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Elvstrom Sails New England - Harding Sails Kingman Yacht Center Landfall Navigation Team One Newport The Hinkley Yacht Center Life Raft and Survival Equipment

  2019 Symposium is scheduled for March 9 and 10, 2019   University Massachusetts Boston.

Final details are being negotiated.


The following was for 2017.  Please check back later for 2019 registration details.

University of Massachusetts, Boston
Universiy Hallsaslogo
100 Morrissey Blvd, Boston MA 02125
March 11-12, 2017

Sponsored by the Marion Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race
In conjunction with the Marblehead to Halifax Ocean Race

Support Documents

Safety at Sea Symposium

The 2017 Safety at Sea Symposium is scheduled for March 11-12, 2017 and will be held at University of Massachusetts, Boston, Massachusetts - University Hall (Google Map). This event is the result of the collaboration of efforts by a number of organizations interested in promoting safety at sea. It is sponsored by the Marion Bermuda Cruising Yacht Association and organized by the Blue Water Sailing Club, one of the three sponsors of the Marion Bermuda Race along with the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dingy Club and the Beverly Yacht Club. The Marblehead to Halifax Ocean Race also has participated in the planning of the event and has encouraged their members to attend.

Continental breakfast and lunch is included for the Saturday symposium.

Campus Map The symposium is sanctioned by US Sailing. The agenda includes safety topics described in the 2006-2007 “International Sailing Federation Special Regulations” (ISAF) Handbook, section 6 - Training.

On-Site Registration - University HallSaturday March 11, 20177:00AM - 7:30AM 

  Morning Sessions Afternoon Sessions
Saturday   Symposium Breakouts
Sunday Medical   Weather/Gulfstream   Medical   Weather/Gulfstream  
  In-Water Skills/Emergency       In-Water Skills/Emergency    

Marion Bermuda Race Safety Requirements - Skills

4.3.1 Safety at Sea Training: At least 30% of those aboard the boat, but not fewer than two members of the crew, unless racing single-handed, including the person in charge, shall have attended a one-day or two-day US Sailing Safety at Sea Seminar within the last 5 years, or other courses as accepted by US Sailing.

Note from Race Administration: We also recommend that the majority of your return crew, especially those who have never sailed offshore, attend. It is not required (currently) that return crew attend, but we strongly recommend it. Safety is just as important cruising home from Bermuda as it is racing to Bermuda.

For other Symposiums scheduled see http://www.ussailing.org/education/safety-at-sea/.

This symposium features a very experienced group of speakers to address a series of topics which are of vital interest to all serious sailors. In addition to the safety topics there will be breakout sessions for the Marblehead to Halifax Ocean Race and the Marion Bermuda Race

On-site registration will begin at 0700, March 11, 2017. The program begins promptly at 0730 and is scheduled to continue until 1600. Marion to Bermuda and Marblehead to Halifax breakout sessions will follow and end at 1800. A notebook and pen is recommended for all sessions and for the Sunday in-water session, a bathing suit and towel is needed.

Safety at Sea Symposium Presenters and Bios for 2017

Edward J. Stott - Chairman

Ed StottEd has logged over 60,000 ocean miles via numerous Caribbean deliveries on private yachts as well as his own Swan 44, cruising in the Caribbean and South Pacific, and racing offshore to Bermuda and Transatlantic. He has served in leadership positions as Skipper, Watch Captain and Navigator. Ed is knowledgeable in passage-making, preparation for an offshore voyage, mechanical repairs at sea as well as meteorology. He has authored articles about sailing preparation, safety and boat maintenance which have appeared in Cruising World and Blue Water Sailing magazines.

Ed is a member of the Blue Water Sailing Club, one of the sponsoring clubs to the Marion Bermuda Race, where he has served on the Board of Governors as the Offshore Chair and a member-at-large. Since 2010, Ed has served on the Safety at Sea committee and Marketing committee for the Marion Bermuda Race. Ed currently serves on the Marion Bermuda Race Executive Committee as the Safety at Sea Chairman.

He has spent his career in sales and marketing within the Insurance, Software Technology and Marine industries. Ed is currently the owner of Stott Marketing, a business to business marketing strategy and consulting company. Ed is also an accredited business counselor for SCORE.

