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Foiling Safety – For coaches & club support personnel

Published Mon 30 Oct 2023

Foiling is rapidly growing at clubs across the country, and many coaches are beginning to deliver sessions at their clubs with various foiling classes, with this growth comes extra safety precautions you need to be aware of when supporting sailors, especially when operating near the equipment or in rescue situations. 

With many of the foiling classes, the sailors are used to being in the water and self-sufficient, both learn to kite and learn to wing courses place a high importance on self-rescue, however, there are still plenty of times that coaches and club safety personnel may need to assist sailors. 

There are some general principles that should be adhered to when working with all the foiling classes, these include: 

  • Take care when handling foils, they are sharp and fragile, avoid touching any part of the foil or mast to avoid contamination, especially the very sharp trailing edges. 

  • Ensure that sailors do not kick their legs around when in the water next to a foil or board. 

  • Always rest the foil on the ground, on a soft surface whenever it is attached to a board. 

  • Ensure that sailors do not turn their boards over until there is sufficient water depth, to avoid grounding. 

  • When returning to shore, ensure that sailors stop early in deep water and step off safely. 

  • Ensure foils are kept clear of sails in the boat park and avoid putting a kitefoil downwind of a kite. 

  • Help sailors to connect the rig to the board if they are at risk of resting the foil on hard or sharp ground. 

  • Any damage or contamination to a foil can increase the chances of an unsafe crash and injury to the sailor  

When coaching foiling classes, it is important that you have the standard safety equipment aboard and ensure that you have suitable lifejackets, kill-cord, first aid kit, VHF radio or another form of communication, torniquets, and inflatable boot are also items you may consider, a good example of this equipment is the first aid kits which are carried by the Nacra Class. 

It is recommended that anyone who is operating a RIB or support boat in a sailing club environment has completed the Australian Sailing Safetyboat operators’ course which covers the key fundamentals of rescue techniques. 

In addition to the Safetyboat operators’ course, Australian Sailing has now created several foiling safety video resources for clubs and coaches, it is recommended all coaches and club volunteers who are working with foiling classes watch these and build on the fundamentals learnt from the Safetyboat operator course. 

Each Video covers 3 different scenarios that coaches may come across when working with various foiling classes at their clubs, these are: 

  1. General assistance for communication or Coaching purposes 

  1. Assisting an injured sailor that may need to be detached from their equipment 

  1. Assisting a sailor to get back to shore due to gear failure of the breeze dropping 

The Video resources for each foiling class can be found below: 

If you have any questions or queries about any of the content in the videos or in relation to foiling more generally, please contact your local Australian Sailing Club Support Officer


The development of the Australian Sailing Foiling Program is proudly supported by the Queensland Government.