Information for Parents

Safety & Risk Management
Safety is of the utmost importance to us at the Nova Scotia Sea School. We want to make sure everyone has a meaningful experience and we want to keep everyone safe. Every trip is different and there are many factors that play into what makes a trip great.

Instructors & Staff
Our instructors are well versed in the ways of the ocean. Most have been through the ranks of the Sea School, from participant to leading crew, to Instructors and Captains. Our Instructors are required to have their Pleasure Craft Operator’s Card, VHF Marine Radio License, and are trained in Advanced Wilderness Remote First Aid. Our Captains must complete their Marine First Aid, hold their Small Vessel Operator Proficiency Card, and be trained in MED A3 Marine Emergency Duties – Small Non-Pleasure Vessel Basic Safety. They must also log their hours spent on the ocean. All staff, Instructors, and Captains must complete a Criminal Records Check as well as be searched under the Child Abuse Registry.
We do training in house at the beginning of every season where we go over safety procedures, emergency situations, and various scenarios. Every 3 years, as part of staff training we capsize the boat (on purpose, in a controlled situation) to practice righting it in case that ever happens.

Certifications & Transport Canada Regulations
At the Nova Scotia Sea School we must adhere to the Transport Canada safety regulations. Our boat, the Elizabeth Hall, is a 30' traditional wooden sailboat. According to Transport Canada’s Small Vessel Regulations we must carry the following 5 types of safety equipment:

  • Life-saving appliances (such as lifejackets and life rafts)
  • Vessel safety equipment (such as bailers, paddles and anchors)
  • Distress alerting equipment (such as a flashlight, flares and a radio)
  • A first aid kit
  • Fire safety equipment (such as portable extinguishers and fire detectors)
  • Specifically, we must carry equipment based on the size of our boat. We fall into the small vessel category and therefore must carry the following on board with us at all times:

    • A Transport Canada approved lifejacket sized for each person on the boat
    • A marine emergency first aid kit
    • A reboarding device (such as a ladder or rope)
    • Buoyant heaving line at least 15 meters long
    • Watertight flashlight
    • 12 flares
    • A life raft
    • Manual propelling device (oars- we’ve got 8!)
    • An anchor with at least 30 meters of chain, rope or cable
    • Manual bilge pump
    • Sound signaling device (whistle or air horn)
    • Navigation lights
    • A magnetic compass

    Communication at Sea
    We have several ways to communicate when we’re out in the ocean. Some are for general check-ins to let everyone know we’re a-ok, and others are for emergency situations and will quickly alert the proper authorities if we’re in trouble.

    • Marine VHF radio – This is a radio used on the ocean and on lakes. It has a variety of channels used for communication between vessels, harbour traffic, and the Coast Guard.
    • The Spot Messenger – This is a one way communication device we use to check in every night. With the push of a button we send an email and text messages to our Executive Director; our On-Call staff; and the Logistics Coordinator, to let them know all is well and our exact geographic coordinates. There are two other buttons that will send either a message asking someone to get in touch with us, or initaites search and rescue authorities.
    • Cell phones – We always bring a Sea School phone on all our trips. We usually keep it off to preserve the battery, but turn it on to receive texts or messages from shore. We also carry a charging source with us to ensure we have battery life for the entire 5 or 7 days.
    • EPIRB - Is an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon. When it’s activated during an emergency, it transmits a coded message via satellite to the nearest search and rescue authorities.

    The bottom line is we take safety very seriously. We make sure our instructors are well trained and up to date with their certifications. We follow Transport Canada’s regulations and we have many ways to communicate with people on land in the event of an emergency (or to just check in). We want you to know your youth is in good hands.