Bill Biewenga - Moderator

Bill BiewengaBill Biewenga is an offshore sailor who has accumulated over 400,000 sea miles in virtually every ocean of the world. His experience includes 41 transatlantic crossings, several TransPacs, numerous record attempts, deliveries and races, as well as participation in four round the world races and multiple listings in the Guinness Book of Records. He has experience as skipper, navigator, weather analyst/router, watch captain, helmsman, deck hand, and project manager. He uses his extensive marine background as a photojournalist and weather routing consultant while continuing his participation aboard a variety of vessels in the world’s major offshore events, delivering vessels throughout the world and mentoring individuals and crews. Bill also has offered educational weather seminars in cooperation with North U., and has presented a series of online seminars through his website at http://www.weather4sailors.com and provides other learning tools through his site at http://www.WxAdvantage.com. Email:

Michael Jacobs MD - Speaker & Medical Seminars

Michael Jacobs, MDDirector, Annual MedSail Educational Conferences “Medicine for Mariners and Safety at Sea” 2003-present; U.S. Coast Guard licensed Captain 100 Ton; co-author of “A Comprehensive Guide To Marine Medicine,” author of chapter “Survival At Sea” in the textbook of Wilderness Medicine (past three editions). Speaker at “Safety At Sea” conferences and “Wilderness Medical Society” (WMS) conferences. Practicing physician on Martha’s Vineyard. Life long sailor with extensive ocean and coastal sailing experience. Winner of Multihull division Newport to Bermuda race aboard trimaran “Moxie.” Medical consultant to Adventure Medical Kits.

The two hour session will consist of presentations by Dr. Jacobs on topics that include sea sickness, hypothermia, dehydration, extremity injuries, head and neck injuries, surgical problems, medical conditions, the dangers of sun exposure, pain control and suggestions of appropriate medicines to have on board, followed by an open question and answer period. Handouts will be available.

  • Seasickness: cause, prevention, treatment
  • Health Maintenance at Sea - Discussion of the “Fearsome Five:”
    Food (Energy), Fluids (Dehydration), Fahrenheit (Sun exposure, hypothermia), Fatigue (sleep deprivation, watch schedules), Fitness (Illness and injury)
  • Marine Medical Kits - Discussion of some essential supplies, goals of on-board care, and discussion of common medical problems.
  • Telemedicine - Concept of telemedicine and how to report a medical problem.

Chris McNally - Communications

Chris McNallyChristopher J. McNally Esq,- Lives in Newport RI, and is a member of the Cruising Club of America. He holds a USCG 500 Ton Ocean Masters license and a 200 Ton RYA Yacht Master upon Oceans certificate. Christopher is a practicing Maritime and Ocean and Coastal Law attorney at Sayer Regan & Thayer, LLP in Newport, RI.
Christopher has tens of thousands of ocean miles sailing on a multitude of vessels, many thousand of which came from his time as mate, captain and educator of the sailing school vessel GERONIMO, the sail training platform for St. George’s School. He also launched and developed a maritime training program in Southern California for Orange Coast College with the goal of bringing talented young men and women into the professional maritime industries.
Christopher is the Chair of Communications and Emergency Management for the Newport to Bermuda Race and remains active in the New England maritime community.

Will Keene - President Edson International

Will KeeneWill Keene has worked at Edson, designing and specifying steering systems for boat builders and naval architects from around the world, for the past 35 years. He has served as president for 25 of those years for the 155 year old marine manufacturer of sailboat steering systems, marine pumps, electronics mounts, and related marine products. Before starting at Edson in 1979, Will worked for Cape Dory Yachts as a manager in the quality control, customer service, and inventory control departments. Will has restored numerous classic sail and power boats, concentrating on creating functional, safe, yet elegant cruising vessels from boats that are otherwise “diamonds in the rough.” Will makes his home in South Dartmouth, MA and is an avid boater and salt water angler.

