably equipped and maintained. This boils down to a safety issue. Engine stalls can leave your boat and crew drifting in a shipping lane. A frayed halyard can break in high winds and cause your boat to flounder. A boat not equipped with an anchor can drift into trouble. Weak stanchions or broken lifeline latches can cause a crew member to fall overboard.

Safety Equipment

  • Make sure each crew has a PFD

  • Have all required USCG safety, signaling and emergency equipment aboard

  • Keep a working VHF radio on board during a sail in case of emergencies.

  • Safety gear should be in good working order

  • Know and follow rules of the road and regulations.

  • It is advised you keep a lifting device or have other methods for bringing a MOB back onboard. You should test this from time to time to make sure it will be effective if needed

Registration and Insurance

  • Keep insurance up to date.

  • Keep registration up to date.