General Safety Guidelines

Even though OHCC has rescue boats on the marine railways, members should never assume that they are continuously manned. Safety is your own prime concern when going out. The wind in the outer harbour is very deceptive, especially when it is coming from the north with City behind it. What may appear to be a gentle breeze could well be 15 to 20 knots in the open water beyond our sheltered bay. A good website to check is It has two hourly forecasts right through the day and five days ahead for Cherry Beach that is quite accurate. If you want the live wind at Toronto Island airport, click here.

Before you get into trouble on the water or run afoul of the law, you must practice “self-help”. Make sure your boat is equipped with:

  • bailers

  • personal flotation or buoyancy devices for all crew and guests

  • a towline at least 10 metres in length

Before leaving the dock, you should ensure someone on land knows you are going out and when to expect you back.

If you are in doubt about going out, ask the opinion of other experienced Club members about the wind and the weather. IF YOU ARE STILL IN DOUBT, DON’T GO OUT! Always error on the side of caution.

You should also be sure your Personal Flotation or Buoyancy Devices can properly support you if you do wind up in the water.


There is always a fear of very cold water in any month of the sailing season. Prolonged immersion in the water can lead to hypothermia  –  even in August. Despite the apparent weather, things can change very rapidly over the lake. Always dress for sailing  –  not for sunbathing! Remember that even on a hot, sunny day in June, the water temperature will be very low and hypothermia can be a very serious problem if you capsize.

Safety Notes on the Operation of the Winches

  • The electric winch machinery must be turned OFF whenever either of the boats is neither in the process of being launched or re-stored on the railway and the machinery cover replaced

  • Keep everyone and everything away from the marine railway and platforms, so that nothing might get caught or contribute to any accident or damage

  • Make sure all children and adults keep back a safe distance from the electric winch and marine railway when the winch for it is being operated

Safety Notes on the Operation of the Manual Winches

  • Never disengage the clutch while the wire rope is under tension. Never engage the clutch while the drum is rotating. Always make sure the clutch is fully engaged or disengaged

  • Never winch when there are less than five wraps of wire cable around the winch drum

  • Always keep hands and clothing clear of the wire cable, hook and fairlead opening during operation and when spoolin

  • Always wear protective gloves while operating the winch or handling the wire cable. Avoid loose fitting clothes or anything that could become entangled in the wire cable and other moving parts

  • Be sure that everyone in the immediate vicinity is aware of your intentions before you pull.  People should not stand behind or in front of the boat and never near the wire rope or snatch block. Your situation may have other “no people” zones

  • Ensure that no vehicles are using the roadway

  • Choose the windward side of the dock to winch a boat in or out of the water

First Aid Kits

There are two first aid kits kept in the drawers of the South storage cupboard in the clubhouse.

CPR Defibrillator

The club has a defibrillator for treatment of life-threatening cardiac arrests and strokes. While some members have Defibrillation Certification to use the device we encourage those interested to seek first aid training through a first aid or CPR course.

Preventing mosquitoes

With reports of West Nile Virus, we must be ever vigilant about these pests, so please:


  • Make sure the grass under and around your boat is mowed;

  • Cover your boat in such manner as to keep water from pooling in it;

  • Check after heavy rains to make sure there no puddles of water in or on the covers of your boat or boats near you;

  • Keep the bow of your boat high enough to ensure that water drains off of it;

  • Protect yourself with insect repellent – especially in the early morning or around sundown and watch out for the occasional wasp during the day.


  • Touch the mosquito-vac machine, located just West of the clubhouse; this effective killing machine attracts and entraps them, reducing the mosquito population by about 60 %.

  • Store rubber tires or containers on your assigned lot, as these may collect standing water.