Frank Bohlen, Professor of Oceanography Emeritus - Speaker & Weather Seminars

Frank BolhlenFrank Bohlen - Saturday speaker & Sunday with Ken McKinley March 12, 2017 Understanding Weather & the Gulf Stream is a Professor of Oceanography Emeritus in the Department of Marine Sciences at the University of Connecticut. For the past forty years he has been studying ocean and near-shore currents and transport using a variety of field and laboratory techniques. He is currently part of the team maintaining the Long Island Sound observatory (MYSOUND.uconn.edu). In addition to his scientific work he is an experienced ocean sailor and navigator and has sailed transatlantic four times and participated in 16 Newport Bermuda races and 10 Marblehead-Halifax Races. He received the Mixter Trophy as navigator of the winning yacht in the 1986 Newport Bermuda Race (Puritan - IMS). Since 1998 he has been presenting Gulf Stream Tutorials for the Newport Bermuda Race. Past editions of these can be obtained at Bermudarace.com.

This session will be presented by Ken McKinley, a professional meteorologist specializing in forecasting for ocean voyaging yachts, both cruising and racing, and Frank Bohlen, an oceanographer, Marine Sciences professor at the University of Connecticut, and an experienced offshore racer/cruiser and navigator.

The weather portion of the session will start with an overview of some basic meteorological concepts, then will focus on the formation and development of mid-latitude lows and their fronts, the types of wind and weather they produce, and how they affect the coastal waters of the U.S. and Canada and the western Atlantic. Information about the weather charts which are available and how they can be used will be presented, and a discussion of typical weather patterns which prevail over the waters between New England, Atlantic Canada, and Bermuda will take place.

The Gulf Stream portion will include a discussion of the factors governing the Stream, and similar warm water ocean currents, its structure and dynamics, characteristic variability in space and time, and the use of a variety of satellite data for trip planning purposes.

For portions of the session, both presenters will be working together to present information about how weather systems and warm water currents, such as the Gulf Stream, interact and the conditions that can result.

Ken McKinley, Locus Weather, Camden, Maine - Speaker & Weather Seminars

Ken McKinleyKen McKinley - Saturday speaker & Sunday with Frank Bohlen March 12, 2017 Understanding Weather & the Gulf Stream - earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Atmospheric Science from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY in 1980, and did graduate work in meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA. He has owned and operated Locus Weather, based in Camden, Maine, for 20 years. A significant portion of his meteorological consulting work involves providing custom weather forecast services to ocean voyaging yachts worldwide, both racers and cruisers. He has supported clients in the Marion Bermuda Race, the Newport Bermuda Race, the Marblehead Halifax Race, the Bermuda 1-2, the Chicago-Mackinac Race, the Caribbean 1500, and the Fastnet Race as well as other local and regional races. He is also involved in meteorological training and education, serving as a USCG certified instructor at professional maritime schools in Florida and Maryland. He has taught undergraduate meteorology courses at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, ME. He has also presented several two day weather courses to recreational mariners. He has published several articles in Ocean Navigator and Ocean Voyager magazines.

Dan O'Connor- Speaker & In-Water Training

Dan OConnorDan O’Connor - In Water Training - Sunday March 12, 2017 - morning or afternoon Clark Athletic Center - has been involved with US Sailing’s Safety at Sea Seminars since 2002 due to his expertise in marine safety equipment. Since that time Dan has been a key person in the development of the “hands on training” component for the Safety at Sea Seminars and provided the first ISAF personal survival course in the US. In the intervening period Dan has crammed over 1000 sailors into life rafts during the hands on portions of the Safety at Sea Seminars.

In addition to providing practical training for offshore sailors, Dan has developed and taught other marine safety training programs for a wide variety of mariners. As a USCG approved marine safety instructor Dan has worked to develop national standards for commercial fishing vessel safety training, and has also designed and delivered other training programs for a wide variety of mariners.

Dan has been a board member of the United States Marine Safety Association since 2006 and a director since 2011. He also serves as an advisor to US Sailing’s Safety at Sea Committee. Dan lives in Little Compton RI with his wife, and two boys. He was very excited to sell off his boat last year, and swears that he will never get another one, but is known to continually be looking at used boat listings.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Emergency responses and seven steps to survival
  • Survival Kit necessities
  • Immediate and delayed onset emergencies
  • Cold water survival skills
  • PFD care and usage
  • Boarding a life raft
  • Abandon ship preparation
  • Proper release, righting, and boarding survival craft
  • Improving life raft stability