1. The Racing Rules of Sailing (ISAF/US Sailing Appendix G) clearly states that "A boat or competitor shall give all possible help to any person or vessel in danger." This is reinforced by SOLAS Convention Chapter V Regulation 33 also found in Appendix G.

2. Nevertheless, several events of "Man Overboard" (in some cases multiple MOB) have occurred in the past year where nearby boats failed to render any assistance, or rendered inadequate assistance. Fortunately no lives were lost. The Storm Trysail Club (STC) therefore finds it necessary to clarify its view of "rendering assistance."

3. At all STC events, the following "Guideline for Rendering Assistance" will be utilized. Boats and their owners (and skippers if different) who in STC's opinion violate this Guideline may be disqualified from the race and possibly ejected from the series and future STC events. STC advises every competitor to familiarize themselves with this Guideline and act in accordance. If a competitor witnesses a violation of this Guideline they shall protest or otherwise bring the incident to the attention of the STC. Suggestions for improvement of this Guideline are welcome.


1. Distress Situations include, but are not limited to:

  • a) Man Overboard
  • b) Fire
  • c) Collision with serious injury or risk of sinking
  • d) Dismasting with serious injury, risk of sinking or immediate grounding
  • e) Grounding with risk of sinking
  • f) Crew injury or life-threatening illness

2. The nearest boat, or boats, depending on the facts and circumstances, to a Distress Situation shall immediately cease racing and render assistance, or standby as the situation warrants. If there is any doubt as to whether a boat should assist, or keep racing, she should err on the side of safety and assist. Use of auxilliary power is permitted.

3. Assisting boats shall endeavor to establish radio and/or cellphone communication with the Race Committee and assist with communications, including a Distress Call, as necessary. Such communications shall continue until the Distress Situation is resolved.

4. In a MOB situation, an Assisting Boat shall immediately endeavor to get flotation to the MOB(s) if necessary, and execute a pick-up unless another vessel (including the MOB boat) is in a more favorable position. Assisting Boat(s) shall not leave the scene until all MOB are safely on deck of another Assisting Vessel or the MOB vessel. If the Assisting Boat makes the pickup and determines that it is unsafe to transfer the MOB back to their boat, then the Assisting Boat may resume racing with the MOB aboard provided that there is no health risk to the MOB.

5. When an Assisting Boat has completed its duty at the scene of a Distress Situation, she may resume racing and apply for Redress. If she has experienced extensive delay, deviation, or damage she may abandon the race and request Redress. As a Guideline only, a fifteen minute delay in a one hour short course race would suggest retiring from the race, whereas five minutes would suggest resuming the race. When considering Redress, the STC will instruct the Jury to evaluate facts and circumstances such as an Assisting Boat's place immediately prior to the Distress Situation, percentage of the race completed, time lost including regaining racing trim (hoisting sails and getting back to speed), and deviation. Redress may be provided in the form of a time adjustment, an assigned finishing place, or average of the boat's other scores.