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Helmet Policy

For the 2018 season, MSA has made the decision to establish a helmet policy. The awareness of the impact of head injuries in sports in general - particularly in children's sports - has grown substantially in recent years and MSA is seeking a path to best insure the safety of sailors using the best information and guidance currently available.

The policy on this page is currently a proposal and we are seeking feedback from the MSA community before finalizing it. If you would like to comment, please email those comments before May 15th to We will finalize and publish the 2018 policy on June 1, and will then subsequently implement the final policy for the 2018 sailing season.

Thank you for your time in reading and reviewing this proposed policy.


Manchester Sailing Association Board of Directors

Proposed 2018 MSA Boom and Helmet Policy

In past years, there has been no requirement or policy from Manchester Sailing Association to mandate or suggest sailors wear helmets. However, parent feedback gathered through the annual feedback survey, guidance from US Sailing, consultation with junior sports specialist physicians, MSA's own experience, and the steady adoption of helmet use by high school and college sailing programs, MSA has decided to implement the following helmet policy for the 2018 season.

  1. Any student wanting to wear a helmet at any time, is welcome to do so regardless of weather conditions or the boat he or she is sailing – There will be zero tolerance for other sailors, parents, or coaches teasing or harassing that student for wearing a helmet.
  2. Dyer Dhows, and Optis - which have lower potential kinetic energy - will have padded booms to lessen potential impact. Even with this padding, should wind speeds or the likelihood of unpredictable gusts warrant it, instructors may require the use of helmets.
  3. The booms of Maniac, Rhodes 19, 420s, Lasers, and other boats will not be padded. The use of helmets on these boats will depend on weather conditions and the coach or instructor's discretion.
  4. When a Small Craft Advisory is in effect, MSA requires sailors to wear helmets.
  5. Any MSA Director, Coach, or Instructor may require sailors to wear helmets at any time. If a student refuses to wear a helmet, he or she may not be allowed to sail, not be allowed on the water, or be sent home for the day.
  6. All race team participants are encouraged to purchase their own helmet. MSA recommends purchasing livery or kayaking helmets which have the same full head coverage, low-profile, and impact force distribution advantages as sailing helmets, but at a significant lower price point (appr. $40). Click here to view one of the helmets used and recommended by local high schools.
  7. MSA will purchase a set of helmets that can be borrowed for a session. If a helmet is lost, the replacement fee equal to the then current price of a new helmet will be charged to the parent/guardian.
  8. Helmets will be stored on coach boats and distributed as needed.
© 2018 - Manchester Sailing Association     P.O. Box 172     Manchester, Massachusetts     01944