Ocean Racing Club of Victoria
Steb Fisher

Safety & Sea Survival Course (SSSC)

The Safety & Sea Survival Full Course is conducted over a period of at least sixteen hours. To be certified by an ORCV instructor, you must:

  • Complete the eLearning theory prior to attending your in person day
  • Complete the homework exercises, the weather exercise on the Wednesday prior
  • Attend the in-person day and show competency in life raft and flare related tasks
  • Complete the online exam.

The dates below are for the in-person day. Please choose your dates carefully knowing that you must complete the theory via the ORCV self-paced eLearning platform before attending. You will be enrolled into the theory soon after booking into a practical day, and you can start and stop and/or redo sections as you need to. It will take at least 9 hours to complete the online material and homework.

The in-person sessions are a mixture of classroom and practical exercises where you must demonstrate competency. They are conducted at Wesley College (St Kilda Campus) from 9 am to 5 pm. To maximise your learning, we conduct the wet drill practical in a heated swimming pool.

If you have done this course before, you may wish to consider the Safety & Sea Survival Refresher Course page here.

Book your in-person Course Dates

Book Now Buttons For the in-person day on Sunday 2nd June 2024

Book Now Buttons For the in-person day on Sunday 8th September 2024

Book Now Buttons For the in-person day on Sunday 1st December 2024


ORCV Members $395
Non-Members $495
Youth  (16-25) $195

Places in this course are limited and cannot be reserved. The only way to ensure your place is to enrol and pay the correct fee at the time of registration.

*Join ORCV prior to booking your course and immediately take advantage of ORCV Members’ Discount on your SSSC booking. Learn more about ORCV Membership, how to support our great club, and member benefits on courses and races.


The popular, biennial Fastnet race, was first held in 1925 in the Irish Sea and is run by the Royal Ocean Racing Club. A severe storm during the 1979 race resulted in the deaths of seventeen competitors and the loss or abandonment of twenty-three yachts. This led to a major overhaul of the rules and the equipment required for the competition.

In the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race of 1998, fierce storms and violent winds battered the fleet with the loss of six sailors and five yachts. A total of fifty-five sailors were rescued and a subsequent coroner’s inquest made recommendations which have been adopted into the Australian Sailing Special Regulations.

In an Australian Sailing affiliated offshore race, at least 50% of the crew (including the skipper) when racing in Category 1 or at least 30% for Category 2 shall hold a Safety & Sea Survival Course certificate of competence. The ORCV requires 50% for Category 2 offshore events and both co-skippers for double-handed. Regardless, it is strongly recommended that all offshore sailors undertake the course, whether racing or cruising. This course is a prerequisite for ocean racing, not only to meet the safety requirements but to demonstrate an acceptance of your personal and team responsibilities for safety on board an ocean-going boat.

All who are planning to spend time on a boat offshore will find this course stimulating and enlightening. It is not only of interest to sailors but also to those with power boats. It also helps shore crew to understand the safety requirements of offshore sailing along with the search and rescue process in the event of an emergency.


  • To assist offshore skippers and crew develop an awareness of respective responsibilities.
  • To increase the knowledge of offshore skippers and crew, to ensure a more proactive approach to staying safe offshore.
  • To offer and discuss practical strategies for coping with emergencies at sea.
    To familiarise skippers and crew with safety and emergency equipment, its purpose, deployment, and use.

An SSS certificate will be issued by Australian Sailing to successful candidates and will be valid for five years.


Your fitness to be able to complete the wet drill and other activities is expected. If you have any fitness or agility concerns or special needs please discuss that with us prior to the course.

Safety & Sea Survival Course Content

The theory component of the syllabus comprises five sections.

  1. Boat preparation
  2. Crew preparation
  3. Weather
  4. Emergencies
  5. Abandon ship

The theory will cover the following elements:

  • Introduction - Causes of marine emergencies
  • Principles of survival
  • Personal lifesaving appliances
  • Areas of risk and emergencies
  • Abandoning ship
  • Search and rescue
  • Use of pyrotechnics
  • Fire prevention and fire fighting
  • Emergency communications
  • First aid and early management of injury or illness
  • Duty of care

The wet drill practical is held in a heated pool. You will be in full wet weather gear and will work individually and as part of a team on the following:

  • Man overboard drill
  • Inflating personal flotation device (PFD)
  • Testing PFD buoyancy
  • Swimming techniques
  • Conserving heat
  • Teamwork
  • Retrieving and donning a life jacket while in the water
  • Righting an upturned liferaft
  • Entering a life raft unassisted
  • Bringing an unconscious person onto the liferaft
  • Contents of a survival kit
  • Retrieving crew with throwing line

The practical flare shoot will include igniting a handheld flare.


Theory Exam 80% pass mark; and
Practical competency (wet drill and flare drill)

What to Bring and Location Details

Click here for What to Bring to the in-person day and location details.



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3 Aquatic Drive, Albert Park VIC 3206 Ph. 0493 102 744 E. orcv@orcv.org.au