top of page

Student-Parent Sailing Handbook


Program Overview

This Handbook contains information regarding the Spindle Rock Youth Sailing Program, including important dates, required apparel, and expectations about behavior and responsible use of boats and equipment. Safety is our top priority. We believe safe practices, respect for instructors, and accountability for boats and equipment will contribute to a fun-filled and productive season for the student.

2024 season’s instructors are:

(coming soon)


We hope this summer’s program will provide an enjoyable and memorable experience for each student.  Please feel free to contact any of us with any questions or concerns.


John Bergland – Director of Junior Sailing

Frank Ray, III – Steward

Weller Henderson – Lead Instructor

Mike Silverman  – President

I. Program Objectives

  • Help student sailors develop skills required to sail safely, confidently, and in a seamanlike manner.

  • Teach students to appreciate and respect the unique characteristics and challenges of the Westport River estuary.

  • Develop sportsmanship, respect for the sea, and accountability for the boats & equipment used during instruction

  • Develop self-confidence and teamwork skills

  • Conduct all program elements in an environment of mutual trust and respect

  • Provide an enjoyable and educational experience for all participants


II. Required Clothing/Equipment for Students


  • Life jacket, Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device Type III (vest style)

  • FOX (or equivalent) Whistle attached to PFD

  • Sneakers or closed-toe boat shoes (no flip-flops)

  • Sun block – SPF 30 or stronger

  • Water bottle – (plastic, not glass) and snack

  • Hat – adequate to protect from the sun

  • Raingear–classes held in all weather except thunderstorms, squalls and high winds.

  • Towel and warm clothes

  • A backpack or bag to hold gear is recommended to prevent loss.


III. Student Reporting and Pickup

Students need to arrive promptly 10 minutes before the start of each class and be
picked up promptly at the designated end of class. Classes will not be delayed to wait for a tardy student. When students are not picked up promptly at the end of a class,
instructors may miss lunch breaks and/or be required to remain at work beyond the
normal work day.


IV. Swim Test & Related Safety Precautions


  • All students must pass a swim test during the first week of class. Students will beexpected to swim 50 yards and tread water for one minute. (Red Cross standard)

  • Lifejackets must be worn and fastened at all times while on the water or the docks.

V. Behavior Rules and Guidelines

  • Students are expected to obey instructors at all times.

  • Students should treat instructors and one another with respect and consideration atall times.

  • Observe the boundaries, both on the water and on the shore, as established by the instructors.

  • Inappropriate, vulgar, and disrespectful language is forbidden.

  • Backpacks and all personal belongings are to be left in a neat and orderly manner in the sail loft/ junior sailing clubhouse.

  • Boats and equipment are to be treated with care and respect.

VI. Procedures in case of Accidents or Emergencies on the Water

  • The lead instructor or a specifically-designated senior instructor shall have each student’s application, medical information and release form available at all classes.

  • Without exception, before each class begins, instructors shall test VHS radiosboat to boat, and boats to steward to assure that the units and frequencies work.

  • In the event of accident/incident requiring immediate emergency medical care or other assistance, the sailing instructor in charge is to use a cell phone to call 911 or the Westport Fire Department (636-1110) and request an ambulance and/or the aid of the Westport Harbor Master.

    • As soon thereafter as is practical, the instructor in charge shall call the student’s parent(s) or emergency contact to inform that person of the circumstances and request permission for medical treatment. In the event that individual cannot be contacted promptly, the Instructor in Charge may sanction emergency treatment, as provided for in the Medical Release form.

    • Once the emergency situation has been addressed and the injured or ailing student is no longer in immediate danger, the instructor in charge is to inform the club steward and the director in charge of the junior sailing program and prior to the end of the day prepare a detailed written report of the incident.

VII. Inclement Weather

The lead instructor will monitor the day’s weather and make a decision to keep classes on shore if weather conditions/forecasts are unfavorable. Alternative, on-shore instruction and/or activities will be substituted for in-boat sailing classes. In the event there is a squall while boats are on the water, instructors will have students return to the club immediately. If a thunderstorm/ squall approaches rapidly, boats are to proceed to the nearest shore, unrig, and wait for the danger to pass before returning to the club.

VIII. Student Responsibility for Boats

Each student is responsible for the boat he/she has been assigned each day. Students

must report damage or equipment failure immediately to their Instructor before the

end of the class on that day. Parents may be requested to pay for costs to repair

damage that results from negligent, inappropriate or reckless behavior.


IX. Designated Sailing Areas & Related Requirements

At the beginning of each class, Instructors will designate the sailing area in which that day’s instruction or activity is to take place. Students are to proceed directly to that part of the pond, river or bay and remain there until Instructors give permission to return to the beach. Students are to ensure that Instructor boats are in sight and be aware of their position at all times.

Sailing areas
bottom of page