Safety training toolbox for operators of traditional sailing vessels and their crews performing maintenance and drydocking.

Free safety training programs — both virtual and in-person.

The SailSafe Goal

SailSafe offers access to a comprehensive set of safety-training programs and guidelines that are available free to shipyards, traditional sail organizations and sailors involved with traditional vessels undergoing annual maintenance and refits. We seek to help mariners-turned-shipyard workers work safer and be more aware of risks while doing the critical work of maintaining traditional vessels.

SailSafe’s mission is to offer safety-awareness programs at no cost to Traditional Rig sailors who may be unfamiliar with shipyard and ship repair risks; to advance the careers of Traditional Rig sailors with education and certification; and to improve the reputation and safety record of the traditional sail vessel industry.

The Case for Project SailSafe

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)’s Shipyard Workplace Safety Regulations (29-CFR-1915) are often little known to traditional vessel crews, many of whom are not subject to OSHA regulation.

Shipyard work is statistically almost twice as dangerous as any other industrial work. According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH), between 2011 and 2017 there were at least 45 fatal accidents (4.0 per 100,000) among shipyard workers, a higher rate than for all U.S. workers. There were an estimated 61,600 non-fatal injuries/illnesses during the same period (5,370 per 100,000) — nearly twice the rate for all U.S. workers, and one of the highest injury/illness rates among maritime workers1.

Despite the risk, many traditional sailing vessel crew members enter the shipyard workforce for short periods of time and often without any formal training.

In 1983, OSHA ceded authority to the US Coast Guard for safety oversight for Inspected vessels. (OSHA has authority over landside workplaces including General Industry, Construction, Shipyards, Maritime Terminals, and Longshoring Operations2.

Whenever crews of traditional uninspected or inspected vessels (the latter exempted from OSHA) work in or around facilities such as Shipyards and Maritime Terminals, they may easily become exposed to safety risks they are unaware of or not properly trained and protected from. Open hatches, gangways, and temporary working surfaces are all areas of concern, as is the need for special protections from HazMat, falling loads and confined space entry. When landside workers come onboard, they are regulated by OSHA and their workplace safety must be properly accommodated and understood by maritime crews. We seek to help managers and mariners fill in this void by providing free training and qualified certification — as a public service.

Traditional sailing vessels provide life-changing sail training experiences to novice sailors worldwide. Young people who are lucky enough to have the opportunity to spend a week, a semester, a year or more at sea highly value the sail training and experience they receive for the rest of their lives. But the longer they stay in the industry, the more shipyard-type work they will be involved in, including dockside maintenance, up-rig and down-rig etc. If the mariner has no industrial workplace safety training, this creates unappreciated risk for traditional vessel managers who themselves often lack training in these areas as well.

Let’s provide all mariners — especially our Traditional Rig sailors-in-training — the tools they need to keep themselves and their colleagues safer and more aware of the risks they may face in yard. In a successful traditional sailing career, at least 25% of a sailor’s time will be spent in a shipyard or at dockside maintenance. SailSafe believes all vessel crews should be well trained and prepared for workplace safety – at sea and in the shipyard.

Get In Touch

Please give us your feedback. SailSafe is here to promote safety by providing worker safety education, not regulation! We look forward to hearing your experiences and how SailSafe can provide you with support. Please subscribe to our newsletter, make suggestions and join SailSafe in our mission.


Steve Hadik, Founder

Project SailSafe is dedicated to the life and memory of Rebecca Lockwood Hadik (USCG 200t), and is for the benefit of all sailors and shipyard workers.